Facing a Crisis or a Slow Decline in Elderhood: Either Way, Planning Can Make a Difference

As an elder law and estate-planning attorney, I typically see two types of families: those facing an immediate crisis and those observing the gradual decline of a loved one. In both situations, feelings of concern and making decisions regarding the appropriate level of care can be overwhelming, as can the financial and legal implications that accompany these issues. Crisis often accompanies an unexpected health event or illness that requires an immediate change in the level of care. I’ve seen families scramble to determine the financial situation of their loved ones, what legal documents are in place, and how they can arrange for care. It is during these stressful periods that families wish they could go back in time to make more careful plans. When families see a gradual decline in a loved one, they typically do not see an immediate need to address it. It’s easy to put off any significant planning, especially if people don’t quite know what to do.

As time goes by, it can become more difficult to plan for aging in a way that a loved one might prefer. That’s why my advice to all families is to take the time as early as possible during times of health to create a longevity plan.

As our life expectancy increases from that of previous generations, it raises important questions about how we want to spend our “bonus years.” Humans are living as many as 10, 20, and even 30 years longer than they used to, so planning beyond immediate retirement makes it possible to live the life you envision for yourselves and your loved ones up to the very end.

A longevity plan is not a retirement plan. It goes well beyond ensuring that you have a last will and testament. While longevity planning considers finances and legal documents, it also addresses the importance of understanding available options and costs of long-term care, protecting your assets and family dynamics.

Learn more about longevity planning and how it can help you prepare for a secure future.