It is understandable that none of us want to think about being incapacitated
one day. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be independent and able
to take care of ourselves for our whole life. However, the danger exists
in not acknowledging the possibility that our wish for a life of independence
may not come true and therefore not putting plans in place to deal with
that possibility. As a wise advisor was recently discussing with me, a
lack of planning for incapacity impacts both you and the people who love
you. Without plans in place to pay for the assistance needed when incapacity
occurs, both you and your family have to reevaluate living arrangements
and financial arrangements.
Many people don’t want to acknowledge the possibility of incapacity
because they don’t want to acknowledge the possibility of having
to move into the “nursing home.” If they don’t think
about it, then it won’t happen. However, by not thinking about it
and putting contingent plans in place, the chances of ending up in a “nursing
home” increase instead of decrease. This is because in many states,
Medicaid assistance favors skilled nursing care instead of community based
care. So, if you haven’t put financial options in place to pay for
your care through home health or assisted living communities, you have
increased your chances of having to default into Medicaid (with its skilled
nursing bias) for help with your care.
As unsettling as the thought of losing your independence may be, don’t
shy away from a discussion with your family, your financial advisors and
your attorney about what you can do to proactively plan for such a possibility.
Being proactive is one of the best ways to give yourself and your family
the options you want should the unthinkable actually happen to you.