Planning for life-long health needs: The earlier the better

I recently had two aging family members to deal with – my father and Kacky, the sweet Irish nanny/housekeeper who came to live with my father and my siblings after his first wife died. After 50 years, she was part of the family. I kept telling my many siblings we needed to plan for their care. But, try getting 7 Readys to focus long enough to do that.  So, when the time came that disability set in, in both cases, it was much more complicated and painful than it had to be.

So, get on it. The state of Massachusetts has a program to help. Here’s a self-description of the Embrace Your Future Program (En Español también) :  

This guide is designed to help you learn how to plan for your future long-term support needs. In Massachusetts, and throughout the United States and abroad, people are living longer and staying healthier longer than ever before. As we enjoy extended lives, the likelihood that at some point we will need long-term supports also increases. Chronic disease and disabilities are more prevalent in our later years. Because we are living longer, we need to be thinking about and planning for the futures that we want for ourselves and our loved ones. This guide presents some helpful resources and ways to think about the future for yourself and your loved ones.

Needing long-term supports does not mean a complete loss of independence or control over your life. The keys to planning for your future are:

  • planning early and wisely,
  • knowing and understanding your options, and
  • taking action.

 Massachusetts has many resources to help you maximize your independence and functioning at a time when you are unable to be fully independent. These are discussed throughout this planning guide. You can get additional information on the Massachusetts website: www.800ageinfo.com or by calling toll free 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636). When calling, select menu option #1 to be transferred to your local elder service agency or Aging Service Access Point (ASAP).

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