Going into an assisted living facility is a big decision, and one that should not, (and often cannot) be made on the spur of the moment. Many people will want to stay independent for as long as possible without being a burden on their families, so it makes assisted living a great alternative to traditional nursing home care. But are there things that should be prepared far in advance of entering a facility like this? The short answer is yes. For the long answer, read below!
- Make sure to have your financial situation thoroughly checked Hire a financial advisor who can advise you about your estate. If you are planning on selling it to a family member or someone else in order to help pay for your twilight years, find out from them when would be the best time to do this. If you do not take care of your financial issues, and tell your money and assets where to go, you can rest assured that the state will one day do it for you, but you may not like where it all ends up.
- Stay up to date on the insurances that you will still need. If you sell your home & vehicle, you'll no longer need home insurance or car insurance, but you still have to have some form of health insurance. If you are on medicare, make sure you'll have everything covered that you need to have covered before making your moves, not after. Insurance can get very confusing, and if you feel in over your head, do not hesitate to ask for help so that you can understand the huge tangled mess that it weaves. Also look at your life insurance policy to make sure it's all up-to-date. Find out if there are any changes you need to make to either of these.
- Update your will. No one likes to think about death, yet it is not something that anyone escapes. Make sure your will is updated with any new information that it needs, and that it is done in front of an attorney to make it legally binding. Even if your family is clear on your wishes, this is necessary to protect your assets from the state, should there come any discrepancies regarding your property or belongings.
- Give permissions to whomever needs permissions to handle business for you. If you are planning to go into assisted living, it means that you'll no longer be out and about on your own to do your business. Even if you can still visit the bank, insurance/investment company along with this person, it is a good idea to make sure they have permission to act on your behalf in case you are not well enough to accompany them. Be sure it is someone you trust implicitly, obviously, but then get everything taken care of ahead of a move so that you do not need to worry about it once you're moved in.
- Get things boxed, labeled and donated. The best plan of attack with larger items is to place post -it notes on the furniture to tell where it is going or to whom. Put ideas on pieces that you're unsure of and ask if someone would like it or could use it. If they cannot, do not be offended. They have their own things, after all. If no one that you know can use it, call a local charity shop and ask if they offer pick up service. They should come and get it and give you a tax deductible receipt. This also eliminates the extra stress on family members who are helping you move, if everything is labeled. It's a good idea to start this process at least a year before you think you may move, as it is an exhausting prospect, especially if you've lived in the same place for over 20 years. Think about what you'd like to do with extra sheets/towels, disposable dishes & silverware, laundry detergent, etc. Find out what is offered at the home you're moving to and try to use up or give away anything that is consumable so that you're not left with strange odds and ends on moving day.
This decision is a major life choice. It should not be undertaken lightly or at the last minute, though there are times when unexpected events occur. If you think that there might be a time when you'll enter an assisted living home, start planning now so that the transition is as seamless as possible. You'll feel so much better about it, and your family will thank you!