When it comes to retirement planning there is a great deal of knowledge and energy directed at the financial side of planning. The less glamorous and fun side of planning for the golden years is to plan for future health and care needs. My experience in seniors health has taught me that most people have ideas of how they wish to age, but have made few plans to ensure that they have the resources, not just financial, to accomplish this. It is common to hear stories of families fighting over wills and estates. Equally common but less spoken of are family battles over a loved ones care needs, housing situation, or end of life choices. Just as creating a will, and managing pensions and RRSP are important, care wishes not planned for may be impossible for you and your family to arrange and/or afford.
Most people will experience either physical or cognitive challenges as they age. Some have both. Many couples have divided responsibilities for managing their household and are left poorly equipped when their partner is unable to continue paying the bills or preparing the meals. If you are assuming your adult children will manage certain aspects of life and care, have they agreed to this? A mismatch of expectations can add to tensions and stress for both you and your family members if you spring expectations on them, especially in a crisis. If you have someone willing to take on your care, have you given them the proper resources and information to accomplish this? With all the variation in situations and care needs, coupled with a complicated system involving medical, legal and financial entities, it can be quite overwhelming to manage the care needs of yourself or someone you love. Without careful planning many people end up with the care that they or their family considers easiest rather than what they would ideally prefer, even if they can afford what they want.
The Best Careplanning Documents
Part of the challenge in planning is that your health and needs are highly individual. You may have a relatively simple situation, you know what your wishes are, your family is agreeable to them, you trust your family, and you have the financial capacity to afford it. You are in the lucky minority! The only need here is to ensure that correct forms are completed and that they are made accessible to the agent who will ensure your wishes. A helpful tool in this scenario would be the just in case instructions available from the law depot. Giving your caretaker the instructions on where to find needed documents and tools to manage your care when you are unable.
In the event that your circumstances are more complicated it may be beneficial to have professional help. Complicated estates and family situations generally require the legal guidance of a lawyer, while a simple estate can benefit from the lower price and convenience of an online will form. If you and your loved ones find it difficult to discuss or agree on health plans or are unaware of what is needed or available it may be beneficial to bring in a health professional such as Nakay Health. We can discuss your wishes and decisions and make suggestions to maximize the capacity of your family or agent to get the care you would choose.
It is our hope that all people are able to have a comprehensive retirement plan allowing for peace of mind for health as well as finances.