Creating an Aging Plan With Your Spouse

You and your spouse or partner are accustomed to making plans together – vacations, purchases, investments, and the thousand other things that come up over the years. There may be one big plan you’ve not yet considered – an aging plan for both of you. With an aging plan, you can outline your plans for things like your finances, living situation, what you’ll do if one of you falls ill, end-of-life wishes, and any other topics you want to include.

Couples who decide to create an aging plan are taking a very important – and some may consider a very brave – step in planning for their future. This is not an easy topic for anyone, and when you’re part of a couple, you’ll have to work carefully to ensure that both parties’ needs and preferences are accommodated. After all, an aging plan will include big topics.

Here are a few suggestions to ensure you create a plan that works for both of you:

Enlist the help of a neutral party, such as a life care manager or geriatric care manager, to help you create a plan around your goals and interests. This will help ensure you stay focused and consider options that work for both of you.

Weigh the pros and cons of the implications of all your choices. Keep your current home or move to a continuing care retirement community? Move closer to family – or to your favorite beach? What if one of you were to need care? Think realistically about what each decision might entail.

Use trusted advisers (e.g., financial experts) to help you check your thinking and do some fact checking. For example, you may want to prepare for the potential costs of in-home care or living in a long-term care residence, for one or both of you.

Involve your family if and when appropriate. If you’ll be living near family members, would receiving care or assistance from them be an option, or desirable for both parties? Knowing their wishes will inform some of your decisions.

Rely on unbiased resources and research when making decisions. Your state and city or county will have aging-oriented resources, and area agencies on aging exist nationwide. Find these resources online and take advantage of their local knowledge.

Remember that life changes. Be sure to have a Plan B for everything. (But you already knew that!)

Our clients often tell us that they wish they’d thought about these things before a decision was forced upon them – by an illness, perhaps, or the death of a spouse. We understand – life keeps us all busy! If you need some guidance with creating an aging plan, LifeCare Advocates would love to help you through the process. Truly, the peace of mind is worth the effort.