July 19, 2018

senior woman doing some household admin

What’s your aging plan?

Baby boomers without children of their own can now boast a new title: solo agers. This strong and independent group faces various different challenges in creating an aging plan, namely who to designate as guardian and decision-maker if ever they become unable to do so themselves. In her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. describes several choices to consider:

  1. Dig through your support system. Generally, a solo ager’s spouse would be the natural choice for guardianship and also to make important decisions associated with health care, but it’s worthwhile to have a minimum of one and preferably two younger alternates. Consider brothers or sisters and their children, friends, and neighbors, taking into account whether or not each candidate holds similar values and is also somebody you can fully trust to implement your aging plan according to your wishes.
  2. Hire a professional guardian. Professional guardians, also called private guardians or professional fiduciaries, are getting to be more popular than ever for solo agers. If considering this option, it’s vital that you interview a number of candidates to make sure they have the required experience and knowledge, and don’t hesitate to ask for references. Check with your attorney for recommendations, or perhaps the National Guardianship Association or Professional Fiduciary Association in your state.
  3. Accept a court-appointed guardian. If a solo ager has not selected a guardian and is suddenly unable to make care-related and/or financial decisions, a probate court will appoint a guardian to manage his or her affairs.

If you are selecting potential guardians, gather answers to questions such as:

  • How much time have you been in practice?
  • Have you been certified by the National Guardian Association?
  • Are you bonded and insured?
  • What may be the succession plan if you predecease me?
  • Are criminal record checks performed on all your employees?
  • What is your understanding of the specific medical ailments I’m facing?
  • Exactly what are your fees, and just how often am I going to be billed?

Once your guardian option is determined, ensure that your attorney updates your existing (or creates a new) durable power of attorney or advance health care directive, will, and durable power of attorney for finances.

If you require any more help and support in putting together an aging plan for long-term care needs, contact the senior care professionals at Continuum, providers of the highest quality assisted home care St. Louis seniors need. We can partner with seniors to create a plan of care to make sure that needs are fully met now and will keep on being met effectively as needs change in the many years to come, always with respect to each individual’s wishes. Contact us at (314) 863-9912 or online  for more information.