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Aging In Place

As the number of people approaching their golden years grows, many people are becoming concerned about how they will stay independent and financially secure during their senior years. Rather than giving up their independence and privacy, these people plan to “age in place” – to remain where they are both financially and in the home. Luckily, there are several legal and financial options available to those approaching their senior years that can help them “age in place” in a variety of situations.

As you grow older, you will inevitably become less physically able to maintain your house and get around in a large home. If you want to stay in your home for as long as possible, you may need to plan to make some changes around the home to prepare for these physical limitations. This could include adding wheelchair ramps, finding ways to avoid using stairs, and widening doorways so that a wheelchair can fit through them. If renovations like this are made before you are incapacitated, then your home will be much more accessible to you if you ever become physically impaired, and the move to an assisted living facility or nursing home could be delayed or even prevented altogether.

Another important part of “aging in place” is making sure that you have a comprehensive, up-to-date estate plan. Have you executed a power of attorney and an advance medical directive so that your wishes will be carried out if you become unable to make financial and medical decisions for yourself? Also, have you executed a will so that your wishes will be carried out after you pass away? These tasks cannot be put off, and they should be taken care of as soon as possible. It is very important that you execute these documents before something happens to you so that you have control over who makes decisions on your behalf in the future.

Finally, you need to plan for how you will pay for your care if you should become unable to care for yourself. There are a variety of options for paying for the cost of long-term care, including paying out of pocket, long term care insurance, Medicaid, and the VA Aid and Attendance pension. No matter what decisions you make, it is important to have a comprehensive plan of care so that you are not blindsided by a sudden illness or incapacity. If you want to “age in place,” you need to anticipate your needs while you have the ability to do so.

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