Steps You Can Take to Plan for Long-term Care

Mar 6, 2018
Financial advisor talking to a senior couple in their home

No matter what age you are, it’s never too early to start planning for your elder years.

Doing so puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you control over your future. You can decide where you live, who lives with you and what amenities and activities you’re able to enjoy. You can also ensure you have the finances and wherewithal you need to achieve those goals.

So how can you get started on your long-term care planning? What steps should you take now, before it’s too late? Just follow this guide.

Woman reading her tablet sitting in a chair

Educate yourself.

The first step to planning for your long-term care is to learn about your options. What will your choices be when you age? Learn about the differences between assisted living, home care, independent living and senior living communities and try to understand what each option means for your health and well-being. You should also educate yourself on your family’s health history – especially that of your parents and grandparents. The more you can anticipate potential health problems, the better and faster you’ll be able to address them.

painting a porch witha paint brush

Prep your house.

Do you plan to stay in your home for the long haul? Then gradually, over time, start making it more accessible. Add in railings along walls and stairwells, integrate smart technology that adds convenience, and upgrade security measures to ensure your safety. If you think you may want a loved one to come stay with you as you age, consider adding a bedroom addition or garage apartment. Planning for these things now allows you to save up and slowly roll out your changes over the coming years.

three seniors riding their bikes along the lakeshore

Look into senior living communities.

If you think you might prefer the social aspect of a senior living community rather than the isolation of staying at home, start looking into potential facilities that might meet your needs. Start with your desired location and work backward. Which ones offer the services and amenities you imagine you’ll want? Which ones offer health care or memory care, if you know such issues run in your family? Make a short list of preferred communities, so when the time comes, your family knows your wishes.

a baket of fresh vegetables

Safeguard your health.

Your health is going to dictate how your elder years play out. If your health is poor, you may not get the future you envision – or any future at all. Being proactive and caring for yourself now can help safeguard that future you’ve planned and ensure you have many satisfying and healthy years ahead of you. Schedule regular physical screenings and make sure to have annual mammograms and prostate exams as you age. Get to know your family history, and be watchful of signs that could indicate a genetic issue is cropping up. The earlier you catch most conditions, the easier they are to treat.

Look into insurance options.

Know what insurance you will have available to you when the time comes. Will you have veteran’s benefits? Medicare or Medicaid? You can also look into long-term care insurance, life insurance and other private policies that can give you funds to use to health care and other necessary items.

graphs and a calculator

Get your finances in order.

Saving for retirement is just one piece of the puzzle. Sure, you’ll need funds for your rent, utilities and other monthly expenses, but you’ll also likely want to leave your loved ones with something when you pass on. You also may want to help with your grandson’s college education or help your daughter buy that home she’s always wanted. Get with an accountant and discuss your long-term financial goals – as well as your projected income/work situation as you age. You might want to set up trusts for your loved ones, invest in high-yield savings accounts or take other actions to boost your finances as you age.

A lawyer sitting in his chair talking

Talk with an attorney.

An attorney can help you do a few things that can help you as you age. First, they can file your will and testament, which provides instructions on how you’d like your assets and properties handled once you pass on. An attorney can also help you dictate your powers of attorney – people who have the legal right to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to. Powers of attorney are often used if someone is unconscious or has declining mental health; they are supposed to act in the person’s best interest when they are unable to fend for themselves.

Lastly, an attorney can put your advance directives in place. These stipulate how doctors should proceed should you become seriously disabled or be put on life support.

Sit down with your family.

Put your wishes down in a will and appointing a power of attorney will only get you so far. Consider actually sitting down with your loved ones to discuss your future and what your preferences are. Talk about expectations – who would need to help with caregiving, finances or other items, and what you’ve done to prepare for the future you’ve envisioned. The earlier you sit down with them, the better; they may be able to help you improve your plan.

Start Planning for Your Long-term Care Now

It’s easy to push long-term care to the back of your mind and file it away for another day, but the time to act is now – no matter what age you are. Waiting too long can take you out of the driver’s seat, putting others in control of your future instead of you. Want to make sure you get the future you envision as you age? Stop by Ganton’s Countryside today to learn about your options. From assisted and independent living options to memory care, rehabilitation, nursing care and home care, we offer a variety of options for every need and preference.

For information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

assisted living near me

Recent Posts

8 Ways an Independent Living Community Supports Your Lifestyle

What do you want out of retirement? The freedom to roam? Relief from all the responsibilities of owning a home? Time to pursue self-fulfillment? Exceptional services and amenities? No matter how you perceive your desired retirement lifestyle, take a look at some of...

Health Changes to Look for When Visiting Mom Over the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends, but they also offer an opportunity to assess the health and well-being of a senior loved one. This is especially true if it has been weeks or months since the last visit since changes will...

Dementia: Understanding Sundown Syndrome

Dementia is a devastating diagnosis with many implications, not the least of which is a condition known as sundown syndrome. Also called sundowning or sundowner’s syndrome this condition generally strikes late in the day as the sun goes down but can occur anytime...

5 Tips for Better Mornings with Arthritis

“Arthritis” is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases and conditions that cause joint pain and inflammation.  While people of all ages can have arthritis, seniors often expect arthritis to occur as they age and when it does, mornings can be especially painful....

Why Everyone Needs an Advance Directive

Do you know what will happen if you are suddenly incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself? While it’s human nature to adhere to the “that won’t happen to me” mindset, the reality is that no one knows what the future holds. That’s why every adult needs an...

5 Decorating Tips for Your Senior Living Retirement Home

After years of living in a family home, moving to a senior living community and starting anew means decorating a new senior living home, something that can be a fun and exciting experience. But where to begin? Whether the new home is a house, condo, cottage or...

The Alzheimer’s Disease Challenges Women Face

Alzheimer’s disease is devastating and its prevalence is on the rise. According to the report, “2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” in 2023 there are about 6.7 million Americans age 65 and older with the disease, and as the population ages, that...

Home Safety for Older Adults: A Checklist of Top Considerations

Home safety for older adults is top of mind concern for loved ones and adult children. According to the AARP Home and Community Preference Survey,  79% of seniors (ages 50 and above) prefer to live at home as they age, but only about 34% recognize they may need to...

When One Partner Has a Dementia Diagnosis and the Other Doesn’t

A dementia diagnosis is a devastating event in any marriage and one that really changes everything going forward. Suddenly there are so many unknowns, so many new concerns, and so much sadness that the healthy spouse may be overwhelmed. One of the greatest of the...

What Services Do Memory Care Communities Provide?

Making the decision to move yourself or a loved one to a memory care community should be a well-informed one. All memory care communities are not created equal, but the best have several things in common. When comparing memory care communities be sure to include the...

Share This