4.1 How Do I Do A Credit Freeze?
A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, which makes it difficult for people to open credit in your name. Especially if you no longer need to open new credit cards or take out loans, a credit freeze is a great way to reduce the chance of identity theft and fraud.
A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, which makes it difficult for people to open credit in your name. Especially if you no longer need to open new credit cards or take out loans, a credit freeze is a great way to reduce the chance of identity theft and fraud.
To do a credit freeze, you will need to contact each of the credit reporting companies and tell them you want to freeze your credit:
• Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
• Experian — 1 888 397 3742
• TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
After each freeze is completed, you will receive a confirmation letter and a PIN or password. Keep this information! If you ever need to unfreeze your credit, the PIN or password will be required.
You can refer to this document for more information https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-do-a-credit-freeze.pdf
4.1.1 How to freeze your credit
You will need to contact each of the credit reporting companies and tell them you want to freeze your credit:
• Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
• Experian — 1 888 397 3742
• TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
After each freeze is completed, you will receive a confirmation letter and a PIN or password. Keep this information! If you ever need to unfreeze your credit, the PIN or password will be required.
You can refer to this document for more information https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-do-a-credit-freeze.pdf
4.1.2 How to unfreeze your credit
If you are applying for a new loan, ask the company extending the loan which credit reporting agency they intend to use. You will then call this agency to have them lift the freeze long enough for the company to check your report.
A credit freeze does not prevent all fraud as credit thieves can potentially tap into current accounts. This is why it is important to monitor your transactions regularly and alert institutions when you are concerned about fraud or theft.
You can refer to this document for more information https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-do-a-credit-freeze.pdf
4.2 How Do I Find A Fiduciary Financial Adviser?
Historically and by law, financial advisers have not had to look out for you first. Their allegiance has been to their company and themselves first. Fortunately, laws are changing to make it a requirement that a financial adviser places your needs above those of their companies or themselves. This is called a “fiduciary” requirement. However, not all advisers operate under a fiduciary standard, so you need to know how to find an adviser who is truly working for you.
Historically and by law, financial advisers have not had to look out for you first. Their allegiance has been to their company and themselves first. Fortunately, laws are changing to make it a requirement that a financial adviser places your needs above those of their companies or themselves. This is called a “fiduciary” requirement. However, not all advisers operate under a fiduciary standard, so you need to know how to find an adviser who is truly working for you.
A great starting point in finding an adviser who is a fiduciary, go to financial planning organizations who require their members act as a fiduciary for their clients. These organizations have a fiduciary requirement:
• NAPFA
• Garrett Planning Network
• XY Planning Network
• Alliance of Comprehensive Planners
You can refer to this document for more information about finding an advisor who will act in your best interest https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-find-a-fiduciary-financial-adviser.pdf
4.2.1 Ask your adviser, “Are you a fiduciary?”
It is illegal for someone to tell you they are a fiduciary when they are not acting in that capacity. In general, advisers who work for firms known as “Registered Investment Advisers” or RIAs are required to be fiduciaries. Firms that work for “broker dealers” or pure insurance agents are not held to a fiduciary standard.
A great starting point in finding an adviser who is a fiduciary, go to financial planning organizations who require their members act as a fiduciary for their clients. These organizations have a fiduciary requirement:
• NAPFA
• Garrett Planning Network
• XY Planning Network
• Alliance of Comprehensive Planners
You can refer to this document for more information about finding an advisor who will act in your best interest https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-find-a-fiduciary-financial-adviser.pdf
4.2.2 Look for an adviser who is a CFP® or a CPA-PFS
These advisers have the credentials to provide comprehensive financial planning in addition to investment management. As you age, you need someone who takes the time to understand your big picture and helps protect you from bad financial decisions such as taking too much risk in the stock market. They also can act as an intermediary between you and your trusted family member(s) or friend(s) to help you determine when you need help managing your finances.
You can refer to this document for more information about finding an advisor who will act in your best interest https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-find-a-fiduciary-financial-adviser.pdf
4.2.3 Ask how the adviser is paid
Advisers are paid hourly, by retainer, by the amount of money they manage, or by commissions.
• In general, older adults rarely need to be sold products, so commission-based advisers have little incentive to provide the other services needed by them.
• Advisers paid by the amount of money they manage face a similar issue as commission-based planners – if clients have very little money to manage, the advisers do not have incentive to provide the additional services needed. However, advisers managing larger amounts of money may provide comprehensive services.
• Advisers who charge hourly or by retainer are probably the most appropriate for the elderly. For very complex needs, a retainer-based planner is most likely the best fit. For simple planning needs, an hourly planner will most likely be more cost effective.
You can refer to this document for more information about finding an advisor who will act in your best interest https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-find-a-fiduciary-financial-adviser.pdf
4.2.4 Are you comfortable with the adviser?
An important criterion is comfort level. You want an adviser who listens, understands your needs, and does a good job yet is willing to speak up and stand up to you when you are making mistakes or losing the ability to manage your finances. These advisers are hard to find, but thankfully, with the recent changes in fiduciary requirements, more will be in business.
You can refer to this document for more information about finding an advisor who will act in your best interest https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/How-to-find-a-fiduciary-financial-adviser.pdf
4.3 What is an Investment Policy Statement?
An investment policy statement is a document that outlines how your investments will be managed. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or work with a financial adviser, having a clear investment policy is a smart way to make certain all investment decisions align with your goals for your money. This can be shared with trusted family members and friends to make certain they are in alignment with how you want your money managed. If you do not have an adviser helping you, consider hiring an hourly financial planner to help you construct an investment policy statement that you can implement.
An investment policy statement is a document that outlines how your investments will be managed. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or work with a financial adviser, having a clear investment policy is a smart way to make certain all investment decisions align with your goals for your money. This can be shared with trusted family members and friends to make certain they are in alignment with how you want your money managed. If you do not have an adviser helping you, consider hiring an hourly financial planner to help you construct an investment policy statement that you can implement.
You can refer to this document for more information about investment policy statements https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Investment-policy-statements.pdf
You can also download a sample investment policy statement here: https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Sample-investment-policy-statement.docx
An investment policy should contain the following information:
• The short term and long-term goals for your money should be clearly outlined, including the goal and the amount of money needed for that goal.
o Short term goals include cash flow needs in the next five years
 Cash required from investments to meet regular spending needs
 Car purchases
 Major home repairs
 Special trips
o Long-term goals include
 Money required from investments to meet long term spending needs
 Potential long term care costs
 Legacy desires
• The amount of assets allocated to safe and risky investments.
o Investments for shorter term goals should be conservatively invested.
o Investments for longer-term goals can be invested more aggressively. However, it is important to understand how much risk you can take to reach these long-term goals. It is not wise to take a lot of risk if you cannot tolerate large losses in your portfolio.
• The types of investments that will be used in your portfolio.
o In general, the more money you have, the more opportunity you have to use complicated investments. Unfortunately, complicated investments are expensive and have not been proven to improve portfolio performance. Therefore, the typical investor should stick with uncomplicated investments such as indexed mutual funds or exchange traded funds.
o Annuities are another type of investment commonly used in retirement. Most annuities are not appropriate for older individuals with two exceptions – immediate fixed annuities and Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs). Immediate fixed annuities pay a fixed amount for a period of time, much like a pension. QLACs begin payment late in life and are a good tool to insure against running out of money.
• How often your portfolio will be rebalanced to keep the ratio of safe to risky assets at the appropriate level.
Your investment policy should be reviewed yearly and updated to reflect changes in goals or circumstances. In general, there should be very little change in the types of investments used or the allocation of safe to risky assets over time.

4.4 How Do I Manage Online Access To My Financial Accounts?
Many people fear creating online logins for their accounts. They are concerned that their accounts will be hacked, or that money will be stolen, or that they will experience identity theft. Unfortunately, these events can happen even if you never login online. In fact, not creating online access may increase your risk of your accounts being hacked. How can this happen?
Most financial institutions are rapidly moving all their data online. In fact, many are beginning to charge a premium to send you paper statements or to interact with humans at their institutions. If you are not willing to allow your data to be online, you can no longer do business with most financial institutions.
Some financial institutions allow you to set up online access just by going to their website and providing some key sensitive data. If a person has managed to steal the basics such as your social security number, birth date, and zip code, they may have the ability to create online access. However, if you have already created an account online, they cannot create a new login. Thankfully, financial institutions have created good protocols that prevent others from resetting account logins by requiring two factor authentication or use of challenge questions that only you can answer.
It is important to use good “online hygiene” to keep your accounts safe:
• Use strong passwords that no one could easily guess
• Do not use the same password for multiple accounts
• Do not log into financial accounts from public computers
• Use secure WiFi when logging into accounts in public areas
Once you have created online access to your accounts, it is a good idea to manage these accounts using account aggregation software such as Mint.com or Yodlee. Using aggregation software, you can easily monitor all your accounts from one site. This will enable you to catch fraud early and enable you to share your financial picture with your trusted family member(s) or friend(s) so they can watch out for you.
To provide additional backup in case of an unlikely yet serious internet disruption, consider downloading statements from your accounts to your computer at least once a year. This way, if your institution is ever “brought down” by hackers, you have documentation of your assets.
By using software and the internet smartly, you can increase your chance of financial security and reduce your chance of financial fraud and abuse as you age.
For more information on how to better mange your on-line accounts, refer to this PDF file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Managing-online-access-to-accounts.pdf
4.5 Should I Use Password Managers?
Creating online access to your financial accounts is a good way to reduce the chance someone else might set up access to your accounts without you knowing it. The biggest risk of fraud occurs when you choose lame passwords and use the same password for multiple accounts. It is best to choose multiple strong passwords but then you run the risk of forgetting those passwords. What can you do?
Password management software is available to help. Password management software help you create strong passwords, provide two factor authentication, fill in the passwords for you, and automates password changes. Some software packages have a provision for digital legacy, which transfers your logins to a trusted individual in the event of death or incapacity.
If you have multiple online accounts and have trouble managing your passwords, consider using password management software to help.
For more information about using password managers, download this PDF https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Password-managers.pdf

4.6 The Benefits Of Simplifying Your Finances
There can be many benefits, especially for older adults, from simplifying your financial life. Over the years, people often establish multiple investment, credit card, retirement, and bank accounts. This can happen for a variety of reasons:
• Job changes resulted in multiple retirement plans located at different institutions
• You started investing in companies or mutual funds directly buying a small number of shares over a long period of time
• A family member gifted shares of stock to you
• A bank offered great rates on savings or loans that you just could not pass up
• You do not trust the financial services industry, and decided to keep multiple accounts to decrease the risk of an institution going out of business or someone stealing your money
These may have all seemed like good ideas at the time, but there are many reasons you should seek to simplify your finances.
For more information on the benefits of simplifying your financial accounts, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/The-benefits-of-simplifying-your-finances.pdf
4.6.1 Lost or forgotten accounts
As the years go by, you may move once, twice, or a dozen times, and forget some of the outstanding accounts you have created. Without any “action” in these accounts, institutions may not be able to find you and then turn over your little pot of gold to the state.
For more information on the benefits of simplifying your financial accounts, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/The-benefits-of-simplifying-your-finances.pdf

4.6.2 Tax preparation
In addition, with non-retirement accounts, you will have many outstanding tax forms which can make preparing tax returns more complicated and expensive. Did your grandmother gift you that one share of Disney and now you receive a 1099 for $1.37 for the year? Not only do you have that hassle with that 1099, that one share of stock will also go through probate when you die.
With many institutions providing tax forms online, you may forget to download the form only to be reminded a year later with a fun letter from the IRS letting you know about underpayment.
For more information on the benefits of simplifying your financial accounts, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/The-benefits-of-simplifying-your-finances.pdf

4.6.3 Ease of future financial management, caregiving, and estate administration
The more assets you have floating out there, the more work that will be required by family members and any financial professionals you work with if you become incapacitated and by the executor of your estate if you die. This increases the likelihood of higher costs, mistakes, and family discord.
For more information on the benefits of simplifying your financial accounts, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/The-benefits-of-simplifying-your-finances.pdf

4.6.4 Retirement plan distributions
Most retirement plans have required distributions at age 70 ½. If you have multiple retirement accounts, it will be important to keep track of the required amount that needs to be distributed from all the accounts total. IRA accounts are calculated separately from 401k and 403b accounts. By consolidating accounts, it makes distributions much easier to track. And given the penalty for not taking a distribution is a hefty 50%, you want to make sure you get it right.
For more information on the benefits of simplifying your financial accounts, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/The-benefits-of-simplifying-your-finances.pdf

4.6.5 How do I simplify my finances?
Before simplifying, make certain you understand the tax and estate implications of your current situation. After that is clarified, begin to pare down the number of accounts to the following:
• One checking and one savings account at one institution.
• One IRA account and all old retirement plans such as 401k and 403b accounts should be rolled into this IRA.
• One Roth IRA account (if you can have a Roth) – and all Roth 401k and Roth 403b contributions should be rolled into this Roth.
• One brokerage account – all outstanding stock certificates, direct mutual fund holdings, and other investment accounts should be held in this account.
In addition, if you think there are accounts that you have forgotten about, check the unclaimed property site in the state you think it may be located. The USA.gov website has a great resource for this.
When you consolidate, check the titling and beneficiary designations to make certain they are congruent with your estate plan and your wishes.
By simplifying, you can reduce your financial management and caregiving duties as you age and save you and your family time, money, and angst in the process.
For more information on the benefits of simplifying your financial accounts, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/The-benefits-of-simplifying-your-finances.pdf

4.7 What Are Account Aggregation Tools?
Online access to accounts is convenient and easy. However, some people refuse to access accounts online in fear of fraud and identity theft. Your credit cards, banking information, investment accounts, and workplace retirement plans are already on the internet even if you do not access them online. By creating a login for your online access, you limit the ability of others to fraudulently do so in your name.
With most people having multiple accounts, it is sometimes frustrating to remember all the different account names and passwords. The security questions required up the level of safety but make it even harder to remember how to log into multiple accounts.
For more help using account aggregation tools, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Account-aggregation-tools.pdf
4.7.1 What is an account aggregator?
An account aggregator is a useful tool to view all your account information in one place. The information is obtained either by “screen scraping” the websites of your various accounts or by your financial services company providing the information directly.
Companies such as Mint or Yodlee MoneyCenter provide aggregation services directly to consumers. There are multiple companies that provide services to financial institutions and financial advisers, and they may offer this software as one of their services to you.
For more help using account aggregation tools, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Account-aggregation-tools.pdf

4.7.2 What are the benefits of account aggregation software?
• You and your financial caregiver can easily view your transactions all in one place. By monitoring your one login frequently, you are more likely to catch fraud or unintended charges early. You can also set alerts for large transactions.
• You and your trusted family member(s) or friend(s) can manage your budget and cash flow.
• It makes it easy to monitor all your investments to make certain your portfolio aligns with your investment policy.
• You can streamline record keeping and keep track of items important for tax preparation such as charitable contributions and taxes paid.
• It may allow you to maintain the ability to manage your own finances independently for a longer period of time. By allowing your future financial care taker to “check in” on your finances, it will give your family peace of mind. They can recognize problems early and can step in before serious financial damage occurs.
• Your financial care taker has a record of all your assets so they don’t get lost or forgotten. This will be important if you have a serious illness or accident that makes it difficult to communicate. It also helps your family settle your estate once you die.
For more help using account aggregation tools, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Account-aggregation-tools.pdf
4.7.3 Is account aggregation software safe to use?
Pure aggregator software allows only viewing of transactions and does not allow transactions to occur directly. For completing transactions, you need to log into your financial accounts through their website. This provides an added layer of safety, as you do not want someone to have access to all your accounts by using just one website.
By using aggregation software appropriately, you can ease your financial caregiving for yourself and for those helping you in the future.
For more help using account aggregation tools, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Account-aggregation-tools.pdf

5 Financial caregiving
5.1 Assigning Financial Caregiving Roles
When people think about older adults and money, a worry high on the list is fraud and abuse. While it is important to guard against this possibility, the biggest risk to your financial security as you age is actually your own actions. Decreasing ability to make complex financial decisions occurs early in the aging process. The decline may not be noticeable to you, or your family, and suspicious financial transactions may be the first sign that a problem exists.
Because of this risk of financial exploitation, it is important to prepare for potential changes long in advance. Simplifying assets, using account aggregation, and having a clear investment policy statement is a great start toward maintaining your ability to take care of your finances as long as possible. Even with these processes in place, at some point, you will want to identify a financial caregiver, that is, someone who can step in as a safety valve to watch and help manage your finances. This will ease the transition when one or more financial caregivers have to assume complete control over your finances.
This process will be much easier if discussions are held early, and agreements are made in advance on how your finances will be handled by your future financial caregiver. By creating and using a family agreement for financial caregiving, you will reduce uncertainty, worry, family arguments, and the chance that you will experience financial fraud and abuse.
For more information about assigning financial caregiving roles, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Assigning-financial-caregiver-roles.pdf
What should you include in a family agreement regarding financial caregiving? A good agreement spells out the responsibilities and expectations of both sides. These agreements must be individualized to your situation, but should include the following:
5.1.1 What are my responsibilities as someone receiving financial assistance?
• What is the structure of your finances and have they been simplified appropriately?
• Are you using an account aggregator, or have you written out explicit instructions of how your bills should be managed?
• What is the investment policy that should be followed for your assets?
• Who completes tax returns and when will you allow your financial caregiver access to your returns?
• When will you provide viewing access to your financial information so your financial caregiver can keep an eye on your finances?
• When will you provide your future financial caregiver with the ability to access your accounts?
• What will trigger turning over the management of your finances to your financial caregiver?
• Who else will be provided with information on your finances?

For more information about assigning financial caregiving roles, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Assigning-financial-caregiver-roles.pdf

5.1.2 What are my responsibilities as a financial caregiver?
• How often will I look at your accounts?
• How often will finances be reviewed with you?
• What will be my process for writing bills, preparing tax returns, and following your investments?
• How often will I provide information about your finances to others?
For more information about assigning financial caregiving roles, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Assigning-financial-caregiver-roles.pdf

5.2 Family Agreements On Financial Assistance
Money issues are a major cause of family disagreements. High on the list are disagreements around providing financial assistance to adult children and other family members. You want to help people you love, and you want them to stand on their own without your assistance. Financial help is often all they need to get started, but too much help may be a set up for failure.
When lending a hand, it is important to set rules that will be followed to insure future financial independence. We suggest families create “engagement standards” to spell out the responsibilities of both parties in the transaction. These agreements should outline practical considerations and come from the heart. Regarding the provision of financial assistance to family members, the following are important components of the engagement standards.
• What support will be provided?
o Amount
o Time frame
o Loan or gift
• What is the purpose of the support?
o School or job enhancement
o Support through an unfortunate event
o Help starting a business
• Does the recipient have a budget?
• Does the recipient have a business plan?
• Does the recipient have a schedule for finishing education?
• Does recipient have a planned job search?
• Repayment of loan if applicable
• Consideration of reduction in future inheritance
• Possibility of future assistance
• Family actions for the following
o Failure of recipient to follow through on agreement
o Action of supporter if recipient needs more assistance
The agreement must be created and agreed to by both parties. Starting with a sample agreement, both parties can “take a stab” and include the components they think are necessary and that they can uphold. The parties will then share agreements and find consensus on what will be included. If they cannot find consensus, it is recommended to get a third party to help negotiate the sticky issues.
After signing the agreement, it should be revisited periodically to make certain both family members are upholding their side of the agreement. If the agreement is not being followed, it is recommended that outside help from a financial planner or therapist be considered.
For more help with family agreements on financial assistance, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Family-agreements-financial-assistance.pdf

5.3 Family Agreements On Financial Caregiving
When people think about elderly clients and money, a worry high on the list is fraud and abuse. While important to guard against this possibility, the biggest risk to your financial security as you age is actually your own actions. Decreasing ability to make complex financial decisions occurs early in the aging process. The decline may not be noticeable to you, or your family, and untoward events may be the first sign that a problem exists.
Because of this issue, it is important to prepare for potential changes long in advance. Simplifying assets, using account aggregation, and having a clear investment policy statement is a great start toward maintaining your ability to take care of your finances as long as possible. Even with these processes in place, at some point, you will want your future financial caregiver to step in as a safety valve to watch your finances. This will ease the transition when they have to take over your finances for you.
This process will be much easier if discussions are held early, and agreements are made in advance on how your finances will be handled by your future financial caregiver. By creating and using a family agreement for financial caregiving, you will reduce uncertainty, worry, family arguments, and the chance that you will experience financial fraud and abuse.
For more help with family agreements on financial caregiving, you can download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Family-agreements-financial-caregiving.pdf
What should you include in a family agreement regarding financial caregiving? A good agreement spells out the responsibilities and expectations of both sides. These agreements must be individualized to your situation, but should include the following:
5.3.1 Your responsibilities
• What is the structure of your finances and have they been simplified appropriately?
• Are you using an account aggregator, or have you written out explicit instructions of how your bills should be managed?
• What is the investment policy that should be followed for your assets?
• Who completes tax returns and when will you allow your financial caregiver access to your returns?
• When will you provide viewing access to your financial information so your financial caregiver can keep an eye on your finances?
• When will you provide your future financial caregiver with the ability to access your accounts?
• What will trigger turning over the management of your finances to your financial caregiver?
• Who else will be provided with information on your finances?
For more help with family agreements on financial caregiving, you can download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Family-agreements-financial-caregiving.pdf

5.3.2 What are my financial caregiver’s responsibilities?
• How often will they look at your accounts?
• How often will finances be reviewed with you?
• What will be their process for writing bills, preparing tax returns, and following your investments?
• How often will they provide information about your finances to others?
For more help with family Agreements On Financial Caregiving, you can download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Family-agreements-financial-caregiving.pdf
5.4 How do I Choose A Financial Caregiver?
At some point in your life, you may need a financial caregiver to pay your bills, watch over your investments and take care of your tax filings. For many people, the choice is easy – most often adult children or nieces and nephews are willing to help. For some people, there may not be anyone you can easily turn to. What do you do if you are in this situation?
For more help choosing a financial caregiver, download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Choosing-a-financial-caregiver.pdf
5.4.1 Hire a friend and a professional
If you do not have a family you trust to help with your finances, consider hiring a friend you trust. However, to provide additional protection, hire a professional to oversee the person taking care of your finances, such as an accountant or fiduciary financial planner. How would this work?
First simplify your finances and consolidate your financial picture. Set up automatic bill pay for as many payments as possible. Provide your friend and a professional with the login to your aggregator site. The two can work together to make certain you are doing a good job managing your finances.
Once you need assistance with your finances, you can begin with your friend “supervising” your bill paying, watching over your investments, and filing your taxes. Make certain they have a power of attorney to take over for you when needed, and that all your financial institutions accept your power of attorney document.
Once your friend takes over paying the bills, make certain the financial planner or accountant periodically “audit” your friend’s work. You will have to pay for this service, but the peace of mind with having multiple eyes on your financial picture is well worth the cost.
For more help choosing a financial caregiver, download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Choosing-a-financial-caregiver.pdf

5.4.2 What if there is no one who can help me pay my bills?
There are professional bill payers, but unfortunately, this profession is in its infancy and is not regulated. The American Association of Daily Money Managers is a great resource for professional bill payers, and they may also provide many other services.
If you hire a professional bill payer, they should provide a monthly accounting of your expenditures, collect all your financial statements, organize your information for your tax return, and review your investments with your professional advisers.
It is important to have your finances set up to your specifications in advance of hiring help so your instructions can be followed. For example, have an investment policy statement, budget, and plan for your sources of income and have the bill paying professional agree to follow your directives.
For more help choosing a financial caregiver, download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Choosing-a-financial-caregiver.pdf

5.5 Should I Provide Financial Support to Others?
Running out of money is a common fear for retirees. In addition, there is sometimes the added pressure of adult children who are in need of financial support. This can be a touchy situation in families and contribute to fraud and abuse of elderly parents. By discussing these situations in advance, you can decrease worry and mitigate family conflicts over money in the future.
There are a number of considerations when providing financial help to an adult child.
• Is the need temporary?
• Will assistance help the child obtain future independence?
• If the need is permanent or future financial independence of the child is not possible, for example in a child who has a serious disability, who will provide for the adult child when you are no longer alive or in a position to help?
• Are budgets being followed by you and the family member needing assistance?
• Have limits been set on how much assistance will be provided?
• Are other members of the family apprised of the situation?
• Is the money expected to be repaid or will it reduce any future inheritance?
For more help with providing financial support to others, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Providing-financial-support-to-others.pdf
5.5.1 Plan for those who need permanent help
If a family member needs permanent assistance that you are providing, making plans for their future with a financial planner and attorney is paramount to ensuring their security after you are no longer able to help and after you die.
For more help with providing financial support to others, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Providing-financial-support-to-others.pdf

5.5.2 Set rules when providing temporary support
For situations where financial assistance should not be permanent, when providing support, it is important to work with your family members so they can reach financial independence without your help. Budgeting education, career planning, and therapy may be required to help them make it on their own. Loans or gifts to start small business are common – if this is the situation for the support, the family member should develop a business plan before even starting. If you are not adept at teaching these skills, hire assistance – it will be cheaper in the long run.
For more help with providing financial support to others, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Providing-financial-support-to-others.pdf

5.5.3 Create budgets and set limits on help
Know your own budget and how much you can afford to help. If needed, hire a financial planner to help you with your budget and to convey to the family member that assistance to them would be detrimental to your financial future.
The hardest time for a parent is when limits on assistance are reached. If you say no to their requests for help, the family member may become angry, threatening, or passive aggressive. This is a time physical or emotional abuse may occur. In this situation, enlist the help of other family members, a financial planner, or an attorney.
It is important to stay strong, as continued “caving” will only enable your family member and their demands in the future may intensify. This is difficult with someone you love. By enabling their dependence on you, you risk their failure in the future when you are no longer around to help.
For more help with providing financial support to others, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Providing-financial-support-to-others.pdf

5.5.4 Use engagement standards to set the rules
When family members request assistance, another good tool is an “engagement standard” spelling out the assistance you will provide, the purpose of the assistance, whether or not the money will be repaid, and what the family member will do to mitigate the chance they will need help in the future. If the money is not repaid, will this reduce any future inheritance? Although difficult, family discussions around these issues while everyone is alive and well can improve family dynamics and reduce discord in the future.
By thoughtfully approaching how you provide financial assistance to others, you can improve your future financial peace and keep your family dynamics healthy in the process.
For more help with providing financial support to others, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Providing-financial-support-to-others.pdf

6 Health and healthcare
6.1 Accepting Health Risks
Your health depends on many factors – genetics, lifestyle, exposure to unknown toxic substances, and luck. You can live the healthiest lifestyle and still get cancer. A few lucky people can break every lifestyle rule for good health and still live to a ripe old age. Unfortunately, you do not know for sure which hand you are dealt. Currently, most people live in a state of denial with their health risks, and this prevents preparation for the likelihood of potentially bad outcomes. Wouldn’t it be better if we accepted our health risks and planned for those outcomes in advance?
Doctors clash frequently with patients over “compliance” – following recommendations for good health or to restore health. Examples are limitless – the patient with diabetes who refuses to give up sweets, the patient with an early family history of heart attacks who will not give up smoking, or the patient with hypertension who will not cut out the salt.
We all do things we know we should not do and there is always a reason. Lack of willpower in the moment, depression, peer pressure, costs in time or money, or maybe we just do not care. Sometimes we get back on the program and sometimes we totally give up. We are human.
For more advice on accepting health risks, you can download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Accepting-health-risks.pdf
If you have a health risk or unhealthy lifestyle and know that you will not or cannot do anything to change it, take a different road.
• Let your family and health care providers know what you will or will not do to take care of your health.
• Make certain you understand the potential outcomes of your actions. For example, if you have diabetes and cannot control your diet, learn about the severe outcomes such as renal failure, heart disease, amputations, and blindness along with the minor problems such as frequent urination, thirst, and skin infections that occur. Ask your doctor specifically, “What are the major and minor problems I will develop and what will my life be like as my disease progresses?”
• Work with your doctor to determine your attitude towards health care. Do you want to receive as much as they can offer to mitigate your lifestyle choices? Or would you prefer to avoid the health care system as much as possible?
• Get the appropriate insurance in place immediately before you become uninsurable – life, disability, and long-term care insurance.
• Finalize your advance directives by completing a living will, naming a health care surrogate, and documenting the quality of life that is appropriate for you. Share this information with all family members and health care professionals who could potentially have a say in your care.
• Take care of the rest of your affairs. Complete a will, durable power of attorney, and create a list of who you want to get specific personal items. Plan your memorial service and funeral.
It is important to reassess your attitudes periodically. Maybe previous stress in your life has gone away that now makes it possible to prepare healthier meals. Or you have a new job that allows you to take a 30-minute walking break at lunch. Every little bit of action you take toward your health can improve the outcome or at least make you feel better. Life is not static, and our attitudes are not static either.
By preparing for who you are instead of who you want to be, you can decrease frustration with yourself, your family, and your health care providers. Everyone will be more realistically prepared for the potential outcomes which will save time, heartache, and money. This will help you, your family, and your health care providers have a more harmonious relationship for the rest of your life.
For more advice on accepting health risks, you can download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Accepting-health-risks.pdf

6.2 How Do I Become An Empowered Patient?
Our complex healthcare system can be very difficult to navigate. Historically, most doctors behaved paternalistically – tell the patient what to do and they should do it. We all know it doesn’t work like this as much anymore. Through the years, the healthcare system has become more informational – provide the patient with all their choices and let them make decisions about their health. However, patients are not always well-equipped to make these decisions in light of their goals, so they are often railroaded into inappropriate care.
The movement toward patient empowerment is changing the landscape. Instead of a paternalistic or solely informational approach, the health care system is being forced toward a more collaborative way of working with patients. The health care provider should take the time to understand the patient’s goals, needs, and resources, and help them decide what care is appropriate for their situation.
The key to patient empowerment is education. A patient must know their rights and responsibility to get the care they need. What does this entail?
• Be prepared for your appointments. It is good to write out how you are doing, current symptoms, current medication regimen, and even your diet if your medical problem is diet related.
• If you have complicated issues, ask for a longer appointment in advance.
• Write down the questions you want answered during your visit.
• Make certain the doctor provides answers in laymen’s terms, not in medical jargon.
• Before a visit is over, make sure you know what is going to happen next and why.
• If testing is ordered, ask what the doctor wants to learn from the test and how the results may change the approach to treatment. If the doctor cannot provide a clear answer, ask if the test is really necessary.
• If medication is ordered, understand the benefits and risks, how long you will be on the medication, and what are the alternatives to the medication being prescribed.
• Ask what you can do to improve the situation. Doctors will not often provide the education needed to improve diet related illnesses or home therapy to improve musculoskeletal problems. If they are not able to provide this education, ask for a referral to the appropriate nutritionist or physical therapist.
• If you are too ill to participate in your health care to this extent, involve your health care surrogate to act for you in this capacity.
If a health care provider seems annoyed or hurried, ask if they have someone else who can provide your answers, or if another appointment can be made to give the doctor time to provide your answers. If the doctor is not accommodating to your request, then begin seeking another doctor. But do not “let it go” – make certain the doctor and their health care organization understands why you are dissatisfied. When patients “stand up” for their right to collaborative care, health care organizations will have to respond.
Being an empowered patient can also help you better manage the cost of your care. Unnecessary testing and treatment is out of control. By being an empowered patient, you can help stop the waste and get better care as a result.
For more help on how to become an empowered patient, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Becoming-an-empowered-patient.pdf

6.3 How Do I Control My Health Care Costs?
Healthcare costs continue to spiral out of control. New technology, advanced testing, and “designer” drugs along with a “fee for service” system encourages doctors to do more which piles on the health care costs. What can you do to get the care you need and keep costs under control? There are several steps you can take.
• Live a healthy lifestyle – it should not have to be said, but the most important factor to stay healthy is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, do not smoke, and drink alcohol in moderation. Even if you already have health problems, lifestyle changes make it easier to keep your health problems in good control.
• Get appropriate preventive care – the medical system is geared to doing too much, and preventive care is not immune to this. There are competing recommendations on what is valuable in helping prevent illness or detect it early. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force publishes unbiased recommendations based on what has been proven to be appropriate preventive care. Consider these guidelines along with your personal circumstances when choosing preventive testing.
• Become an empowered patient – work with your doctor to understand the testing and treatment being offered and why it is being done. Ask the following questions:
o How will the test being done help the doctor with diagnosis or treatment? Many tests are ordered because of “protocol” or “just because it would be good to know” and these are not good reasons to order costly testing. In addition, tests frequently have false positives or false negatives, and you can spend even more time and worry chasing down tests that should have never been ordered in the first place.
o What are all the options for treatment? Often doctors just recommend the treatment they think is best for you. Make certain you understand what is involved with the treatment and ask if there are any other treatments available that you should consider.
o Are there less costly drugs that can be used? Doctors often provide medications that are convenient and do not always consider the costs.
o If you are on chronic medications, revisit your medication list with your doctor periodically to see if medications are still needed or if better or less expensive options are available.
• Shop around for medications – charges for medication vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. The price difference is occasionally dramatic.
• Stay in your insurance provider’s network – out of network doctors or hospitals can add greatly to the cost.
• Follow your doctor’s advice – once you have agreed to a plan of care, be sure to follow through. And if for some reason you cannot follow the recommendations, be sure to let your doctor know that you are not following through and the reason you are unable to do so. They can help you make adjustments so you can follow through on what is needed to take care of your health.
It is sometimes difficult to be an empowered health care consumer when you are ill. If this is the case for you, enlist a family member or friend to help you better navigate your health care and follow through on these tips for your health care.
For more help controlling healthcare costs, you can download this guide https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Controlling-your-health-care-costs.pdf

6.4 What are Healthcare Advance Directives?
There will come a point for most people when someone else has to make their healthcare decisions. End of life is not the only time people may need this help – cognitive issues or non-terminal serious illness can also seriously impede decision making. Having a legally appointed health care surrogate and health directives are invaluable for these situations.
There are two ways to create advance directive documents – have an attorney create one for you or use a legally valid form available from your doctor or on the internet.
For help with creating your own advance healthcare directives, download this guide https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Creating-advance-care-directives.pdf
6.4.1 Forms created by attorneys
Most attorneys create health directives (also known as a living will) and a health care surrogate form as part of an estate planning package.
The forms created by attorneys are often very basic. The health care surrogate form lists your health care decision-makers.
The living will is valid only if a person has a terminal illness, persistent vegetative state (absence of brain function) or an end stage process such as untreatable heart, liver, or kidney failure. It documents whether or not you would want life prolonging treatments in the event of one of these conditions. For example, if you could never communicate with anyone through any means ever again, would you want to continue aggressive care focused on keeping you alive? Your surrogate can use these quality of life wishes as a guide in making health care decisions for you in the event that you cannot speak for yourself during a health event.
If your attorney prepares only basic forms, it is important for you to provide additional instructions to your health care surrogate about the choices you would make in the event you do not have a life ending illness that activates your living will.
For help with creating your own advance healthcare directives, download this guide https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Creating-advance-care-directives.pdf

6.4.2 Other health care directive options
If you do not have an attorney to provide advance directive documents, there are valid legal forms available free online. Consult the following sources:
• “Prepare for your care” provides robust forms legal in all fifty states which allow you to name your health care surrogate, create a living will, and document facts your health care surrogate will need to know to make effective health care decisions for you.
• “The Conversation Project” does not provide advance directive forms but does provide a guide for how to discuss your wishes with your family.
Everyone should have health directives. Using these free sources is a great step toward proactively preparing yourself and your family for future health care events.
For help with creating your own advance healthcare directives, download this guide https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Creating-advance-care-directives.pdf

6.5 Dealing With Your Healthcare Status
Denial is a primitive defense mechanism of humans that starts in early childhood. There are short-term incentives to refusing to face reality or facts – it allows us to postpone decision-making in the face of adversity. But at some point, reality slaps us down. By continually operating in a space of denial, we are often ill-prepared when reality can no longer be ignored.
Health status and lifestyle are big drivers in financial plans. If you live a healthy lifestyle and have great genetics for longevity, you are at higher risk for cognitive decline in your later years and should plan accordingly for the cost and logistics of your care. Likewise, if you are an overweight diabetic and are unable to limit your sugar intake to keep your diabetes and weight in control, you need to plan for the secondary problems diabetes may cause – increased risk of early death and disability from heart disease, renal failure, amputations, and blindness. Getting your plan in place and understanding your potential health costs in earlier years is important to reduce financial and physical suffering later on.
Too often we look down on people who accept the limitations they have in managing their health problems. It can be construed as a lack of willpower if people do not follow through with lifestyle changes, or “giving up the fight” if they enter hospice, or “noncompliance” if they refuse a treatment. Sometimes the burden of lifestyle changes or major treatment is too much, and instead of talking about it so adjustments can be made, the patient just “soldiers on” without making changes. Family and medical professionals can then become frustrated, the treatment of the inevitable outcomes becomes reactive, and everyone suffers physically and financially.
Instead of resorting to denial to deal with unpleasant health events, we should try to embrace the truth and make the best of it. If you have a significant health problem that you are not dealing with effectively, do the following:
• Make sure you understand what you can and cannot control about your health.
• Share with your doctor what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do to participate in your health care.
• Make sure you understand the potential outcomes of your actions.
• Share with your family your decisions and the future ramifications, preferably in writing.
• Prepare financially for the outcomes by updating your estate planning documents, creating a financial plan, documenting your plan, and completing your advance directives.
• Revisit the plan periodically and adjust it as needed.
In our experience, people are most willing to talk about aging and dying when they are young or if they are dealing with an aging or dying family member. The most reluctant tend to be males over the age of 70 – they do not want to face the loss of control and staying in denial is a powerful tool. Do not wait until problems occur. Begin these conversations early, own your health status, and plan accordingly.
For more advice on dealing with your healthcare status, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Dealing-with-your-healthcare-status.pdf
6.6 Avoiding The Need For Guardianship
The reason to create long-term longevity plans is so you can age safely in the best possible situation. This can also save you and your family a tremendous amount of money and heartache. Avoiding the need for guardianship is one by-product of good planning.
For more information about guardianships, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Avoiding-the-need-for-guardianship.pdf
6.6.1 What is guardianship?
• Guardianship occurs when the court appoints someone to be responsible for your care.
• There are different levels of guardianship, but basically, if it is proven you cannot handle your affairs, you legally become a child again and someone handles your affairs for you.
• Guardianship proceedings start once a family member or other concerned person petitions the court about your ability to care for yourself.
• Guardianship is costly – it involves courts, judges, and lawyers. Your affairs may be monitored by the courts, which can add to the costs.
• You may not get the guardian you want watching over you – the judge decides who your guardian will be.
• Frequently families fight over guardianship which exacerbates the problem and adds to the costs.
For more information about guardianships, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Avoiding-the-need-for-guardianship.pdf

6.6.2 How do you avoid guardianship?
• Keep a power of attorney document up to date naming the person who will manage your affairs when you are no longer capable.
• Make certain your family members understand that you have pre-arranged who will take care of your affairs so there is no ambiguity once the time comes.
• The need for guardianship occurs most often because a person refuses to admit they can no longer care for themselves. Decide in advance when you will begin to transfer responsibility for taking care of your home and finances.
• Have conversations early and often with your future caretakers so everyone knows that you are doing okay, and all parties recognize when you need help.
For more information about guardianships, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Avoiding-the-need-for-guardianship.pdf

6.7 How Should I Prepare For Health Events?
Health events are inevitable. They are highly predictable in that we know they are going to happen, but generally unpredictable in their timing and severity.
Preparing for a family health event is not easy. There are many legal, medical, and financial checkboxes that need to be checked, documents to be drafted, and minefields to avoid.
The successful management of a health event, like a diagnosis of cancer or a heart attack, requires a comprehensive set of responses that frequently involve not only health-related activities, but also financial and legal actions and conversations.
A comprehensive health event planning effort would include the following components:
A Financial Plan – A financial plan that provides protection for health events should include not only a summary of the current investment portfolio balances and performance, but also an analysis of current and expected income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Importantly, the plan should contain estimates of health care costs, including insurance and out of pocket (OOO) expenses, long-term care costs, and life expectancy.
Healthcare Documents and Records – Having documentation that identifies a person’s preferences for medical treatment as well as trusted individuals who can help with healthcare decision-making is critical to the successful management of a health event. This includes drafting a healthcare proxy that identifies the person(s) who can make decisions on behalf of the individual needing medical care should they be unable to make decisions on their own. The plan should also include a living will that specifies the medical treatments and life-sustaining measures a person wants to receive in the event they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. The healthcare plan should also include a list of current medications and the names of the primary care physician and any other medical specialists.
Good Insurance – All families should be protected by quality health insurance that covers a broad range of medical procedures, tests, medications, and physician visits. Many families will also benefit from having life insurance. Given the high costs of long-term care, families may also want to include long-term care insurance, annuities, and/or other forms of guaranteed income as part of their overall health event protection strategy.
Decision-Making Protection – Some health events will result in an individual being temporarily, and sometimes permanently, mentally incapacitated. It is very important therefore that every person maintains an updated power of attorney (POA) that specifies the trusted individuals who can make financial decisions on their behalf.
A Plan For Living – Most people want to remain in their home until they die, but for many adults, especially those with significant physical or cognitive limitations, staying at home can be both physically unsafe and financially impractical. Having a plan that details a person’s preferences for where and how to live later in life is important.
Health events can have wide-ranging implications for the financial and retirement security of all families, often in ways that are hard to predict. A single health event can necessitate large and recurring outlays not only for healthcare services and products, but for everything from home renovations to attorney’s fees to caregiving services and new cars. Given their broad impacts, it is not surprising that so many adults in the US view health events and related costs as the number one retirement threat.
For more help preparing for health events, download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/How-to-prepare-for-health-events.pdf
6.8 How Do I Make Sure My Health Event Responses Stay “Sticky”?
Since most families are likely to experience more than one health event, family members should strive to ensure that the responses to any given health event “stick” and can be applied, where relevant, to future events.
The successful conversion of health event responses into concrete plans is an essential component of the health event management process, but it requires some degree of vigilance and maintenance. Here are some recommendations to help ensure that health event responses are effectively converted into plan updates:
6.8.1 Keep documents and related plan information up to date
Some of the information in plan documents, like the prescriptions in the current medication list or the names of beneficiaries in a will or insurance policy, may need to change because of a health event. It is important to make sure that the relevant documents are updated. In general, it is a good idea to periodically check all legal, medical, insurance, and other documents to make sure that the information contained in them is up to date and reflects the family’s current preferences.
For more help making sure your health events stay sticky, you can download this document https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/How-to-make-sure-responses-are-sticky.pdf

6.8.2 Store plan information in locations where family members and other trusted individuals can access them
– Disorganized finances, including multiple investment accounts and products that are managed by only one family member (or not at all), can present a major risk to financial security. Families should strive to ensure that knowledge about financial accounts and access credentials is shared and not controlled by a single family member. Moreover, health events can often require changes to plan documents, and it is important to track revisions to documents and make sure it is clear which is the most up to date.
6.8.3 Strive to delegate financial decision-making authority
– Health events can trigger cognitive changes that may jeopardize the effective conversion of responses into plans. At some point in our lives, none of us should be making important financial decisions on our own. A high-level goal for health event planning is to gradually transfer financial decision-making authority away from the primary decision-maker to a team of trusted individuals who can provide a check on decisions and protect assets from unsound or impulsive decision-making.
6.8.4 Seek help from relevant professionals
– Planning for health events is complicated, and most families at some point will need help from specialists with more experience and greater expertise. Financial, legal, and healthcare professionals should all be included as part of the team that manages the responses to health events as well as their conversion into plan updates.
6.8.5 Communicate frequently
– Because health status, personal preferences, and decision-making behaviors change over time, sometimes quickly, frequent communication is important. Family members and professionals alike should be in touch frequently with at risk individuals to make sure that there is agreement on the plans and actions that will be taken in the future.
For many families, the psychological benefits of effective health event planning and management can be as significant as the financial security these activities afford. Knowing that there are plans in place can provide peace of mind and foster a confidence level that cannot be measured in dollars alone.

6.9 How To Pick A Healthcare Surrogate?
We have all heard the stories – accidents, sudden illness, or slow cognitive decline taking away a person’s capacity to make sound healthcare decisions. Unfortunately, few people have taken the time to appoint someone as healthcare surrogate to act on their behalf in these situations. And only a handful of people have discussed their wishes with their surrogate. Picking your healthcare surrogate requires some thought.
What does a “healthcare surrogate” do? Basically, they make your healthcare decisions if you are incapacitated, and you cannot make decisions for yourself. Note – you have to be both incapacitated and unable to make decisions. For those who have a hard time making decisions, you cannot punt your healthcare decisions to someone else just because multiple choices paralyze you.
Many people think a healthcare surrogate acts only at the end of life, but there are many situations that do not end life where your wishes may need to be shared by someone else. If an accident takes away your ability to communicate, your healthcare surrogate will need to step up to speak for you and be willing and able to make decisions for you at a moment’s notice.
The healthcare surrogate must be a level-headed individual. If you sustain a severe head and neck injury, and the doctor tells your spouse that despite your best efforts, you will never be able to feed yourself or engage in a conversation ever again, what will your spouse do? A spouse does not always make the best healthcare surrogate. Choose someone who can follow your wishes and make good decisions in light of heart wrenching emotions. For this reason, the role of healthcare surrogate may be best delegated to a healthcare professional within the family.
The healthcare surrogate cannot be shy about asking your healthcare team questions about your status and they must be intelligent enough to understand the implications of the answers. They must also be willing to stand up to the healthcare system. To fulfill this responsibility, your surrogate must understand your goals.
The healthcare surrogate should live in close proximity, if possible, and be able to take the time to address your urgent situation. Ideally, the likelihood of needing your healthcare surrogate is small. However, someone who lives across the country may not be in the position to uproot their life to address your healthcare needs.
In addition to your primary healthcare surrogate, it is good to have one or two backups. Ask their permission in advance and share a written copy of your quality-of-life directives to each of them.
Share your decision on who is serving as surrogate with other family members and let them know you have written clear wishes that you expect to be followed. The biggest impediment to a successful outcome is to have other family members not on board with your desires. Multiple family members questioning decisions causes much angst for your healthcare surrogate, and they have a difficult job without the added burden.
Hopefully, you will never need a healthcare surrogate, but if you do, make sure you have chosen the right person for the job.
For more information on how to pick a healthcare surrogate, download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/How-to-pick-a-healthcare-surrogate.pdf

6.10 What Is Palliative Care And Hospice?
Our medical system is very adept at treating serious illness such as cancer or progressive heart or lung disease. Sometimes a health provider’s focus on treating disease takes away from actually caring for the patient’s symptoms. Illness causes discomfort, and sometimes the treatment of illness adds to that discomfort. What can be done about this?
Fortunately, the specialty of palliative care focuses on keeping a patient well while their disease is being treated. Palliative care doctors treat all the “discomforts” of diseases and treatments such as pain, nausea, and decreased appetite. This focus on improving your quality of life throughout your illness results in more enjoyable time with family, better strength to deal with treatment, and improved focus to take care of important logistics of regular life.
What is the difference between palliative care and hospice? Both provide essentially the same type of care by the same doctors, but there are important distinctions:
• Palliative care can be started and stopped at any time for any serious illness and does not require you to stop potentially curative treatment of your disease.
• Hospice is started once it is determined you are terminally ill and have less than a six-month life expectancy. Most hospice care requires that you stop any potentially curative treatments and that you accept you are terminally ill and will die of your disease.
Patients who receive early palliative care have improved quality of life throughout their illness and potentially improved life expectancy, probably as a result of reduced pain and better tolerance of treatment. Additionally, if curative care is no longer working, they receive the benefit of hospice services much earlier in the disease progression. This often results in the decrease of unnecessary and expensive treatment late in the disease process which lowers the cost of care for your family and the health care system in general.
Since the use of palliative care for serious illness is a relatively recent concept, some physicians treating serious illness do not consider involving a palliative care doctor. If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, and especially if you are suffering discomfort from the illness or treatment, ask your doctor to involve a palliative care specialist early.
For more information on palliative care and hospice, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Palliative-care-and-hospice.pdf
7 Insurance and annuities
7.1 What Is An Annuity?
Most of us are living longer than our parents and grandparents, and that is generally a really good thing. However, longer lifespans also increase the risks of a person outliving their savings.
Many older adults are interested in having some form of guaranteed income later in life so that they will be able to cover expenses for food, housing, transportation, and other ongoing expenses.
One form protected income is called an annuity. An annuity is a financial product that provides a stream of payments to an individual over a specified period of time. An annuity is a contract between an individual (or couple) and a life insurance company. Depending on the type of annuity, you purchase an annuity with a portion of your retirement savings in either a single payment or with multiple payments over time.
Annuities are often used as a retirement income stream to provide a predictable source of income during retirement. They can also be used for other purposes, such as funding a child’s education or providing for a spouse or dependent in the event of the purchaser’s death.
There are different types of annuities, with various features, benefits, and costs, but most fall into three main categories:
Fixed – an annuity that offers a fixed rate of interest for growth and guaranteed monthly payments and helps to protect your principal from market downturns.
Fixed index – this type is similar to a fixed annuity but offers a minimum crediting rate with potential for additional interest based on market indexes and guaranteed monthly payments.
Variable – an annuity that invests the premium payments in a portfolio of investments, such as stocks and bonds, and the payments vary based on the performance of those investments. Variable annuities have the potential for market loss, as well as the option of receiving guaranteed monthly income payments.
There are also two main types of payout options: immediate and deferred. Immediate annuities begin making payments immediately after purchase, while deferred annuities make payments at a future date.
It is important to carefully consider the costs and benefits of annuities before purchasing one, as they can be complex financial products with high fees and may not be suitable for everyone’s financial situation. You should also consult with an insurance agent or financial advisor before making any decisions. If you have more questions, the Alliance for Lifetime Income is a great resource.
For more information about annuities and whether they are right for you, download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Annuities-and-protected-income.pdf

7.2 Health Insurance
Healthcare costs have been rising faster than the inflation rate for most other goods and services for decades, and they will likely continue to increase rapidly in the years ahead. High healthcare costs are a major threat to the financial security of many adults and families in the US. In fact, the inability to pay a medical or dental bill is the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the US.
Without health insurance, you may be responsible for paying the entire cost of medical treatment out of pocket. This can be particularly expensive for major procedures or hospital stays. Health insurance provides financial protection against these high costs.
So, it is very important to make sure that you have high quality health insurance that protects not only your health but your financial well-being.
Other reasons to have good health insurance:
• Access to medical care: Health insurance can provide access to medical care that might otherwise be too expensive for you. This can include preventive care, such as check-ups and medical screenings (e.g., for breast cancer or heart disease), as well as necessary medical treatment for illnesses and injuries.
• Compliance with the law: Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, most Americans are required to have health insurance or face a penalty. Having health insurance can help you avoid this penalty.
• Peace of mind: Knowing that you have health insurance can provide peace of mind, as you will be better prepared to handle unexpected medical expenses or emergencies.
Overall, health insurance is an important investment in your health and well-being, and can provide financial protection, access to medical care, compliance with the law, and peace of mind.
For more information about buying health insurance, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Health-insurance.pdf

7.3 Should I Buy Life Insurance?
Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay premiums (sums of money on a regular basis) to the insurance company, and in exchange, the insurance company agrees to pay a lump sum of money to your beneficiaries when you pass away.
Although buying life insurance is a personal decision, there are some common reasons why people purchase insurance. According to 2021 data from the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA), an industry research organization, the top three reasons why Americans buy life insurance are:
• Ensuring funds for burial and funeral expenses
• Replacing income lost after a wage earner’s death
• Providing an inheritance or legacy
Whether or not you buy life insurance depends on your personal circumstances, including your financial situation, whether you have people who depend on you financially, and your financial and life goals. Specifically, here are some things for you to consider:
Do you have people who depend on you financially? If you have children, a spouse, or others who rely on your income, life insurance can provide financial security for them in case you die unexpectedly.
What is your personal financial situation? If you have significant assets and your dependents are financially independent, you may not need life insurance. On the other hand, if you are in debt or have other major financial obligations, life insurance can provide a safety net for those who depend on you.
What are your life and financial goals? If you want to leave a legacy for your beneficiaries, purchasing a life insurance policy can be an effective way to do so.
An important thing to keep in mind when considering purchasing life insurance is that the older you get, the more expensive life insurance becomes. So, it’s usually better to purchase insurance when you are younger, especially if you can lock in a low monthly payment. If you wait to buy life insurance as an older adult, it will be more expensive, and it will likely be more difficult to get a policy approved by an insurance company.
Ultimately, the decision to buy life insurance is a personal one that depends on your unique circumstances. It may be helpful to speak with a financial advisor or insurance agent to determine whether life insurance is right for you.
For more information about buying life insurance, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Life-insurance.pdf

7.4 Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care refers to a range of services and support provided to individuals who need assistance with the activities of daily living (ADL) over an extended period. These activities are typically essential for a person to maintain their independence and quality of life. The six primary ADLs include:
• Bathing: This involves washing oneself and getting in and out of the shower or tub.
• Dressing: This includes putting on and taking off clothing, as well as selecting appropriate clothing for the weather and occasion.
• Eating: This involves feeding oneself, including preparing meals and using utensils.
• Transferring: This involves moving oneself from one position or location to another, such as getting out of bed or a chair.
• Toileting: This includes using the bathroom and managing personal hygiene.
• Continence: This involves maintaining control of bowel and bladder function.
Long-term care is typically needed by individuals who have chronic health conditions, disabilities, or limitations due to aging. Most adults will require at least three years of long-term care, and many will need even more.
Long-term care can be provided in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, and in-home. The types of services provided in long-term care can vary depending on a person’s needs but usually include assistances with ADLs), as well as medical care, therapy, and social activities.
Long-term care can be very expensive, and it is typically not covered by health insurance plans or Medicare. This is why long-term care insurance policies exist, as they can help cover the cost of long-term care services when they are needed.
Planning for long-term care can help individuals and families prepare financially and emotionally for the possibility of needing long-term care services in the future.
Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers the cost of long-term care services, such as nursing home care, home health care, and assisted living facilities. Long-term care insurance is designed to help individuals pay for the high costs associated with long-term care services, especially if they are needed for more than just a few months. The policyholder pays premiums in exchange for the insurance company’s promise to cover the cost of long-term care services when needed.
Long-term care insurance policies may have different benefit levels, coverage periods, and eligibility criteria, and may vary in terms of the specific long-term care services covered. Some policies may also include options for inflation protection or other additional benefits.
For more information about buying long-term care insurance, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Longterm-care-insurance.pdf
8 Living transitions
8.1 How Do I Arrange For Help At Home?
If you plan to age at home, at some point you will likely need people to help care for you. For many older adults, family members will provide the needed care. If the task of caring is too much for family members alone, you will need outside help.
8.1.1 Relying on family members
Too often, care of an older adult defaults to the closest family member. To prevent family fights or resentment, it is good to work out in advance who will be responsible for providing care, what their responsibilities will be, and what financial consideration will be provided for their time.
It is a good idea to create a written agreement outlining the help your family will provide. It is best to pay a family member for help during your life, but if this is not possible, try to repay them for their time and effort by providing extra resources after you die. This can be done through your estate planning documents or by making them a beneficiary of life insurance or your retirement plans.
For more information about arranging for help at home, you can download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Arranging-help-for-care-at-home.pdf

8.1.2 How do i hire outside help for home maintenance?
You can hire help directly or through an agency. There are pros and cons with either approach. An agency takes care of the logistics and makes certain the rules are followed for home care employees. This service makes using an agency more expensive but may prevent hassle for the person responsible for arranging your care. One drawback is you may get a variety of providers when one consistent person may be a better fit.
AARP provides a great resource on how to hire a home care worker directly and a guideline to finding a home care agency. You can also visit the Eldercare Locator from the Department of Health and Human Services to find resources in your area.
For more information about arranging for help at home, you can download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Arranging-help-for-care-at-home.pdf

8.2 Family Agreements On Home Maintenance
Home maintenance is a chore for some and a joy for others as it is a great way to stay active and healthy. But even with good health, aging may impede your ability to care for your home in an appropriate fashion. Common problems such as osteoporosis (thin bones) or balance issues may not make you feel unhealthy but can seriously increase the risk of injury from falls. The realization that you can no longer care for your home adequately may be gradual or may come suddenly after you have had a serious accident.
To age in your home successfully, it is smart to plan for upkeep well in advance of the need and create agreements on how and to whom these jobs will be transitioned to in the future. The agreements should outline the following:
• The activity to be completed
• How often it will be done
• Who will do it – either a family member, friend, or hired help
• How much they will get paid
The most common activities that need to be transitioned first involve climbing and the use of potentially dangerous equipment, such as power tools for the yard. Eventually, heavy duty house cleaning and yard upkeep will need to be relinquished, and finally, routine activities may need to be done by others.
Discussing payment is a tough subject for many family members. Some may offer to help out of love and kindness, but you must be careful not to inadvertently take advantage of them. By spelling out in advance the expectations on both sides, this situation can be mitigated.
There are a number of important considerations when creating a family agreement.
• Involve your entire family when creating the agreement. Transparency and input from all parties will decrease arguments down the road.
• Make certain you have the resources available to implement the agreement. If you are concerned you do not have the resources, consult a financial planner to help you set a budget for these items.
• If it is clear you do not have the resources, you will need to discuss this with your family so they can be prepared and hopefully help you.
• If you own your home, you can prepare for additional cash flow by potentially using a reverse mortgage or leaving a bigger percentage of your home to heirs who have helped you financially or with performing these house duties. You will need to consult an attorney to reflect this in your estate planning documents. Make certain all family members understand you are doing this to reduce the chance of family fights after you die.
With good preparation and communication, it is more likely you can age at home safely and keep your family happy in the process.
For more information about arranging for help at home, you can download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Arranging-help-for-care-at-home.pdf

8.3 Family Agreements On Moving Transitions
Most people want to age in place in their home. This is the best situation as long as the home is aging friendly and your health permits you to stay in your home safely. Problems occur once you are no longer safe in your home and fail to admit or recognize there is an issue.
To avoid this disaster, create a “family agreement” stating when you will move to accommodations appropriate for your situation. While you are well, share this agreement with everyone in your family, your medical providers, and anyone who could potentially have input on your living situation.
A common saying in sports is “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Review your agreement yearly, as this will help you “practice” following through when the triggers are hit to make a move.
A family agreement can be short and to the point. It should come from the heart and be in your own words. The following are components of a family agreement in regards to moving transitions.
• List of health situations that will warrant a move
o Mobility issues such as need for use of a wheelchair
o Serious chronic health conditions that require regular monitoring such as severe heart or lung disease
o Moderate to significant dementia
• Other factors that may warrant a move
o Inability to hire people to clean or perform home maintenance
o Lack of transportation to needed services
o Loss of social support that results in isolation
• Arrangements on new living situation
o Moving in with other family members
o Family member moving in with you
o Moving to assisted living or a continuing care retirement community
Once you create the agreement, sign, and date it, and share it with all your family members. Encourage their feedback and buy-in on the plan.
For more help on family agreements on moving transitions, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Family-agreements-on-moving-transitions.pdf

8.4 How Do I Find A Continuing Care Retirement Community?
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) provide what is called “stepped care”, which includes independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care all on the same campus.
The key to a CCRC is you often must move in while you are healthy, as some will not accept individuals who already need significant assistance. Therefore, if you are considering a move to a CCRC, you should apply early. Some communities also have a waiting list for entrance.
The cost of a CCRC can be significant. There is an upfront deposit and ongoing monthly fees such as rent. There are additional charges for services not covered in the contract. The contracts can be very detailed and should be reviewed by a financial planner or elder law attorney.
When researching CCRCs in your area, use this checklist provided by the AARP. It is often a good idea to conduct more than one visit, varying the day of the week and time of day.
Once you have decided to move to a CCRC, move as soon as it is feasible. By waiting, you risk having a health event that may cause the CCRC to deny your application. CCRCs are a great choice for couples who risk being separated by health status, those who tend to have more social lifestyles, and for those who want the peace of mind in belonging to a community specifically designed for aging.
For more information about how finding a continuing care retirement community, download this file https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Finding-a-continuing-care-facility.pdf

8.5 How Do I Hire Help For Home Maintenance?
A home requires ongoing maintenance. For many it is a chore but for some people it is a great way to get physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for successful aging.
At some point, various activities required for home upkeep may be dangerous for an elderly person, even if they are in top physical shape. Balance issues and thinning bones affect the majority of elderly people which makes activities such as climbing ladders, cleaning out gutters, and using power tools especially dangerous. A fall in the home or significant injury is often the cause of an unplanned move to a nursing home. The best prevention is to plan ahead and hire help for your home before you lose the ability to do the maintenance yourself.
For more information about hiring help for home maintenance, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Hiring-help-for-home-maintenance.pdf
8.5.1 There are numerous reasons people refuse to hire help
• Help can be costly
• It is hard to find good people
• Hired help will not love your home the same way you do
• Hired help sometimes takes advantage of elderly clients
8.5.2 Finding and keeping the right help takes patience and a good process
• Make a detailed list of the upkeep required – by providing a list, the person you hire has clear expectations of what is required. This helps them price their services appropriately and holds them accountable to the work that is to be completed.
• If you are particular about how work is to be done, be certain to share detailed instructions.
• Find people to hire by asking neighbors first as you are more likely to get a willing helper if they already conduct business in your neighborhood. Also ask friends and family. If this does not result in good candidates, use services such as Angie’s List or Yelp to people and their reviews.
• Check if any complaints have been filed at the Better Business Bureau.
• Consider doing a background check, especially if the person will be doing work inside the home or if you are at risk of fraud. The trusting elderly are an easy target for fraudsters. There are multiple services available on the internet.
• Provide the potential employee with your detailed list and particular work requirements and ask for a written quote based on the list.
• After they begin working for you, periodically review the list with them to make certain work is being completed as asked.
• To keep good people around, share frequent appreciation when they are doing a great job. If appropriate, provide occasional bonuses or raises without any prompting. No one likes working for a curmudgeon.
It is best to hire registered/licensed companies to do the work, as they should have the appropriate liability insurance and you will not have to worry about paying employment taxes. If you hire an individual, make certain your homeowner’s coverage will provide protection in the event of an injury and talk with your tax professional to determine what responsibility you have for paying employment taxes or workman’s compensation insurance.
Finally, if you need assistance hiring the appropriate people, consider enlisting the help of family members, social workers, or geriatric case managers. Getting the right people in place is important to keep you living independently in a safe manner.
For more information about hiring help for home maintenance, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Hiring-help-for-home-maintenance.pdf

8.6 How Do I Make A Home Aging Friendly?
Most people would prefer to grow old in their home for as long as possible. There are several factors that keep this from happening – loss of transportation once they can no longer drive, loss of friends resulting in loneliness and lack of interaction, and personal safety concerns that make it difficult to live without additional help. One factor that can often easily be fixed is making certain your home can be modified to accommodate you as you age. What does that entail?
When we are young and healthy, we do not think about the challenges of aging. Arthritis may make it difficult to turn on a water faucet or turn a door knob. Simple steps may be hard to navigate. Rugs increase the chance for tripping. Cabinets and counters may be difficult to reach.
By thoughtful planning, many of these items can be easily fixed. If you are in your early 50’s or older and are in what you consider your “forever” home, begin planning now. AARP provides the AARP’s Home Fit Guide that you can use to evaluate your home. As you make upgrades to your home over the years, the changes can incorporate aging friendly adjustments.
One situation the AARP guide does not sufficiently cover is preparing a home for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Since these diseases cause problems with thought processes that may make a person a danger to themselves, it is important for the family to plan well in advance on when the house is no longer safe, even with the appropriate care.
Home preparation for someone with dementia basically means you will have to “child proof on steroids.” Putting alarms on doors, locking up all potentially dangerous items, and removing mirrors are only part of what may be required. The National Institute on Aging produces a great publication entitled Home Safety for People with Alzheimer’s Disease. After reading the publication, many people opt for moving to a facility specifically designed for people with dementia instead of making home modifications. This is usually a safer and more cost-effective alternative than trying to stay at home.
For more help making your home aging friendly, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Making-a-home-age-friendly.pdf
8.7 Meal Options For Older Adults
One consequence of aging is that food preparation may become more difficult. If you or a family member are having an issue preparing healthy meals, consider options for food delivery or food preparation.
Meals on Wheels is in most communities across the United States. This program is most often facilitated by elder care non-profits or religious organizations. There is usually an application for services and payment is on a sliding scale basis. There may be a waiting list as demand often outstrips the ability of some organizations to provide services.
Many grocery stores offer home delivery of meals from their deli and will also deliver groceries. There may be a minimum purchase requirement.
Food delivery services are increasingly available in many areas. These companies often have arrangements with multiple restaurants and grocery stores to deliver a variety of meals and supplies. There is a delivery fee and an expected tip for the delivery person.
A personal chef is another option. They may cook in your home or prepare meals and deliver them to you. This can be pricey but may be a good way to provide meals for those with strict nutritional needs.
Family members can provide regular meals. It is good to create agreements in advance spelling out who is providing the meals, who will pay for the supplies and time needed to make meals, and how often meals will be delivered.
Although nutritional needs can be met with these services, they will not replace the need for human interaction that is usually provided by sharing meals with friends and family. It is important to have human connections in addition to nutritious meals.
By planning for nutritional and emotional needs in advance, you and your family may be able to prolong the time you can age in place. You can also decide in advance the best time to move into a living situation where meals and human connections are more readily available.
8.8 How Can I Use Technology To Make A Home Aging Friendly?
Most people would like to grow old in a traditional home setting. With proper preparation, aging in place is a realistic alternative to assisted living facilities. Along with traditional modifications to make a home aging friendly, technology has greatly improved the lives of older adults and their ability to age in place.
The key with any technology is that the adult must be willing to use it in the first place. Many avoid the use of technology because it is too complicated or difficult to learn. Fortunately, many technology companies are creating tools specifically for an older audience. Tools are available to improve home safety, provide medical services, transportation, and interaction.
8.8.1 Home safety tools
If someone is having difficulty with ambulation, consider the use of automatic door openers, stair lifts, or home elevators. Although stair lifts and home elevators can be costly, the cost may easily outweigh the ongoing cost of an assisted living facility.
An older adult may have several caregivers, and instead of providing keys to each individual, consider the use of a smart lock that is controlled through a smart phone. The door can be unlocked remotely, and access can be denied once a person no longer needs access to the home.
8.8.2 Access to Medical services
Falls and acute medical events are a significant concern. There are now “smart watches” available that can be activated to call for help when needed or will recognize when a older adult has fallen and can call help automatically.
Sensors can be placed on the refrigerator to make certain it is being opened, pill bottles to monitor medication use, and toilets to check for daily use.
Remote cameras can be placed throughout to monitor movement. If modesty is an issue, the cameras can be placed at foot level.
Good broadband service will allow for the use of telemedicine and improved interaction with the outside world.
8.8.3 Need for Transportation
With the advent of transportation services such as Uber, the inability to drive becomes less of an issue. However, it is important to become comfortable using these services long before there is a required need.
8.8.4 Social interaction
Interaction with others is important for good physical and mental health. Older adults should continue to pursue activity outside the home augmented with interaction provided through technology. Tablets specifically modified for use by older adults are available to provide voice recorded emails, video calls, social media access, and interactive games.
By using technology, older adults can more safely age in place, which will improve satisfaction, a sense of well-being, and potentially reduce costs.
For help using technology to make a home aging friendly, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Technology-to-make-a-home-aging-friendly.pdf

8.9 When Should I Move To Assisted Living?
Aging in the home you love is the choice most people make, and it is a great choice if planned carefully. Making certain your home is aging friendly and having the right people to help over time is a key to success. But even the best laid plans do not always work out. Just in case, it is good to think through the scenarios that warrant a move to an assisted living or skilled care facility.

Question variants:
• When should I move to assisted living?
• When should you move to assisted living?
• When should a person move to assisted living?
• When should I move to an assisted living facility?
• When should I move to a CCRC?
• When should you move to an assisted living facility?
• When should a person move to an assisted living facility?
• When should you move to a CCRC?
• When should I move to a memory unit?
• When should a person move to a memory unit?
• When should a person move to a CCRC?

Common Answer to the questions in this sub-topic:
Reasons to consider moving to an assisted living facility or skilled care facility or nursing home include:
(beginning of answer)
1. Dementia
The most difficult situation that often requires a move is dementia. Neglect of the home may be an early sign of dementia, especially if a person has historically done a great job in this regard. At the point where family or friends recognize a problem or develop the courage to address it, the person with dementia may be too ill to recognize the severity of the issue and have denial about their disease. They may resist help or refuse to move. What can be done?
Unfortunately, this situation occurs all too often. Family and friends worry as the person with dementia faces danger and neglect. Family fights, increased risk of elder abuse and increased risk of injury may result. Eventually, there may be the added expense of going to court to appoint a legal guardian against the elder’s wishes.
To prevent this situation, create written agreements stating that the family member agrees to move to a safer environment if they are diagnosed with dementia. Discuss these agreements with your family periodically. Situations we talk about on a regular basis will more likely become ingrained in our psyche. Familiarity creates confidence and comfort with decisions. If you or a family member is ever diagnosed with dementia, hopefully the ingrained conversations will help facilitate a move if needed.
2. Frailness or ill health
Frailness or ill health can result in a need to move to a safer environment. If the home is aging friendly, you have the right agreements in place for upkeep of your home, and you have a trusted person to care for the finances, it may be possible to stay in your home until death. The key here is to plan ahead. If all of the pieces are not perfectly in place, create an agreement as to when a family member will move to a safer environment.
3. Need for more social interaction
It is important to realize that as a person ages, staying in their home may not provide the social interaction needed. The loss of friends and family members while someone is still living in their home can result in withdrawal, depression, or a condition known as the “dwindles” where the person gradually loses interest in their life. Acknowledge the need for social interaction and include this in agreements with your family members as a trigger for when someone will move to an environment where there are more opportunities for social interaction.
Perfect practice makes perfect. By outlining living accommodations as a family member ages, along with triggers for when that person will move, the family can use fewer “worry minutes” and the family member can grow old in the environment that is safe and supportive.
4. Costs
Most people want to stay in their homes as they age. But for many people, especially those that require close supervision and attention, staying at home may not be an economically feasible option. Depending on the level of care needed, moving to an assisted living facility can be a much more affordable option.
For more help with the decision to move to an assisted living facility, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/When-to-move-to-assisted-living-or-skilled-care.pdf
Summary for this answer:
Deciding when to move to an assisted living facility is a personal decision that should be based on your specific circumstances, health, finances, and lifestyle needs. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and start investigating living options well in advance.
(end of answer)

9 Driving
9.1 What Are Alternative Transportation Options?
Losing the ability to drive can be a devastating part of aging. By preparing in advance for alternative forms of transportation, independence – and personal safety – can be maintained.
Alternative transportation is often provided as a resource to the elderly in many communities. Contact your local eldercare association to determine what is available in your area.
If public transportation is not available or convenient, consider a service such as Uber or Lyft. These are applications available on a smart phone that allow you to obtain a private driver.
9.1.1 How do I use a ride service such as Uber or Lyft?
• Download the app and sign up for the service. You will need to provide a credit card, but it is only charged when you actually use the service.
• The cost is often less than a taxi, and the app provides an estimate of the cost when you put the address you are going to into your request for a ride.
• Through a map on the app, the driver comes directly to where you are located. You will see a car icon on the map showing where the driver is located and their estimated time of arrival.
• While in the car, you will see the map of where you are going.
• Once the ride is over, you will be asked to rate the driver and okay the charge.
9.1.2 What are some tips to ensure driver safety?
• When your ride is accepted, a small picture of the driver and type of car will be shown in your app. Make sure the driver and car picking you up match the description.
• Wait inside for your driver if you are in an unsafe area. The app will notify you when the driver has arrived and they will call your phone if they do not see you.
• Set up emergency contacts in the app. This will allow your family to follow your progress when you are taking a ride with the service.
It is good to practice using the service long before you really need it. Familiarity creates comfort, and by using the service in advance, you will be more likely to use it when the time comes that you can no longer drive.
For more help with alternative driving options, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Alternative-Transportation.pdf
9.2 Driving Classes And Assessments
9.2.1 Driving classes
Aging does not necessarily mean you must give up driving anytime soon. With proper planning, your driving skills may stay intact for a very long time. Along with purchasing cars with updated safety equipment, it is also good to brush up your skills by taking a defensive driving course.
There are numerous options available.
• AARP offers an online course that is inexpensive and may save you money on your car insurance.
• AARP also offers courses in person. You can locate a class here.
• The National Safety Council offers an online course for defensive driving.
• You can contact your local DMV for classes in your area.
For more information on driving classes and assessments, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Driving-Classes-and-Assessments.pdf
For a sample family agreement on driving, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sample-family-agreement-on-driving.docx

9.2.2 Driving assessments
Even after proper training, family members may often still be concerned about the driving ability of their aging members. It is a difficult conversation to broach as the older driver may become defensive because stopping driving may mean a loss of independence.
Often, an older driver can continue to drive safely as long as they make a few changes. Driving during the day, not driving in the rain, and adding safety devices to a vehicle can help tremendously in keeping the driver and their passengers on the road safe.
Driving assessments are a good tool to help determine what older drivers need to drive safely. Generally, the assessment is done by an occupational therapist and involves tests that measure cognition and physical ability. Driving evaluations are done in vehicles or in simulators. The therapist will then offer suggestions to improve driver safety or may make the recommendation that the driver give up driving. The therapist does not have the ability to pull a license. The testing takes a couple of hours and costs about $200 to $300.
If your family is concerned about your driving, consider taking a test to prove that you are okay and learn ways to stay safe while driving. The American Occupational Therapy Association provides a database of programs to easily find a testing facility in your area.
For more information on driving classes and assessments, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Driving-Classes-and-Assessments.pdf
For a sample family agreement on driving, download https://www.whealthbot.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sample-family-agreement-on-driving.docx