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SENIOR ADVOCATE

By Liza Horvath

 

Options to Consider When Seniors Age in Place

 

Most seniors, when asked, will emphatically state that they want to remain in their homes and “age in place.” Home is where the people, pets and things we love reside and it is often where life’s best memories have been created.  

 

The means by which seniors can remain safely and comfortably at home vary but here are the basics to consider: First, think about where you would like to live and how you can best address the services you may need in your later years. Unfortunately, planning can only go so far because most of us cannot predict the future to know what services we may need and when. So, when a senior can no longer safely live alone, an assessment by a qualified professional may be needed. Shirley Kiatta, a Registered Nurse and  Certified Geriatric Care Manager, provides a service where she meets with seniors in their homes and, after gathering information about health status and medication needs, finances, insurance and nutritional concerns, Kiatta identifies resources to meet the senior’s needs and helps coordinate the delivery of services. Kiatta is not compensated by a facility or in-home health care provider firm so her purely objective advice is based on the needs of the senior and her familiarity with the resources available in our community. Kiatta states that, “A comprehensive plan helps identify issues and address any pertinent problems first.” Kiatta can be reached at 645-9950.

 

Some seniors intentionally buy homes or have additions built to accommodate a “live-in” caregiver. At first, seniors may just want someone around – in case of an emergency but they remain otherwise independent. As they age, a senior’s needs may become greater and additional services like cooking, cleaning, transportation or medication management may be needed. If you are considering such an arrangement, make sure the live-in and you are in agreement on the terms of the engagement. Work with your attorney to create a memorandum of understanding or employment agreement – depending on the circumstances. Having a live-in can create a tenancy – much like renting out a room or an apartment – so make sure the understanding is clear and documented. The last thing you need are the legal costs and stress associated with having to formally evict someone who is no longer welcome. Legal Services for Seniors can help with live-in agreements – for free. 899-0492 or 442-7700.

 

An alternative to finding your own live-in is retaining the services of a caregiving agency. Central Coast Senior Services, 649-3363, provides caregivers in your home for anywhere from four to 24 hours a day, as does Visionary Health Care Services, 644-9246. When retaining the services of a health care agency, understand their hiring, training and management policies. Most care agencies provide oversight by an on-staff Registered Nurse who monitors the care being provided and can recommend additional resources, as needed. The good thing about using an agency is that it is a professional engagement rather than a one-on-one like a live-in situation so if you are not happy with the services – simply fire them and go a different direction.

 

The last option considered – at least by most seniors – is to move to a facility. However, seniors should not be hasty in ruling out moving to a facility or retirement community. Many facilities and senior communities are exceptionally nice and, since they are in the business of senior services, they are usually very good at what they do. Some seniors find this option very satisfying.

 

The main point is to get to know your options and plan accordingly. Finally, write it down. Until it is written down, it is just a collection of wishes and dreams.

 

Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com

 


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