What Questions Should Seniors Ask While Future Planning?
87% of adults over the age of 65 want to stay in their current home as they age. The truth is, this may not be the best option. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself and your older loved ones when planning for the future:
- Will I be safe in my home?
Will I have to spend a lot of money to make my home safe? Your home may need renovations as you age, for example converting a bathtub into a walk-in shower and adding a bench, or retrofitting different kitchen cabinets into easier-to-reach options. Stairs may become too difficult to manage. Even small details need to be considered. For instance, rugs can serve as tripping hazards, or you may need a grab bar next to the toilet.
- Do I want to live near, or with, my children or other relatives?
Many people assume they will move in with their son or daughter when they grow older, with visions of taking care of grandkids and saving money. Before you make this decision, ask yourself if you will have enough privacy. It’s important to also ask your children what they will expect from you while you consider what you expect of them. Focus on questions like, “What happens if my health deteriorates and I’m unable to shower alone?” and “How much do you expect me to contribute financially?”
- Can I afford to perform maintenance on the house I currently live in?
Consider the cost of lawn care, snow removal, and household repairs. Will you be able to pay for these household expenses when you are unable to perform them yourself? Expect these costs to increase with inflation.
- If I can’t drive, how will I get places?
When you are unable to drive yourself, you will need to know of other transportation options. These range from public transportation, to car services, to depending on your friends and family. Are any of these options viable for you?
- What happens if I run out of money?
Meet with a financial planner or elder care attorney to determine the best course of financial action. Many non-profit senior communities provide support for residents who have exhausted their financials and will advise on the ways to apply for federal financial aid.
- Does my family understand my long-term plan?
Make sure your wishes are in writing and you’ve discussed them in detail with your loved ones! An Elder Care Attorney is a perfect place to start. He or she can help you establish a medical and financial power of attorney, and will advise on completing Do Not Resuscitate orders, draw up a will or living trust, and more.
- Will I need to pay for in-home care and how much does it cost?
Consider these activities of daily living (also known as ADLs): Will I be able to prepare nutritious meals? Will I be able to manage my medications properly? Can I bathe on my own safely? Can I dress myself? When you are no longer able to complete one or more of these activities on your own, you will need to bring in extra help. Costs vary on the amount of care needed, but the national median cost of home health services in 2016was $42,603 based on 44 hours of service per week.
There’s a lot to consider when planning for your future, but there are resources available to help! Consider meeting with a financial planner, consulting an Elder Care Attorney, and touring senior living communities in your area well before you are planning on needing services.