Options for Tomorrow Future Planning for Individuals with Disabilities

Options for Tomorrow sun logoThe goal of the Options for Tomorrow Project is to facilitate the development of future care plans for adults with disabilities by providing resources and services that empower families and care partners. This project is a partnership between the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and The Ability Center of Greater Toledo.

Options for Tomorrow is a friend you didn’t know you had or needed, helping you through the difficult but necessary future planning for your loved one. ~ Marylou Wilhelm, Parent Participant

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Options for Tomorrow brochure (new)

The Options for Tomorrow Care Plan helps families avoid having to react in a crisis by planning early and making informed decisions that are the consensus of all members involved. In the event a caregiver dies, or is no longer able to provide care, a plan is essential in guiding others to consistently meet the needs of the individual with a disability in the following key areas:

Financial Planning

There are many types of trusts available that you can fund in a variety of ways, including insurance. To ensure that you receive the best advice, please meet with a certified financial planner. Below is a list of things you should consider when speaking with a planner.

A family making plans for the future.

A family making plans for the future.

  • Make sure you have adequate life and health insurance for yourself and your spouse
  • Determine the extent to which your son or daughter can be self supporting
  • Become familiar with the waiver programs and Medicaid program for people with disabilities
  • Revise any revocable or time-limited trusts set up while your children were minors
  • Consider how to manage or dispose of your non-liquid assets, such as your house or other property
  • Consider the advantages and disadvantages of transferring some of your investments or savings gradually as gifts to your heirs, directly in trusts

Reviewing your Assets

After estimating your child’s needs, you need to review and organize your own resources. Identify and list your assets. Assets include such items as cash, homes, business interests, bonds, pension annuities, retirement accounts, other real estate, bank accounts, stocks, automobiles, life insurance, land and jewelry.

Family Handbook an Overview of Planning

  • Future Care Planning helps families to review and inventory the needs and strengths of their family members, determine what should be in a plan and locate qualified professionals and resources to finalize the plan.
  • Future planning involves more than just financial and legal planning. You must consider living arrangements, educational programs, employment, meaningful daily activities, leisure time activities and other personal needs.
  • The individual with the disability should share in developing the plan to share hopes, dreams, and visions of his/her future life. This ensure self-directed planning and self determination.
  • Planning is an ongoing, dynamic process with changes and necessary updates.
  • As you age, you should prepare your child for the eventuality of your death or illness. You may want to name in your will a guardian to succeed you. The court will need to appoint that person if they agree that it would be beneficial for the ward.
  • Develop a Plan of Action to engage your family in future care planning.
  • A good plan is comprehensive.

Emergency Planning and Support

  • Make your personal or family plan. If you need support during an emergency, include the people who will help you.
  • Have an emergency contact list with numbers and alternative methods of contact.
  • Who should step in for short term or long term help and should they contact a specific agency for help?
  • Gather and store important papers, documents and emergency health information in an accessible place.

End of Life Arrangements

  • Make sure that you have an up to date will.
  • Make funeral arrangements for yourself and other family members and consider pre-paying those arrangements.

Legal Planning

  • An attorney can also be an essential part of good planning.
  • Determine the whether or not you need a guardian for your child with a disability.
  • Will you decide to be a guardian for your child, or ask someone?
  • Recruit a successor guardian and name them in your will to take over as guardian when you die.
  • Review and update your will at least every three to five years.
  • Make sure that you have advanced directives such as a Living Will, a Health Care Power of Attorney and possible Financial Power of Attorney for yourself.
  • As you age, you should prepare your child for the eventuality of your death or illness. You may want to appoint a co-guardian so there is no gap in decision making.

Legacy Letter

A legacy letter is a document that encapsulates your wishes for the future. It can:

  • Include your child’s hopes and aspirations discovered through discussions with your child.
  • Include your child’s life-likes, dislikes, routines, rituals and traditions.
  • Help prepare future guardians and successors for their roles.
  • Help them learn the systems, routines, and values that you developed, found effective and want to sustain.
  • Ensure that future caregivers and family members know the vision and embrace it if they are involved.
  • Provide continuity of care after you are gone or when you are unable to provide care giving.

We are currently accepting new families who have an adult child with a disability. There is no charge for the program, but The Ability Center does accept donations. A planning specialist will make initial contact by telephone and meet with you to clarify background information and specific needs.

If the caregiver agrees to proceed, the planning specialist will develop, deliver and review an individualized care plan. It is our intention to collaborate with existing services and to provide lists of resources for necessary service providers. Since the care plan is a continual process and a legacy of love, the planning specialist will follow-up every 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months.

Options for Tomorrow Staff