By Shari Flight
Planning for our future is something that is so necessary for our financial and personal well-being. Making sure that we have a financial plan for possible medical needs and that our wishes and requests have been shared or put into writing in case ever deemed incapacitated, is vital to assuring that we live out the final years of our life the way we want.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for most which frequently leaves caregivers responsible to make last-minute financial and health related decisions with minimal guidance. In an article by Charles Schwab, it shares that only 33% of Americans have a written financial plan. In another article by Legal Zoom, the authors share that 30% of Americans do not know if their parents have a will, and 40% of Americans do not know what is in their parents will.
As a Director of Community Relations, one of the first things I do is meet with the caregivers of the person living with dementia to learn more about their loved one as a person, their social and health-related goals, and any additional information I may need to assist them through the process. Often, the caregiver has been put into a position where they must quickly find somewhere for their loved one to live because an incident happened, and now they are being discharged from a hospital or rehab. This type of situation can increase caregiver stress and burden because they frequently have no prior knowledge of their loved one’s finances, medical wishes, or who has been named the Durable Power of Attorney and/or Health Care Proxy.
The Cordwainer Memory Care by Anthemion Senior Lifestyles is looking to combat these statistics by providing caregivers with the educational tools they need to best assist their loved ones and guide them in preparing for their own future. In a recent support group, we asked participants if they knew what their loved one’s wishes are, what their finances look like, and what is in their will. We guided the attendees in the proper steps to take to assist themselves and their loved ones, so that they can make the entire process as stress-free as possible. Additionally, we guided those whose loved ones are still early on in their dementia journey to talk to them about their wishes. It is a conversation that may be uncomfortable, but it will allow you to make decisions based on your loved ones wishes prior to their progression.
Shari Flight is The Cordwainer’s Director of Community Relations. She co-facilitates The Cordwainer memory care support groups alongside The Cordwainer’s Program Director Somita Ray.