Personal, Financial, Health and Prevention, and End of Life Planning
This section of the website will walk you through the elements essential to making a good plan and sharing your desires with trusted family members and friends.
Acknowledging the possibility of changes in our overall health and capacity is never easy. It means addressing the reality of long-term services and supports needs and making important decisions. It’s always harder to make decisions in a moment of crisis, when emotional, health and financial concerns are at their most critical. That’s why it’s important to understand your own wishes and expectations — and those of your loved ones — before illness or disability occurs. Once these issues are discussed honestly and openly, a weight is lifted and important decisions can be made. Begin the conversation soon.
Here are some tips:
· Understand your own reasons for wanting to have a discussion about long term services and supports. What are your concerns? What do you want to have happen, and why?
· Respect the fact that others may not be ready to talk about life changes. It’s important to establish trust and caring before decisions can be made.
· Listen actively to what’s being said. Pay close attention to the feelings beneath the words.
· Look for natural opportunities to have conversations with others outside of your immediate circle in order to explore and develop your own ideas about the kind of services and supports you would prefer.
Throughout your life, you’ve understood the importance of having a solid financial plan, which most likely included health and life insurance. It is essential that you continue evaluating your current circumstances in relation to future needs.
Here are some basic tips:
· Talk with specialists in the insurance, banking and investment fields. Examine all of your options, including long-term care insurance and reverse mortgages. Determine what’s right for you. For more information, visit the Paying for Your Needs section of this website.
· Entrust a family member or friend with the details of your finances, including the location of records, how funds can be accessed, and the names and numbers of agents or investment managers.
· Create a system for organizing your financial records, including:
o Income and Assets - defined pension plans, 401k plans, annuities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, trust accounts, etc.
o Debt and Other Liabilities - credit card balances, auto loans, reverse mortgages, and other obligations.
o Bank Accounts - savings, checking, credit union, and cash management accounts.
o Insurance Plans - personal and group life, health, property and casualty, long-term care, and business insurance.
o Social Security - number and pertinent information.
o Safe-Deposit Boxes - location and access information.
o Tax Records - copies of tax returns for the last six years, along with pertinent information.
Having analyzed your financial situation, you may determine that you need or desire additional income in order to maintain independence or a certain life-style and you may conclude that you wish to explore various employment ideas or options. Or you just may want to keep active and wish to consider volunteering or employment or some combination or the two.
For information about employment opportunities, click here to go to the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website featuring a range of opportunities. You may also want to talk to a career management consultant.
If you are an individual with a disability and interested in employment, click on Connect-Ability.com or go to the Connect to Work Center.
If you are an older adult looking for employment, consider contacting the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). If you are eligible, SCSEP may be able to offer you training and/or place you in a position with a non-profit organization. Click here for more information.
If you are an older adult looking for volunteer opportunities, click here to go through the Volunteer Connecticut initiative of the United Way of Connecticut.
Health and Prevention Planning
More and more people are living long and rewarding lives, changing perceptions about what it means to age or live with certain disabilities. Today, you have an unprecedented opportunity to plan for longevity. Staying involved and exercising preventive measures certainly helps. Here are some ideas:
· Take charge of your health. Have annual physicals. Actively manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
· Develop and maintain a daily system for taking medications. If necessary, engage the help of a friend or family member.
· Eat well and exercise routinely. If you live alone, develop a circle of friends to share meals or exercise time.
· Take a careful look at how safe you are in your living environment: loose rugs, worn stair treads and other hazards can cause falls.
· Stay active by volunteering or becoming involved in a local activity or club that reflects your interests.
Be honest about your current needs and future lifestyle challenges. If you think you might require a change in housing, or a certain level of care, explore your options before the need arises.
Taking the time to think about your most cherished values, draft written instructions concerning end-of-life care, and communicating your wishes to family members, physicians and other caregivers is critical to what many call a “good death”. End-of-life planning increases the likelihood that your wishes will be known and followed in situations in which you aren’t able to speak for yourself. It is also a loving gesture to those who most care about you, a gesture that is likely to help free them from unnecessary anxiety and pain.
End-of-life planning should include:
· private reflection on what factors, such as being surrounded by family, having spiritual support, or ensuring independence, will mean a “good death” for you.
· using that reflection to make decisions about:
o who should speak for you if you cannot (your “proxy”)
o the setting in which you’d like to receive care
o whether you wish to accept or refuse life support (e.g. CPR,
ventilation, artificial means of providing nutrition and hydration)
o whether you wish to be an organ donor