Top questions to ask before moving to assisted living

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — While many people think planning to move to an assisted living facility can wait until our golden years, the truth is everyone over 18 years old should be planning well in advance.

This week is National Assisted Living Week, so joining us Sunday on Good Morning Connecticut, Connecticut Eldercare Attorney Henry Weatherby shares some important questions to ask before moving into an assisted living facility.

Attorney Weatherby, is the Founding Principal of Weatherby & Associates, PC, in Bloomfield have been helping families for over 20 years.  Weatherby says his firm takes a close look at the unique needs of every individual, family or business to develop a truly individualized strategy that is sure to achieve their objectives. They create a more secure future through estate planning and asset protection strategies to probate, business succession planning and estate administration, Weatherby said.

To watch the full interview from Good Morning Connecticut on Sunday, click on the video above.

According to Weatherby, there are many reason people put off planning for their long term care, including:

  • It’s not pleasant to consider the challenges many of us will face as we age.
  • Many people think estate planning is only for the wealthy.
  • We consult with people every day who believe that their health won’t change, nothing bad financially will happen to them or their loved ones, and basically they’re all set because they are saving for retirement.
  • There are many other considerations than just financial.

Weatherby says there ten top questions people need to answer before moving into an assisted living facility, which include:

  1. How will I pay for long-term care if I need it?

Assuming most people will need long-term care at some point in their lives, the most affordable long-term care policies should be purchased in your late 50’s early 60’s.

  1. How will my spouse maintain his or her lifestyle if I need long-term care (both financial and emotional/avoiding caregiver burnout)?

Most assisted living facilities do not qualify for Medicaid/Title XIX benefits, so the length of stay in assisted living would be privately paid in most cases.

  1. How will I be assured of the best quality of life possible?

Your estate planning team should be in regular communication with your family to help assure that your needs are being met and that you can still enjoy your favorite recreational opportunities.

  1. Who will make financial decisions for me when I can’t? 

A comprehensive personalized Durable Power of Attorney will name someone who can handle your financial matters, including everything from daily bill paying and income tax filings to sophisticated estate tax planning and establishing trusts that will protect your assets and help you qualify for long-term care benefits.

  1. Who will make personal and health care decisions for me when I can’t?
  • An Appointment of Health Care Representative designates someone you trust to make health care decisions for you when you no longer can do so yourself.
  • If you haven’t appointed a health care representative the probate court may then be required to appoint a conservator to make the needed medical decisions.
  • It is possible that this will be a person you would not want or even someone you do not know.
  1. Who will care for anyone else that may be dependent on me?

If you are caring for a disabled child, for example, proper estate planning can assure you that a plan of care is in place that will continue beyond your lifetime.

  1. How will I maintain control of my person and my assets as much as possible?
  • You need to have a plan in place if you are age 18 or older.
  • In Connecticut, you have an opportunity to document who is to be in charge of your person and your assets when you are unable to for any reason.
  • By doing this you can avoid the excess involvement of the Probate Court in your affairs.
  1. How can I be sure my end-of-life wishes are respected?

In addition to carefully selecting your Health Care Representative, a Living Will gives you the opportunity to spell out your wishes regarding palliative care and extraordinary medical measures to be taken or to not be taken when you are in a persistent vegetative state or when death is imminent.

  1. How can I minimize any conflict among family members if I become incapacitated?

Having a well-thought-out and easily understandable plan, in combination with frequent communication about your plan, is the best way to minimize conflicts.

  1. How can I best provide for my family after my death?

Clarify your specific goals then have precise, comprehensive legal documents created that are written as much as possible in plain English.

Weatherby recommends everyone over the age of 18 create a plan, even though everyone’s lives change considerably by the time they reach retirement age. But by beginning a long term relationship with an elder law attorney, you create a living, growing, changing entity that is highly flexible and responsive to changes in life and in the law. After many years of working with families, Weatherby developed the LifeBridgeTM program: a unique approach to ensure each participant’s plan is reviewed regularly and updated according to changes in laws or to a client’s life situation.

For more information, you can go to www.weatherby-associates.com.

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