Future Care Planning 101

Whether you are living with a loved one with a disability or providing long-term care for another individual, you may be looking for answers on how to capture the needs and desires of the person to ensure their future is happy, healthy, and thriving. This blog details the importance of Future Care Planning, where to start, and how to complete a comprehensive Future Care Plan step by step.

Families should review and inventory the needs and strengths of their family member. Identifying resources and services will empower families to plan and assist with decisions regarding the following focus areas:

  • Financial planning
  • Emergency situations
  • Medical care
  • Advance care planning
  • Life insurance
  • Burial planning
  • Health insurance
  • Health directives
  • Legal issues and guardianship
  • Housing and community resources
  • Legacy letter

When possible, start early and involve your family member in the planning. In cases of dementia, this is especially important so that persons participate while they are able to express their own wishes and execute power of attorneys for health care and possibly a financial power of attorney or create a trust and/or will.

What is a Legacy Letter?

The Legacy Letter serves as a blueprint that provides valuable information about the daily life of an individual with a disability, in the event that a new caregiver steps in and begins managing the person’s day-to-day activities. It is best to be as descriptive as possible about the present as well as your vision for the future care of your loved one with a disability. In addition to vital information regarding the individual’s physical and mental status, the Legacy Letter should include your loved one’s likes, dislikes, hobbies, recreational and social preferences, food allergies, medications, physicians, medical history-as well as your hopes, dreams, wishes and aspirations for his or her future.

The Legacy Letter should detail your thoughts on a variety of matters such as religion, future living plans, and academic-and job-readiness skills. While the Legacy Letter is not a legal document, the courts and future caregivers can refer to it for guidance and understanding. In this way, you will have a voice on behalf of your loved one, provide insight and knowledge about her or his best possible care, and be reassured that those preferences are documented.

Every life care plan should seek to maximize community-based resources. Seek to identify social, recreational, vocational and other community-based resources that will enhance, empower, and lead to an increased sense of fulfillment for the person with a disability. The plans should seek to integrate the person with a disability into his or her local community to the fullest extent possible. To achieve these goals it is important to build a planning team. Members of this team may be an attorney, financial planner, accountant, service providers, social workers, friends and advocates, health care professionals, service and support staff (SASS).

The members of the planning team may be people you already have built a relationship with or they may be someone a family member knows. It is critical that the details of the Future Care Plan be shared with all family members as well as the other members of the planning team.

Get Organized

Follow the steps below to create a process plan that will give you the information needed for a successful Future Care Plan. Planning ahead seems daunting, but the steps can be broken down to become more manageable.

  1. Creating the Receptacle: Get a file cabinet and folders or an accordion-type folder that you can label. You can do computer folders if you prefer but be sure they are secure and let a trusted person know your usernames and passwords.
  2. Important Personal Information: Name, nicknames, date and place of birth, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, Medicare numbers and addresses need to be listed. Create a separate folder with copies of birth certificates, military service records, deeds, insurance policies, stock certificates, spouse’s death certificate, marriage certificates, social security cards, automobile titles, divorce decrees, usernames and passwords.
  3. Emergency contacts: Emergency contacts and contact information for you, spouse, significant other, children, siblings and parents should be listed. If you have trusted service people who help with home or lawn, include these.
  4. Medical Providers and History: List of medical providers and medical history. List names and numbers for all doctors and specialists, medications, allergies, significant family history, insurance companies and policy numbers and your employee retiree coverage. If you have prepaid funeral or burial, keep a copy here too.
  5. Financial Information: Create a chart for financial information. Include gross and net amount of each source of income (employment, social security, supplemental security income, etc.) and current value of each asset, the death benefit (if any), and all beneficiary designations associated with the asset. Include on the chart, policy numbers and contact information and the name of any financial advisors you work with, a copy of your most recent tax statement and a section on recurring bills, including whether the bill is paid on-line or by an automated payment.
  6. Legal Information and Documents: Note names and numbers for attorneys, health care agents, attorneys-in-fact, beneficiaries, trustees and personal representative. Have a copy of your last will and testament, living will, health care directive and power of attorney.
  7. Accounts and Passwords: If you use on-line banking or bill pay, have a list of usernames, passwords and answers to security questions to these accounts. Make sure someone you trust knows where to find them.

Helpful Documents

Family Handbook

Future Planning Checklist

For more information about Future Care Planning contact the resources below:

Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Alzheimer’s Association of Northwest Ohio

The Ability Center – Debbie Keller
419-885-5733 x 249