Importance of Advance Care Planning

It is important to understand that advance care planning is not just about care. Instead of just letting life happen to you, what if you had a roadmap that laid out the future for you? Who would not follow that roadmap? 

Unfortunately, most people don’t because they think it simply will not happen to them. However, the truth is that at some point in time we will all be forced to make decisions that we thought we’d never have to. We are all getting older and the last time I checked, no one has discovered how to completely stop the aging process. 

 That said, I will walk you through five steps over the next few months that will make the advance care planning process simple and easy to understand. Step one: Be proactive about raising the issues. This step has two different meanings, and both are equally important depending on which situation you are currently in. 

 First, you may be overseeing the care of an aging loved one (spouse, adult parent(s), neighbor, friend, etc.) who you are responsible for. Second, you may not need care today or in the near future but you will someday. Therefore, it would be important to at least be proactive and explore the options available to you, too. 

 As we age, it is important to understand potential signs that you or your loved one may need assistance. This is not something that we need to dwell on, however, it is something that we should be aware of. Facing our fears head-on will help us overcome them. This will give us the courage to make a successful plan. 

 If you are caring for a loved one, have you ever noticed the following? (unopened mail, unpaid bills, low food supply, unusual purchases on a credit card, unfilled prescriptions, withdrawal from social activities, missed doctor appointments, unexplained dents/scratches on the car, etc.) If so, these may be signs of a cognitive change. It is important to recognize these signs early on because it gives you the ability to make a successful plan while your loved one can still participate in the process. 

 Over the next few months, we’ll discuss the remaining four steps of the five-part series; (2.) Organize Legal Affairs, (3.) Make a Financial Plan, (4.) Find the Right Care, and (5.) Choose the Right Providers. Need help understanding the complex world of senior care? Call our free senior care expert hotline at 941-676-3411. 

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