It can be challenging to grow older and need assistance. But it can be a blessing too – an opportunity to learn, grow closer to loved ones, and prepare for the future. As you approach your senior stage of life, many people rely more on their circle of care, which could include a spouse, adult children, close family friends, or religious clergy members. Sharing your values with your circle of care can make difficult life transitions easier, and clearly expressing your wishes can be very empowering.
Here are seven conversations to have with your circle of care when approaching senior age.
- Review your estate plan. In addition to reviewing your legal preparations with an attorney at least every five years, you should discuss your estate plan with your circle of care. These documents include your Will, Trusts, and Power of Attorneys (“POA”).
- Discuss senior accessible housing. While it can feel overwhelming to think about leaving a home you love, it is best to talk with your circle of care about what options would make you most comfortable, even if you don’t need to move any time soon. Options can include a combination of aging in place, downsizing, or moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Communities (“CCRC”).
- Talk over your finances. With some forethought, open communication with your circle of care, and the guidance of your financial advisor, you can navigate the financial challenges of moving into senior age. Discuss your income streams, expenses, and review your beneficiaries. Reach out to your financial advisor – they can help bring your circle of care up to speed on your short-term and long-term financial goals.
- Discuss your current healthcare needs. Unfortunately, most people experience health challenges when reaching senior age. Your circle of care can help you work with medical professionals to keep you as healthy as possible, managing your regular health visits and acting as your Healthcare Agent (Medical POA) in an emergency.
- Discuss hiring specialized professionals to help. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the logistics of your financial and medical needs, here are two types of professionals that can help. Aging Life Care Managers and Daily Money Managers can work alongside your circle of care to ensure that your daily affairs are taken care of.
- Record important information in a “Letter of Instruction”. Identifying the location of key documents and recording logins can help prevent logistical difficulty in the event of a medical crisis or move. It is okay if you don’t feel comfortable sharing personal information like bank logins or computer passwords yet, but make sure your personal representative knows where to find this information and tell your circle of care where to access more details in case of emergency.
- Share your wishes for end-of-life care. The simplest, but not always the easiest, way to talk about end-of-life care is before a serious health problem occurs. While discussing “what-ifs” can be scary, it can bring peace to know that a plan is in place for your medical care, burial, and funeral.
It can be challenging to grow older and watch your partner grow older but accepting these changes as part of life can help to put it all in perspective. Remember: you’re not alone and there’s plenty of support available if you need it.
If you and your loved ones could benefit from a more detailed checklist to guide
these conversations, call our office at 410-715-9200, email Hope Campbell, Associate Advisor (email@example.com), or contact your Advisor. We would be happy to provide further resources.