As we begin to look forward to the new year, it is a good time to review and take stock. As Aging Wisely, we naturally gravitate to thinking about how individuals and families can better prepare for getting older and managing needs that come with health challenges and aging. Here are some of our best tips for being prepared!
•Meet with your attorney (or contact us to get referred to one) to review your estate planning and advance care planning documents. Key documents you need to consider (and possibly update if you have not reviewed in a while, or have had life changes): Living Will, Healthcare Surrogate (health power of attorney), Durable Power of Attorney, Will and/or Trust.
•Talk with your family member about the execution of these documents, especially those you have designated as possibly substitute decision makers.
•Make sure potential decision-makers have copies of the relevant documents, as well as know where your important papers and key information are located.
•Organize your paperwork for this year’s taxes. Make sure to include receipts from charitable donations. If you’re having trouble keeping up with paperwork, you might want to consider daily money management assistance. If you’re helping a loved one, pay attention to any difficulties with paperwork, forgetting about bills or surprising purchases as these may be signs that it has become difficult for your loved one to manage financial affairs alone.
•Organize your health records. This will save you time and stress at various doctor’s appointments, ensure better continuity of care and help any family members who assist you (now or in the future). Minimally, set up a health notebook or file, with: list of medications (current and discontinued), diagnoses, allergies, surgeries and other key health history (it may also help to make notes of family health history). Consider secure, online programs for managing this information and better access.
Make it your New Year’s resolution to do at least one thing to age more wisely! Whether it be a health and wellness goal, a “bucket list” item, reducing stress or preparing with the checklist above, make it your goal to do something that will positively impact your quality of life.