Aging Gracefully: Plan Ahead

By Sophia Kroon

“People always think they have more time than they do,” says Jessica Reay, a Private Duty Branch Manager with Professional Healthcare at Home.  “Ideally, planning for your later years should start when you’re in your 50s or 60s.  Otherwise, you could end up in the wrong place if the decision is left to well-intentioned, but uninformed, children or a court-appointed stranger.”

Reay recommends starting with a financial planner and estate attorney to make sure there are enough resources and long-term care insurance to cover the cost of at-home care or a senior community, and to create a will, living trust, financial power-of-attorney and Advance Health Care Directive.

A part-time or full-time caregiver can provide services that vary depending on individual needs. Services offered include: meal preparation, transportation, light housekeeping, medication management, personal care, toileting assistance, companionship, and/or respite for the primary caregiver.  Find information on more in-depth services here.

There are also a wide range of senior community options:

  • Age-restricted apartments offer activities and housekeeping (at an additional cost), but no hands-on care or meal preparation.
  • Independent living includes activities, shuttle transportation, meals and housekeeping as part of the fees.
  • Assisted living includes shuttle transportation, meals and housekeeping.  Hands-on care and medication management are an additional charge.
  • Memory care apartments are specifically for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • Board and care are smaller, “home-y” facilities that provide meals, housekeeping, personal care and medication management for four to 12 residents.
  • Skilled nursing facilities can handle complex medical issues through their medical and nursing staff.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) has different levels of care within one large community so residents can move to a different level without leaving the community.

Qualified veterans may also receive financial assistance outside the traditional VA residential system through the VA Aid & Attendance and Housebound Pension program.

Regardless of the choice, Reay says it is important to ask for recommendations, research a provider’s reputation and credentials, and compare costs versus services provided.

Please note the above presentation includes market-specific information and figures that do not apply across the nation.