Your Aging Plan And People To Support You

An aging plan is a comprehensive strategy that outlines how an individual will address aspects of their life as they grow older.  It is a pro-active approach to ensuring a person stays in control, makes informed decisions and that their needs are met and respected.

Before assembling your teams, take some time to reflect on your desires and needs as you age. Living arrangements, finances, health care and legal matters should be considered. Think about the kind of support you might need, including medical care, daily assistance, and emotional support. By ascertaining your values, desires and needs, you can better create and communicate with your teams and ensure they understand your vision.

There are two different teams to incorporate – your care squad and your professional team.

Roles and Responsibilities of your Care Squad

A care squad will include family members or trusted friends with varying skills, availability, and preferences. The roles and responsibilities of each member can be tailored to their strengths and the needs of the aging individual. Common roles within a care squad may include:

  • Primary Care Giver: This person often takes the lead in providing daily care and support, such as helping with personal care, medication management, and transportation to appointments.
  • Financial Manager: This role involves managing finances, paying bills, and ensuring financial stability for the aging family member.
  • Healthcare Advocate: The healthcare advocate coordinates medical appointments, communicates with healthcare providers, and ensures the aging person receives appropriate care.
  • Emotional Support: Providing companionship, empathy, and encouragement to help cope with challenges and maintain a positive outlook.

Best practices for an effective and efficient care squad will include:

  • Respect and maintaining dignity need to be the foundation. Ensure that the aging person’s preferences and choices are at the forefront of all decisions. Listen to their concerns and involve them in the planning process.
  • Assign roles based on each squad member’s strengths and availability. Clearly define expectations and tasks to avoid misunderstandings and ensure a balanced workload.
  • Recognize that caregiving can be emotionally and physically demanding. Support each other by offering encouragement, sharing responsibilities, and seeking external help when needed.
  • Open and honest communication is key to a successful care squad. Set regular meetings to discuss the needs and preferences of the aging individual and how the squad can best meet those needs.
  • Stay organized and use tools such as shared calendars or task management apps to keep track of appointments, medication schedules, and other important information.

Your Team of Professionals

Your team of professionals could include experts who can help you navigate the different aspects of aging.  There are privacy components to professional engagements and it is important that your Care Squad be brought in as appropriate.

  • Elder Law and estate planning attorneys: Generally, an Elder Law professional will focus on protecting the rights and preserving assets of seniors while they are alive while an estate attorney will assist in preparing documents to ensure your wishes are carried out after you are gone.
  • Certified Financial Planner: Will coordinate with your team around financial matters, cash flow planning and implications, tax mitigation, long-term care costs, and how to financially navigate what life throws at you during this season.
  • Healthcare Provider: Guidance through options and implications of health-related decisions, recommend specialists, and discuss long-term care options.
  • Geriatric Care Manager: As aging progresses, this professional will assess your needs, coordinate services, and advocate for your well-being, making them a valuable addition to your team.

Creating an aging plan is a thoughtful process that requires collaboration and judicious communication with a team of professionals, trusted friends and family members. It involves careful consideration of various aspects of your life.  While finances are an important part of any plan, they should not be the sole determining factor in shaping your aging plan.  With creativity and resourcefulness, your plan can prioritize your values, preferences and well-being.  This is your opportunity to age by design, not by default.


Share this episode