Planning for aging

Although you may not be enthusiastic about arranging your own long-term care, preparing today will make things trouble-free tomorrow. Here are a few ways to make that preparation easier:

Discuss your long-term preferences with your family. Most seniors receive some help with housework, personal chores or health-related services. Letting your family and friends know how you’d like to live will help them help you.

Research options for housing. Most seniors prefer independent living, but it does require a level of financial and physical fitness that’s beyond many older people. The chart below offers options for possible living arrangements and points to consider before making your decision. 

 

Living arrangement options

Considerations

Independent Living

  • Personal home
  • Seniors’ building
  • Are you physically fit?
  • Is a network of friends available?
  • How are finances?
  • What community services are available, e.g., Meals on Wheels?

Sharing a home

  • Are renovations necessary?
  • Are any tax credits available for renovations?
  • Is a roommate relationship appropriate?

Care facilities

  • Retirement homes
  • Long-term care
  • What services are offered?
  • Do you have references from people who’ve used the facility?
  • What are the costs?
  • Retirement homes are generally paid for by the individual, while government funding is sometimes available for long-term care facilities.

 

Get your affairs in order:

  • Make sure your will is up-to-date
  • Leave a detailed memorandum with your will that indicates who gets certain household effects (such as family heirlooms) and why
  • Appoint a power of attorney, a document on which you assign someone to act on your behalf if you can’t manage your affairs due to health issues, and sign a living will, which lists your healthcare wishes
  • Organize your important documents (financial records and personal documents) and ensure someone knows where they are
  • Inquire about critical care and long-term care insurance
  • Discuss your funeral arrangements in advance with family and/or friends