Preparing for higher health-care costs

We’ve all heard stories about an elderly parent who becomes seriously ill or is otherwise disabled and the family is left scrambling to decide what steps to take next. Not only does such a situation lead to confusion, but it also causes stress at a time that is already stressful enough.

However, if you plan ahead regarding potential health issues and then clearly communicate this plan to your loved ones, you can avoid undue stress and ensure you will be cared for precisely the way you want.

Here are some key considerations to address now, before circumstances change, to prepare yourself and your family:

Activities of daily living. Perhaps you can manage on your own right now, but some activities are becoming more difficult. Who can help? Family and friends? Community health care? Live-in caregiver?

Near-term living arrangements. If you’re thinking about moving to a senior’s housing complex or assisted living facility, get input from your family. They may have ideas or know of others in a similar situation, plus they may provide financial help if required.

Longer-term living arrangements. Consult with your family regarding location – you want to be accessible – and the type of arrangements you want (e.g., public or private, level and quality of health care).

End-of-life care. Everyone has different preferences regarding how much or how little medical intervention they want near the end. Communicate your wishes and consider a living will (or Advance Care Plan) that details these wishes.

Insurance coverage. Depending on personal circumstances, your insurance needs will vary but your family should be aware of what type of coverage you have, to what extent, and which insurer(s) you deal with.

Contact information. Be sure your family knows the names and contact details for your executor, power of attorney, financial advisor and lawyer. A list of other important numbers (e.g., doctor, pharmacist, social worker, funeral home, etc.) is also useful.

To learn more, contact your financial advisor or read Are you prepared to budget more for your health in retirement?

The contents are provided for informational and educational purposes, and are not intended to provide specific individual advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax. Please consult with your own professional advisor on your particular circumstances.