Aging in place has become a commonly used term these days and, in case you’re not familiar, it refers to the ability for a senior to continue to live independently in their own home, safely and comfortably. Obviously, taking care of your health earlier in life is one way to help ensure that aging in place is possible; however, sometimes despite such measures, health problems occur. When that happens it may be necessary to hire a professional home health care aid or perhaps bring in a paid or unpaid family member to assist with activities of daily living (ADL). Examples of such ADLs include:
- Personal Hygiene: dressing, bathing, grooming, toileting.
- Medication management.
- Housekeeping and cooking.
- Shopping for necessities.
- Pet care for a long time companion.
It may not always be feasible for a person to age in place if their needs are so great that they cannot be met in the home. But the primary goal is to keep the person at home for as long as possible.
In order to achieve that goal, the senior should have all the tools in place to allow it to be a possibility. Those tools may include:
- Durable Power of Attorney: A properly drafter POA allows you to designate an agent to assist with financial matters such as, but not limited to, paying bills and banking.
- Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will: Ensures someone you trust will make health care decisions if you cannot.
- Caregiver Agreement: otherwise known as a personal care contractor personal service contract which is essentially a written contract between the person needing care (or his or her agent, guardian, or other fiduciary) and the family member caregiver, in which the caregiver agrees to render specified services to the older person in exchange for payment.
Perhaps long term care insurance may make sense if it allows for payments to a home health aide. Maybe the person is a Veteran or the spouse of a Veteran and can obtain assistance from the Veterans Administration for some of these costs. Finally, if it appears that government medical assistance (Medicaid) may be necessary at some point to pay these home health care costs, planning at an early stage can be implemented to help preserve assets. In any of these situations a “Caregiver Agreement” would be necessary to document the costs.
These tools and plans should be reviewed at least annually and changed if necessary as your situation changes.
If you like the idea of Aging in place, feel welcome to contact me to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs — at my office or where you live.