Talking about Aging Family Planning with the U of M | Community

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a person who turns 65 today is almost 70% likely to need some type of long-term care and support service during his remaining years. As this demographic continues to grow – Minnesota predicts that the number of older residents (65 and over) will double by 2030 – they need to think about how to communicate their financial, health and lifestyle plans. life to their loved ones.

Marti DeLiema Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Development, shares tips on how older people can have meaningful conversations with adult family members.

Q. When is a good time to discuss the decisions that accompany aging with the family?

Prof. DeLiema: It is never too early to start having open conversations about planning the decisions and major life events that accompany aging. Ideally, these conversations should take place around retirement. This is when many people get involved in financial planning and decide where they want to live and how they can give meaning and purpose to their lives now that work obligations are behind them. However, many people wait much longer to retire. This is why I recommend that seniors start having open conversations about health, money and housing whenever they are reunited with their family and have thought about their personal goals in advance. and their expectations for the future. It may seem like there is never a good time given how busy our lives are, but these are not conversations to be put off. People need to have aids lined up to help them with health, financial and other unforeseen emergencies. Talking to family members about our needs and expectations will help ensure that our wishes are honored. It will also take the guesswork out of our family, giving everyone more peace of mind.

Q. What kind of financial decisions should we discuss?

Prof. DeLiema: First, older people need to choose and appoint someone as their surrogate financial decision maker (their financial advocate) so that they are prepared for a time when they can no longer manage their money on their own. This person should be someone they trust, someone who acts with integrity and who will put the older person’s needs before their own. Once the elderly person has put all their financial and insurance information in order, they can take an overview of their finances with their future financial lawyer, explaining their different accounts, sources of income, policies. insurance, regular bills and its financial goals. If the chosen financial lawyer is to take over and help one day, it is important that they have all the information they need to do their job well.

The financial attorney must also be appointed as an agent under a durable power of attorney (POA). A durable POA is a legal document that a lawyer can draft. It specifies what the financial lawyer can and cannot do to act on behalf of the senior (the “principal”) with regard to the management of his money and his assets. Financial institutions and state and federal benefit programs require the lawyer to have a POA to access seniors’ money to pay for care or household expenses, as well as to fill out forms to apply for benefits. government.

Q. What questions do you need to ask yourself in terms of health?

Prof. DeLiema: Likewise, older people (all adults, indeed!) That person may be the same person or a different person from the financial attorney. Discussions should focus on what it means to have a high quality of life and their goals for medical interventions and treatments for serious illnesses and for end-of-life care. Families should also discuss long-term care plans and goals. Do I want to be cared for at home or live in an assisted living facility? Do I want my adult children to take care of me or pay professionals? Now is a time to think about what care the older person can afford and what options are available where they want to live. Much like financial conversations, discussions about long-term care, medical treatment preferences, and end-of-life care need to happen early, long before the need for care arises.

Q. What are some examples of lifestyle choices people can make as they age?

Prof. DeLiema: Life choices are dictated by a person’s resources. Retirees with substantial savings have more flexibility, and therefore more decisions to make. Some people may want to relocate to be closer to their adult children or move to a warmer climate. Other people have more limited choices. For example, they may need to sell their home to pay for the care they need. All seniors should take a look at their finances and develop a retirement income strategy. They need to make sure they can cover their daily expenses, emergency expenses, and lead a life filled with meaningful activity and social engagement.

Q. What resources can the University of Minnesota provide to guide these conversations?

Prof. DeLiema: My colleagues and I have developed resources to help seniors start conversations with friends and family about future money management. The Thinking Ahead Roadmap is a step-by-step planning guide that walks individuals through developing a personalized money management plan, including getting their finances in order, getting a POA and when to transfer financial responsibilities to someone they trust. At the end of this process, the elderly will feel a tremendous burden lifted from their shoulders. They will be much more financially protected and more likely to have their needs met by the person or people they know and trust. Individuals can download the free documents from Thinkingaheadroadmap.org.


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