As the baby boomer generation ages, there is an increase in people who do not have a spouse or children who will take care of them in their old age.
There are increased risks for a person to become diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other disabilities that diminish a person’s ability to care for themselves. Not everyone has someone to protect them when age or disability denies them the ability to protect themselves.
Living on your own has several advantages, including independence and living a life as a self-sufficient individual. However, as a person starts to age they need to think of the long term. By creating an estate plan, a person can ensure they are comfortable and cared for as they age or their health worsens – even if they have no children.
Living as an Independent Senior
The fear of being sick or incapacitated without anyone to advocate for your needs is a natural and genuine fear. According to a report by the United Census Bureau, the proportion and number of people over the age of 65 is going to increase significantly between now and 2050.
In addition to the population growing older, it has become more socially acceptable to stay single and not have children.
There are many reasons that a person can’t or doesn’t want to rely on family members for support: estrangement, geography, death, or simply the social isolation that can accompany the aging and disabled. Without an advocate, the infirm run a risk of losing their dignity, independence, possessions, and health. Having a solid estate plan in place will give others a guide to make sure your needs, wishes, and desires are taken care of.
Preparing an Estate Plan
Being proactive as you age is essential, especially for people who do not have a caregiver within their family or close acquaintances. An elder attorney can assist with:
- Designating advocates through guardianship or medical proxies
- Locate a care manager who can monitor and coordinate care; many care managers also act as health care advocates
- Finding long term care-insurance
- Disability and Medicaid Planning issues
- Drafting Powers of Attorney
- Other general Probate and Estate Administration issues
Most importantly, a competent elder law attorney can help you develop an informed, personalized plan based on what you have, what you want, what you need, and who will advocate for you along the way.