Long-term care planning should start with visioning your late-life
When considering later-life plans, there are many financial strategies to take into account.
With guidance from your financial planner through the years, you’ve already planned for your retirement income and it’s likely that you’ve got your house paid off and other major cost items in the rear-view mirror. Now you may be looking ahead to your legacy gifting strategies—what you will create and leave to your community, your church, or other important social connections from your life. It is also time to consider your wishes for your long-term care.
Many people assume when they hear long-term care, that we’re referring to insurance to pay for major expenses related to institutional care such as a nursing home or assisted living. Some long-term care insurances also pay for services delivered in your home.
However, when we discuss long-term care planning we do so in the context of your vision and how you see your late- and end-of life goals being realized. This paradigm shift from care funding to late-life visioning is more strategic than simply looking at funding sources.
Looking at late-life planning strategically, you start with the end in mind. What do you envision for your housing late in life? Do you prefer to age at-home or in a community care setting? What family or other support do you have or will be needed? What changes or enhancements to your home would need to be made to accommodate you as you age? Do you have the technologies in place to make aging at home safe and feasible?
Have you identified your hospital preferences and rehab facility choices should you need them? Have you organized your healthcare and financial power of attorney, estate plans, and other critical documents to allow them to be easily accessed in case of emergency? Does your family know your wishes in the event of short or long-run illness, cognitive decline, and end of life? Naturally, circumstances can change so prioritizing choices and including various options is recommended.
As a capstone to your late-life visioning, consider having a facilitated family dialogue to share your plans with those closest to you. If you do not use a facilitator to help guide that conversation, consider the book, “Passing the Torch: Critical Conversations with your Adult Children,” by Bob Mauderstock as a resource.
Thinking about your long-term care and envisioning your great, late-life strategically will help you feel more in control and provide you with a greater array of choices. It will certainly help prevent in-the moment, emotional decision making, which can have serious impacts of your financial and general well-being. Visioning will help pave the way for you and your family to have meaningful, productive conversations about your wishes for late- and end-of-life which are often difficult topics to discuss.