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Planning for Predictable Problems in Later Life

Throughout their lives, many people push themselves to do things that make them a little uncomfortable: they write wills, they buy burial plots, and they may even discuss their wishes for organ donation.

Even though thinking about what will happen when they pass away is a step outside the emotional comfort zone for most people, there is another stage of life that’s sometimes even more disconcerting to ponder, and that is the “before end-of-life” period. This is a time when health problems become common and predictable, but seniors and their families are rarely prepared to cope with them.

A recent article in Kaiser Health News shares the fascinating account of a doctor whose interest in this phenomenon led her to develop real-world strategies to help seniors and their families become better prepared for this stage of life and what they can do to successfully age in place.

Dr. Lee Ann Lindquist is chief of geriatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and she pursued her curiosity to secure a $2-million research study which ultimately led to the development of an online tool called Plan your Lifespan.

In the research project, five specific areas of concern for aging in place became clear:

  1. Being hospitalized
  2. Falling
  3. Developing dementia
  4. Having a spouse fall ill or die
  5. Not being able to keep up their homes

After investigating the reasons why seniors weren’t planning for these occurrences, Dr. Lindquist and her team developed a website tool full of practical, concrete material to be used in planning and decision-making. The site will prompt users to plan for potential problems and aspects of life that perhaps hadn’t occurred to them.

As the Plan your Lifespan tool states, “No one knows what their future health holds, but everyone wants to have their voice heard throughout their lifespan.”

Kudos to Dr. Lindquist for helping more seniors have their voices heard.

Read the full article here: A Playbook For Managing Problems In The Last Chapter Of Your Life

Heffner & Associates, Elder Care Law & Estate Planning

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