For most people, myself included, aging in place is what I want. It's the notion that you wish to stay in your home as long as physically possible. And it's an understanding that you have with yourself, and your loved ones, that you do not intend to downsize or move to an independent living center. It really the process of planning to organize your affairs and assets to be able to stay in your home as long as it's medically feasible for you to do so.
Here are some of the considerations that I talk with my clients about aging in place:
- Do I have any known health issues that make it impossible for me to age in place?
What is your state of health, your family history with the health issues experienced by your parents and siblings as they have aged, and what does your medical doctor think about the practicality of staying in your home?
- Do I have a support system in place that will allow me to age in place safely?
If I have moved to Florida, and my children are not close by, does it really make sense to expect the support of my children to help with me as I age? Who are the most important persons in my life that I want close to me as age, and are they local?
If not, what would my support team look like? Do I need to think about a paid caregiver, either part or full-time? With my health issues (or the health issues I expect to have), what is the best solution to finding the right caregivers?
- Is it practical that I can stay in my home and age in place?
Do I have accessible showers and toileting facilities available in my home in case I need a wheelchair? If my home is not presently accessible, can it be made accessible? Do I have an appropriate extra bedroom and bath if I need overnight caregiving?
- Will aging in my home give me the social interaction I need to be healthy?
How will I stay connected to my friends and family, as well as maintain my interests? How to I intend to stay active in my groups, church family, and other support groups for engaging with the outside world? How do I prevent myself from being "out-of-sight" and "out-of-mind"?
Will I be able to have the mobility to interact with the outside world if I can no longer drive or take myself places? What are my friends doing - are they choosing to age in place or are they planning on moving to an independent living situation?
- Do I have the financial resources to manage to age in place?
Does my long-term care insurance cover additional support in place? Can I afford to pay a caregiver for part-time or full-time care if I don't have long-term care? Do I want this person to be a family member or friend, and how much can I pay this person in a personal care contract? Am I eligible for Veteran's benefits or Medicaid to help keep me in my home?
- Do I have the appropriate surrogacy documents in place for financial and health decision-making? When is the last time I have looked at who I have named as my financial agent in my Durable Power of Attorney, and is this a realistic choice? Have I discussed my wishes with my named agents, and do they think that they can perform these responsibilities? Do they understand that this is a commitment that they are making to me because it is best to understand now if they don't have the time (or would prefer not to) so that I can name someone else to that role while I still have the capacity to do so.
If this is a serious desire, I think it's important to have a written plan on how you will age in place, not only for yourself but for your loved ones, as what you want and how you want to do this. This is also a document that needs to be reviewed periodically and make adjustments as your health changes and changes occur in the lives of your financial and health care surrogates.
Shawn can not offer legal advice in this format. He can only provide general information that you may find helpful. You should call an attorney and seek specific legal advice if you need legal guidance, you can rely on for your situation.
Give us a call. We can help.
Law Office of Shawn C. Newman, P.A.
710 Northeast 26th Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305-1238
Phone: (954) 563-9160
Serving all of the greater Fort Lauderdale area and Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties in Southern Florida.
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