If asked, most people would say that they would prefer to remain in their homes for as long as possible. While “aging in place,” as it’s called, is an attractive option for many aging individuals, it can quickly become expensive or simply unfeasible when medical and logistical complications arise. If you are genuinely interested in ensuring that you remain in your home for as long as you can, it’s highly advisable to speak to a trusted long-term care planning attorney who can assess your needs and help you prepare for the future. It’s worth taking some time to explore some steps you can take today to ensure that you can “age in place” when the time comes.
Consider Your Present and Future Accessibility Needs
The first step towards preparing for your future is to take stock of your current needs, as well as those that may arise as you age. Think about the house where you currently reside—are you able to move around in it comfortably? Are there stairs that may become challenging to you as you age? Is it wheelchair accessible, should that become necessary? If you are able to identify any potential barriers to your ability to move throughout your home, it may be worth it to make some adjustments now to prevent complications later on. Some aging individuals move into smaller, more accessible homes in anticipation of future accessibility issues. Then, think about your current lifestyle. Do you drive yourself to various appointments or social events? What will happen if you are no longer able to drive? Is there public transit available near you? Do you have loved ones or friends who could drive you to your appointments? In general, the sooner you are able to identify potential accessibility issues in your future, the better you can put the necessary interventions in place to ease the aging process.
Think About the Help You Will Need One Day
Even if you think you’ll be able to live independently for quite some time, you may suffer complications that make it difficult for you to shower, perform household chores, prepare meals, or manage your finances. It’s useful to meet with a long-term care attorney who can help you talk through possible scenarios, making sure that you are able to receive the support you need at an affordable rate. You may end up participating in a meal delivery service, or hiring a helper who can do some light cleaning for you. Whether or not you end up needing to make these adjustments, it’s best to make sure that you are emotionally and financially prepared to weave them into your life.
Plan For Eventual Health Care Costs
One of the hardest aspects of aging is the uncertainty of what health care needs you may develop. There is no way of anticipating how your body will age, or what conditions may arise over time. Talk to your attorney about your eligibility for government-funded programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. It’s important to understand how your finances will be impacted by your medical costs. Together, you and your attorney can develop a range of plans to suit your financial reality, striving to keep you in your home for as long as possible. Thinking about the final years of your life may not be entirely pleasant, but it’s a good idea to talk through your options so that you can feel more secure with the knowledge that, come what may, you’ll be supported while receiving the care you need.