Senior Citizen's Guide to Pittsburgh Fall/Winter Edition 2015-16 - page 44

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Future Planning for Senior Caregivers
of Individuals with Special Needs
The task of planning for the
future of an individual with special
needs can be intimidating and
stressful. If you are an aging
caregiver yourself, the need to
plan for the future is even more
imminent. Many caregivers of
individuals with special needs
ask themselves: Who will care
for my loved one once I am no
longer able to? Where will he or
she live? Where will f inancial
support come from? Who will
advocate for him or her? These
are common questions, all which
should be asked in preparation
for when caregivers can no longer
care for an individual with special
needs due to their own advancing
age or death. By planning for their
future now, caregivers can establish
parameters for the level of care
needed in the future and prepare
family and friends for their future
roles and responsibilities.
Many aging caregivers have not
been able to adequately prepare their
adult children with disabilities for
inclusion in the community and/or
their independence, which presents
unique transitional challenges
for those adult children. Without
adequate planning, individuals
with disabilities can be left without
support. Oftentimes, people wait to
deal with Future Planning issues
until the time of crisis, rather
than working with a qualif ied
professional before the crisis
occurs. By taking steps towards
developing a plan for the future and
executing it with the proper legal
documentation, future comfort and
security can be facilitated through
present choices. By planning ahead,
seniors and people with special
needs can help to ensure a better
quality of life and that they have
the services and support they need
as they get older.
The r e a r e many a s pe c t s
to consider when developing a
successful future plan. Families
should consider involving the
individual with special needs
as much as possible in order to
consider his or her wishes for
the future and the best method of
supported-decision-making in daily
and major life decisions. A good
future plan reflects the wishes of
the person with special needs, and
also includes the wishes of parents,
siblings, extended family members
and friends, and other important
people in the family network. The
main focus of the plan should be
the person special needs’ interests,
preferences, and skills.
To begin special needs planning,
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