If you are a baby boomer without children, the new term “solo ager” applies to you. This strong and independent group faces some distinct issues in aging, particularly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker in case they become not able to do so themselves. Inside her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider:
- Dig through your support system. Usually, a solo ager’s spouse would be the natural choice for guardianship and also to make crucial decisions associated with medical care, but it’s beneficial to have at least one and preferably two younger alternates. Give some thought to brothers or sisters and their children, friends, and neighbors, taking into account whether or not each person holds comparable values and is also a person you are able to fully trust to make decisions according to your wishes.
- Hire a professional guardian. Professional guardians, also called private guardians or professional fiduciaries, have become more popular than ever for solo agers. If interested in this option, it’s important to interview a number of candidates to make certain they have the required knowledge and experience, and don’t hesitate to request references. Consult your attorney for recommendations, or perhaps the National Guardianship Association or Professional Fiduciary Association in your state.
- Accept a court-appointed guardian. If a solo ager has not yet specified a guardian and is suddenly not able to make care-related and/or financial decisions, a probate court will designate a guardian to manage his/her affairs.
If you are choosing potential guardians, collect answers to questions such as:
- How long have you been in practice?
- Have you been certified by the National Guardian Association?
- Have you been bonded and insured?
- What is the succession plan if you predecease me?
- Are criminal record checks performed on all of your current employees?
- What is your knowledge of the particular health conditions I’m facing?
- Exactly what are your fees, and how often am I going to be billed?
As soon as your guardian option has been determined, make fully sure your attorney updates your existing (or creates a fresh) durable power of attorney or advance health care directive, will, and durable power of attorney for finances.
If you require any more help in planning for long-term care needs, call the senior care professionals at CareWorks Health Service. We are able to partner with seniors in Orange County to produce a plan of care to ensure that needs are fully met now and will continue being met effectively as needs change in the many years to come, always in respect with each individual’s wishes. Call us at (949) 859-4700 or contact us online for more information.