Elder Care Planning

The New Normal

By September 13, 2016 No Comments

Elder planning is a touchy but important subject.

 

Whether it’s for yourself or that of a loved one, the impact of poor planning is rarely felt by just the person in question. It reaches to your spouse, family, and maybe community.

I would know, my father recently passed away from complications related to Alzheimers. When I took charge he was 80, living alone in another state, and heavily relying on neighbors and community programs to get him through the day. He had the means to receive better care, but due to lack of planning no one had been authorized to make the necessary arrangements. Once I intervened, I spent almost 6 years coordinating care, overseeing real estate, and managing his finances. While qualified to do the job, the stress came from not knowing how long I had to plan on him living. Deciding on how to invest the assets, whether it made sense to sell the house, and how much could be spent on his daily care all hinged on whether this would go on for months, years or decades. I had to remind myself at visits that his present state was likely the healthiest he’d be, and it was his new normal.  There was no sense in waiting for the situation to get better, I needed to be flexible and prepared for tomorrow’s potential challenges. The best peace of mind I could give myself was to understand my options and how they impacted his care in the long run, which was most important.

What’s involved with elder care planning?

 

I find family dynamics to be the biggest hurdle in elder care planning. When everyone involved believes they know best in handling an uncertain future, emotions run high. POWWOW, named for my belief in regular communication, works to get everyone is on the same page.

Areas of consideration include:

  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxy or Living Will
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Life estate on property
  • Beneficiary designations and account titling
  • Discussing inheritance, end of life care plans, and overall expectations with family
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Medicare Health Plans
  • Availability of Medicaid Benefits
  • Qualifying for community programs
  • Income replacement strategy
  • Coordinating home care services
  • Touring care facilities
  • Downsizing property and aggregating assets
  • Running analysis to understand the financial impact of care choices

How does POWWOW help?

 

This is heavy stuff that no one wants to deal with, especially alone. I take special interest in elder care matters and have no issue hand holding a client through making tough decisions.

  • I’m happy to participate in meetings so that all the right questions are asked and answered.
  • Help families consolidate and aggregate assets through use of our client portal.
  • Ensure account titling and beneficiary designations jive with estate planning documents.
  • Run projections to show how long the assets last.
  • Discuss what benefits may be available when assets run low.
  • Host family discussion to minimize hard feelings and conflict.
  • Get quotes on Medicare, long-term care, immediate annuities and life insurance, if needed.
  • Help baby boomers get in front of these issues so they aren’t burdening their children with difficult decisions or financial hardship.

About the Author

Quentara Costa helps the sandwich generation prioritize kids, self, and aging parents. For years Quentara was the primary caregiver for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 70. Since his passing she’s become a mother of two sweet girls. Professionally she received a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Bentley University and has held the CFP® designation since 2010. Community involvement includes hosting the Merrimack Valley Senior and Caregiver Group and volunteering for Budget Buddies.

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