In a recent post on our Facebook page, LifeCare Advocates highlighted an article in Time Magazine regarding planning ahead.

The article illustrates the value of providing organized, thorough information for family and friends who will be handling financial, legal, medical, and other affairs after a death, during a very emotional time.

We as a society do not like to talk about death, illness or frailty of any kind, and therefore do not often plan for these guarantees.  However, if planning is not completed, then an instance of acute illness, a gradual decline in physical or cognitive health, or sudden or expected death can become more stressful without proper advance directives in place and organized information to guide decision-makers. The article provides suggestions of how to manage one’s affairs when well, such as putting a loved one as a joint account owner or authorized representative not only on financial accounts but on cable, phone, electric, gas, and other household accounts, and suggestions about what documents to put into what they call a “When I Die” File.  There are other resources for this type of planning, such as the “What If Workbook” and other organizational guides.

An elder law attorney can be helpful in creating legal advance directives such as Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, wills, and trusts.  They can also help in advising families in how to manage a person’s affairs once they have died.  An Aging Life Care Professional can be a partner in this endeavor, helping elders and families list and find important documents, make phone calls to providers, managing family dynamics around these sensitive issues, and helping clients and their families cope with the emotions that thinking about illness and death can bring. In addition to practical guidance about a client’s need for care, quality care providers, and advocacy, our Aging Life Care Professionals’ knowledge of the aging process and family dynamics can help smooth what can be a rough planning path.

If you are interested in learning more about LifeCare Advocates’ services, please view our website at www.lcadvocates.com, or call to speak with a member of our clinical leadership team, 617-928-0200.