The 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 among 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
The Options for Tomorrow Care Plan helps families avoid having to react in a crisis by planning early and make 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 area:
- Financial Planning
- Family Handbook an Overview of Planning
- Emergency Planning and Support
- Legal Planning
- Legacy Letter
Many types of trusts are available. Many trusts are also funded by life insurance. Meeting with a financial planner is the best way to take advantage of their expert, up to date advice.
- Make sure you have adequate life and health insurance for yourself and your spouse
- Determine the extent that your son or daughter will be able to 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 trust
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.
- Future Care Planning is designed to help families 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. Living arrangements, educational programs, employment or other meaningful daily activities leisure time activities and personal needs all need to be considered.
- The individual with the disability should share in developing the plan to share hopes, dreams, and vision of his/her future life. This is often referred to as self-directed planning and self determination.
- Planning is an ongoing, dynamic process with changes and updates as needed.
- 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.
- Make your personal or family plan. If you will 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 help or what agency could be contacted?
- Who should step in for long term help or what agency could be contacted?
- Have important papers, documents and emergency health information gathered and stored 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.
- An attorney can also be an essential part of good planning.
- Determine the need for a guardian for your child with a disability or whether other alternatives can be used.
- Will you decide to be a guardian for your child, or ask someone?
- Recruit a successor guardian who can be named 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 executed advanced directives; Living Will, 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.
- A very detailed written document that shares hopes and aspirations realized by talking about everything that is important in your child’s life-likes, dislikes, routines, rituals and traditions.
- Help prepare future guardians and successors for their role.
- Help them learn the systems, routines, and values that you have developed, found effective and you would like to see sustained.
- Be sure future caregivers and family members know the vision and embrace it if they are to be involved and to 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 at this time, but The Ability Center does accept donations. A planning specialist will make initial contact by telephone and conduct an office visit to clarify background information and specific consumer 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
Debbie Keller – Planning Specialist