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Get ahead of frailty with a life plan

The COVID-19 pandemic gave us all a sneak peek into what life might be like if we lost independence and mobility. But what if the limitations were not due to an international pandemic and were not affecting everyone in your street, but just you? What if it was your own personal capacity (physical or mental frailty) that was restricting your independence?

Many retirees live independent lives, but research shows that on average, you might expect 17-25% of your retirement years to be frailty years[1].

While this may sound grim, it is not all bad. Just don’t let frailty creep up on you without a plan.

What’s in the plan?

A plan can give you time to identify your choices, make comparisons and prioritise your preferences. It may give you time to modify your house to remain suitable for longer. Or it may allow you to put your support teams in place to be ready when you need them. And most importantly, it may allow you to have the finances ready to pay for the support you need.

A well-considered plan can also reduce stress for your family, which may be faced with trying to decide the best options for you while dealing with their own emotions and busy lives. A plan can give them a roadmap to follow.

Not everything goes our way or even how we planned. However, having a plan that considers options and decision pathways is better than having no plan at all.

So how do you get started? Make a list of what is important to you and how you want to live. This includes your views on:

  1. Your personal life goals
  2. Your home and how you prefer to live
  3. Your family interactions
  4. Your financial objectives
  5. Medical treatment and care directives.

Who can help?

Don’t build the plan alone. It is hard to be objective. You may also need to bring in experts such as your doctor, a lawyer and an accredited aged care financial planner. Searching the internet might provide ideas for how to draw up a life plan, support groups and interesting newsletters.

Once you have a plan, socialise it with your family and give them a chance to have input or help you view the plan more objectively. Including your family in discussions can also help them to understand what is important to you and why.

You should never set and forget a plan. Review it regularly to keep adapting as things change. And don’t be afraid to implement the plan when the time is right. If you would like to find out more about how we can help, reach out to our experienced team here.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This document has been prepared by Aged Care Steps Pty Limited, ABN 42 156 656 843 AFSL 486723, based on our understanding of the relevant legislation at the time of writing. While every care has been taken, Aged Care Steps Pty Limited makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. The information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without consideration of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any decisions, you should consider the appropriateness for your personal investment objectives, financial situation or individual needs. We recommend you see a financial adviser, registered tax agent or legal adviser before making any decisions based on this information. Current as at 10 June 2024.

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Life expectancy and disability in Australia: expected years living with and without disability. Cat. no. DIS 66. Canberra: AIHW. ISBN 978-1-76054-091-3 (PDF)

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