Don’t Wait Too Long
Many older adults wait too long to incorporate resources into their lives that will help them remain independent. Planning ahead is essential to considering the options available to you if your health or circumstances change. You will have more control when you make time to carefully explore your options and do your research. You will take a lot of pressure off your family if you plan ahead and seek out the resources you need to remain healthy, active, and safe.
Benefits of a Plan
Sarah J. Crane, M.D., Mayo Clinic Geriatrician and member of the Board of Directors at Charter House, describes the importance of planning ahead:
By acknowledging the need for additional support, you will likely be able to continue to live more independently for a longer period of time. If you wait until you are in a crisis, you may have less control and much more limited options. Pay attention to emerging resources that you can take advantage of to maintain your independence. New technologies such as smart phone apps are creating options to address the challenges ranging from medication management to transportation. Be open to incorporating these new resources into your life.
What You Can Do Now
- Develop a Plan. Find resources offering you flexibility as your needs change, don’t wait until you are in the middle of a crisis. For some, this may mean joining the waiting list for a senior community in anticipation of a future move. For others, this may mean establishing in-home care resources for assistance with daily needs.
- Document Your Wishes. Review Mayo Clinic Advance Health Care Planning and familiarize yourself with documents such as a POLST, advanced directive, and living will. You can consult with an attorney who is specialized in elder law. Provide your health care provider and health care agents (if applicable) with a copy of your finalized documents. Keep these documents accessible and updated.
- Connect with Resources. Contact 2-1-1; this three-digit number connects you to a free and confidential referral service through United Way to find community services, resources, and volunteer opportunities.
Click here for more information from Mayo Clinic on future health care planning!