July 19, 2018 by
Solo agers. It’s the new term being passed around to describe the baby boomer without children. This strong and self-reliant genre faces some unique issues in aging, particularly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker if they become unable to do so themselves. In her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider:
- Sift through your support system. Usually, a solo ager’s spouse would be the natural option for guardianship and also to make critical decisions related to medical care; however, it’s worthwhile to have at least one and preferably two younger alternative options. Give some thought to siblings and their children, good friends, and neighbors, taking into account whether or not each person holds matching values and is also someone you are able to fully trust to help make decisions according to your wishes.
- Hire a qualified professional guardian. Professional guardians, also called private guardians or professional fiduciaries, are becoming increasingly popular for solo agers. If interested in this option, it’s crucial that you interview several candidates to make certain they’ve got the required experience and knowledge, and don’t forget to request references. Check with your attorney for recommendations, or the National Guardianship Association or Professional Fiduciary Association in your state.
- Accept a court-appointed guardian. If a solo ager hasn’t already selected a guardian and is suddenly not able to make care-related and/or financial decisions, a probate court will designate a guardian to handle his or her affairs.
If you are checking out potential guardians, collect answers to questions such as:
- How long have you been in practice?
- Have you been certified by the National Guardian Association?
- Are you bonded and insured?
- What is the succession plan if you predecease me?
- Are background checks performed on all of your employees?
- What is your understanding of the specific health conditions I’m facing?
- What are your fees, and just how often will I be billed?
Once your guardian option is determined, ensure that your attorney updates your existing (or creates a fresh) durable power of attorney or advance medical care directive, will, and durable power of attorney for finances.
For more assistance in planning for long-term care needs, including home care in Syracuse NY, get in touch with the elder care professionals from At Home Independent Living. We are able to partner with seniors to produce a plan of care to ensure that needs are fully met now and can continue to be met effectively as needs change in the future, always in accordance with each individual’s wishes. Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to find out more.