Plan for the Future: Housing and Care Needs

Online Exclusive posted Friday, March 16, 2012 – 4:05pm

Stay ahead of your physical and financial needs.

When you reach retirement age—or even before then if your disability occurred many years ago—your physical and financial needs may change.

You may need to switch to a power chair or a van. Perhaps you will have to modify your home. If you want to continue working, you may require additional job accommodations. If your spouse or children can’t care for you, you may need a personal assistant. Another possibility is to move into an assisted-living facility. And you definitely should make a new spending plan to budget for additional medical costs or to reflect changes in your income.

Use this checklist to plan for your future housing and care:

• Recognize that your spouse or children may not be able to care for you forever. Start planning now!

• Consider hiring a personal assistant or going to an adult day-care center.

• Explore the possibility of moving into an assisted-living facility or nursing home. The more realistic you are, the better solutions you will find. Visit several facilities in your area. Ask your doctor or social worker for recommendations. Check out their credentials by calling your state health department. Eldercare Locator can also guide you to information (800-677-1116 / eldercare.gov).

• If you are a veteran, see if a VA or state veterans nursing home is near you.

• Plan how you will pay for a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Long-term care insurance may pay for part or all of the costs.

• Protect your rights. Always keep in mind that you have the right to live safely, keep your finances private, and manage your own money. If you believe your rights are violated by anyone at any time, tell someone!

Find out now if your benefits will change as you age—and plan accordingly.

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