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Simplifying Eldercare Planning for Your Family

By: Steve Wright, CFP®, Senior Financial Advisor

As the population ages, the term “Elder” has become increasingly common in discussions. You may have heard it in phrases like “Eldercare,” “Elder Law,” or “Elder Finance.” This can be confusing, so we’d like to explain and simplify the concept of eldercare planning.

What is Eldercare Planning?

Eldercare planning involves preparing for the care and support of older adults as they age. Whether for you, your parents or your spouse, the process requires personalized decisions in several key areas:

1. Healthcare Planning:

This involves determining the necessary level of care, managing medical needs, choosing doctors, planning treatments, scheduling appointments, and making decisions about long-term care options like assisted living or home care services.

2. Housing Planning:

This entails deciding where the older adult will live, be it at home, with family, or in a senior living community. The decision is influenced by the level of care required.

3. Legal Planning:

This includes preparing legal documents such as wills, power of attorney, trusts, and advance directives to ensure their wishes are respected and affairs are in order. Eldercare attorneys are crucial for handling insurance and government benefits like Medicare or Medicaid.

4. Financial Planning:

This involves creating a financial plan that estimates costs, identifies who is responsible for payments, determines the logistics of payments, identifies the sources of funds, and considers tax implications. Additionally, a plan is only as good as its execution. A partner that helps you prepare the plan and execute the plan is important.

5. Lifestyle Planning:

This covers day-to-day assistance with activities like cooking, cleaning, transportation, entertainment and personal care to ensure safety and comfort. It also involves identifying who will provide the care and how it will be funded.

Pre-Planning vs. Crisis Planning

It's important to differentiate between “pre-planning” and “crisis-planning”:

  • Pre-Planning: Tasks that can be proactively completed while the individual is healthy and capable fall into this category. We recommend that clients undertake as much pre-planning as possible.
  • Crisis-Planning: Tasks that can only be known and addressed once a health issue arises. This phase is often emotional and requires quick decisions. The stakes are higher if a healthy spouse remains at home while the other needs extensive care. Having the right team for this phase is crucial.

The Goal of Eldercare Planning

The goal of eldercare planning is to meet the older person's physical and financial needs while respecting their preferences and maintaining their quality of life. Achieving this outcome requires thoughtfulness and regular review of the plan as we all know life is ever changing.

MCF is here to assist you and your family through this process. Please contact a member of our team to discuss any eldercare planning that may be on the horizon for you and your family.

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