So far in this series, Douglas Lamb, CPA, CA, CFP® and Elder Planning Counselor, a Financial Advisor with Investia Financial Services Inc. in Toronto, has suggested things to think about for the first two phases of retirement: Active and less active lifestyle and Getting help .
In the third stage of retirement, activities and outings may have mostly stopped and significant medical expenses, as well as possible long-term care costs, might be required.
Doug offers advice on how to proceed if you need to navigate a move to continuing or long-term care:
The tables have turned
In the transition from child to teen and adult, there is a natural excitement when we first learn to drive, buy a car and move into a place of our own. The reverse happens when those things are no longer possible. Moving into a long-term or continuing care facility is a very emotional and often distressing experience for both you and your family. Be sensitive to the feelings and opinions of the entire family, who should ensure that your wishes are followed to the maximum extent possible.
Making the right move for you
Start early to carefully review care home options. Look for an environment where you feel comfortable and are assured of the care and dignity that you deserve. Many facilities have long waiting lists, so express your interest and register early.
Once you are admitted to a care facility, it’s important for your family to monitor the care that’s being provided. Unannounced visits and phone calls help provide a window into what’s happening when they’re not there. If loved ones are unavailable, make arrangements for periodic visits by a paid caregiver.
Work with a professional to get the help you need
It’s extremely important to find a financial planner who has experience with these types of transitions, either with their own family or with other clients. It’s not only about the numbers when determining future retirement needs—it’s about finding someone to guide you through the roller coaster of emotional issues.
While Doug’s mother flourished in her chosen assisted living facility, she later developed a rigorous form of Alzheimer’s disease. The rapid loss of abilities meant a quick move to a secure unit. While the family found the perfect place for her, she had good days and bad, says Doug. “One day she called to ask if I realized the kind of facility she was living in and announced she was holding me responsible for ‘locking her up’. My response? ‘Thanks―I’m giving you the protection you need—just as you protected me growing up.’ She never mentioned the situation again.”
Plan ahead for peace of mind
Preparing emotionally, financially and practically for various eventualities can give you control and peace of mind, as well as save your family additional stress.
A Certified Financial Planner® professional can help you plan for issues you may face in the future, such as:
Ensuring wills and powers of attorney for property and personal care are in place and reflect your wishes
Helping you to communicate with loved ones and other affected parties about how you would like to handle advanced health care and end-of-life care, giving them permission and the comfort they need to follow through on your wishes
A well-thought out estate plan to ensure final assets are distributed as you wish
If you missed them, read Navigating retirement part 1: Active and less active lifestyle and Navigating retirement part 2: Getting help. For an overview of how to plan for a rewarding retirement, read Navigating retirement: Plan to make the most of every phase.
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