PLAN EARLY, PLAN OFTEN

 

You can’t plan for old age, people say. This is rubbish. What is insurance, if it is not planning for the unexpected? And making a plan for your future, ought to rank at least as highly as organising travel insurance for a weekend in Paris.

Think about what your parents and you want in future, what is realistic and what is not and then start planning.

  • Do they dread the idea of going into a care home more than anything?

  • Are you afraid of being trapped in the house if you become incapacitated?

  • Does the family have any idea of what may be coming and how can you avoid being a burden without being a burden? 

  • Can you afford the life you want?

  • If not, what life can you afford?

 

You can change a plan, as time goes by, to take account of changes in life. But you need to include all the essentials and think about all possible eventualities. Underpinning each decision needs to be an idea of how this will help you and/or your parents live the life you and they want to live. Plans should be regularly updated to take account of changing needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY QUESTIONS


Be honest with yourself. What would you ideally like to happen?

a. Do you want to see more people?

b. Do you want to get out more?

c. Do you need to get treatment from the doctor?

d. Do you need a stair lift, shower or help to live in the house?

e. Are you concerned about memory problems?

f. Do you feel isolated/depressed/marginalised?

g. What would make your life better?

 

  •  If you're saying yes to a & b, perhaps you need to think about moving elsewhere? 

  • If there's some medical treatment needed to improve quality of life, can that be followed up?

  • Maybe it's time to contact social services to find out what is needed around the house and whether help can be provided?

  • Maybe it's time to think about multi-generational living?

   These are difficult matters to discuss with parents - of any age. But it can really help if you do. Only by working out what you ideally want to happen, can you start to make it happen. A lot of the stress for the sandwich generation comes from not knowing what to do and never feeling that you are doing enough.

Plans need to be updated all the time, as circumstances change and until everyone is happy and it's working. But sometimes you cannot achieve what you really want because of health or lack of funds- you can have a jolly good go, though. You don't need to spend a lot of money to make life a lot better for everyone. So you can never think that's done and dusted.

Early Plan - Example

Housing

  • Do they/you stay in your own home? Would it be better to stay where you know people?

        Could the house be adapted, for older people? Where are they/you going to have the best life?  Where does the family live? How much will it cost to pay for adaptations?

  • Do you/they move to a smaller house - but where? Do you move closer to family or friends? Will it be convenient if you do need care at some point? Could you fit a shower? Cost?

  • What about a retirement flat? Will your furniture fit in a flat? Can you stay there, even if you become ill?  What are the service charges like? What is the social scene like in the flat?

  • Extra care housing? What are the charges like? If you need care, how much will it cost and will you be able to buy in your own care? Where is the development? What are the residents like?

  • Shared housing? Is it possible to buy a place with family/friends? Can you all have your own space at right cost ? What happens if you become ill?  What happens to your share when you eventually die?

Money

  • What income will you/they have? How much are the pensions worth? Could you be claiming more money? What happens if someone dies - will the survivor have enough to live on?

  • What savings do you/they have? Is it well invested? Does it push you over the level where you might get extra help?

 

  • Are you paying over the odds for your services? What about the cost of power and telephone? When was the last time you changed your insurer?

  • Inheritance? Consider your options. If you are likely to have considerable sums to leave to people - what about lifetime gifts or creating a trust?

  • Can you take money out of your house? Lots of people release equity to give themselves cash but also to give to family - although you have to be careful in terms of tax. Only use a reputable company

Money

  • What income will you/they have? How much are the pensions worth? Could you be claiming more money? What happens if someone dies - will the survivor have enough to live on?

  • What savings do you/they have? Is it well invested? Does it push you over the level where you might get extra help?

 

  • Are you paying over the odds for your services? What about the cost of power and telephone? When was the last time you changed your insurer?

  • Inheritance? Consider your options. If you are likely to have considerable sums to leave to people - what about lifetime gifts or creating a trust?

  • Can you take money out of your house? Lots of people release equity to give themselves cash but also to give to family - although you have to be careful in terms of tax. Only use a reputable company

Care

  • What are the options locally?  Will you/they be isolated if they stay put? Will they be well placed for local services? What is happening for older people there? What are local care options? How far is the doctor/hospital?

  • Can you/they be self-sufficient? You can make things difficult for the family or friends if you insist on living miles away.

 

  • What about the family? You don't want to be a burden on one person. But, be realistic, who is going to be there for you - and who wants to be part of your life? 

Care

  • What are the options locally?  Will you/they be isolated if they stay put? Will they be well placed for local services? What is happening for older people there? What are local care options? How far is the doctor/hospital?

  • Can you/they be self-sufficient? You can make things difficult for the family or friends if you insist on living miles away.

 

  • What about the family? You don't want to be a burden on one person. But, be realistic, who is going to be there for you - and who wants to be part of your life? 

Legal Matters

  • Organise your Power Of Attorney.   See Here

  • Write a Will.  See Here

  • Think about whether you want to be resuscitated in the event of a serious illness, stroke or heart attack.

Plan #2 - When help is essential

Identify what you need help with:

  • Personal Care? Dressing, bathing etc

  • Cooking

  • Cleaning

  • Shopping

  • Paperwork

  • Gardening

  • Getting out about


How much time do you need help with each heading and how frequently do you need help?

For instance, you might need daily help, morning and evening for personal care of 30 mins each time. But you might only need help with paperwork once a fortnight.  

Will you need help for one hour a day or more?  Should you think about moving, if you cannot get the help where you are or should you think about moving somewhere that help is on tap? Can the family help? Should you think about employing a carer/assistant?

Work out how much help you need and how much that could cost. Is the family able to help or would some rather pay for professional help?

© 2017 by OlderLivingMatters   All text and original photos subject to copyright                    sarah.whitebloom.news@gmail.com

OlderLivingMatters is a journalistic website offering information, guidance and advice based on experience of life today for older people. It is designed to be a friendly hand in difficulties and to highlight the problems of older people and their families. As with any friend, it is not perfect and will not have all the answers all of the time. Everyone’s situation is different and this needs to be taken this into account if you take action. Please be aware that you use the information and advice on this website at your own risk and it is not responsible or liable if things go wrong.