Agewise: Looking Ahead: Navigating senior care options when life doesn’t go according to the plan


By: Diana Bright,MS,LNHA,CDP

Life can be summed up as a series of plans. Plans can be well thought out, secondary plans or reactive plans. Some individuals tend to plan more than others. Whether you’re a planner or not plans play a role in your life. Time is spent planning for graduation, college, marriage, parenthood, vacations and retirement. Sometimes life goes according to plan and sometimes it doesn’t. Many would agree that life would be a lot less complicated if it went according to “the” plan. Those that plan spend their time following their plan or making alternate plans when things don’t go according to the plan. While others who fail to plan, spend their lives in a reactive state to things that occur in life. One area of life that people don’t necessarily like to plan for is getting older.

It is the goal of most people to live healthy, independent and active lives free of disease and disability. Statistics show that people are achieving this goal and living longer. However, what if that is not your trajectory? Have you given any thought about life after your retirement and how to navigate the continuum of care that may be required during your later years of life? Have you thought about being the primary caregiver for your parents or spouse? Professionals in the healthcare field are seeing trends of individuals being reactive to aging and navigating the continuing of care. It is necessary to begin understanding the continuum of care prior to a catastrophic event. Stress and emotions are high during catastrophic events. Planning ahead and knowing what resources are available ahead of time will help you to make a more educated decision on the most appropriate service available to you.

Planning for your future is so much more than saving. Understanding the differences between Medicare, Medicaid and Private Insurances is critical in knowing what services you may or may not qualify.  In patient rehab, long term care facilities, assisted living, memory care facilities, skilled home care services, in home support services, palliative care and hospice care are some of the stages of senior care. Each one of these providers within the senior continuum of care provides a different level of service and is paid for differently. Are you familiar with these stages of care and how you would qualify or pay for the services in the event that you or loved one may be in need in the future?

Aging Together is a great community resource that works hard to educate the local community about options available to seniors and their caregivers. Aging Together builds collaborations that create and enhances supports for older persons and their caregivers. If you’re interested in learning more about promoting optimal health and wellness by increasing awareness and connections to services; aging together is a great local resource. For more information about Aging Together you can visit or call 540-829-6405. The Culpeper County library is another great resource and community partner involved in helping people navigate their options in senior care. The next program is The Power of Connection; Selma’s Story is on October 28 at 11am. Join Selma, a caregiver who cared for her mother during her journey of dementia. Laugh, cry and leave encouraged.