Imagine you are at work and you get a call. You are told that your mom, who is the primary caregiver for your brother, has been in a vehicular accident…and your brother was in the car with her.
Your mind immediately starts to race with questions. How bad was the accident? Are they both OK? What if they are not OK? What if mom is badly hurt…or worse?
If it turns out that only your brother made it out of the accident, would you be in a position to take over as his primary caregiver?
Or, suppose you were the one in the accident and you are the primary caregiver of your brother, what would happen to him? Do you have a plan?
Future Planning is the creation of a long-term plan that provides care and protection for your loved one, for when you (the primary caregiver) are no longer able to care for them. Bear in mind, you are also planning for your loved one to live as independently as possible.
Who is on the Future Planning Team?
These are the people involved in creating the future plan. This includes your loved one who has Down Syndrome, the parents, siblings, other family members and various professionals (legal, financial, etc.). It is very important that we, as caregivers, remember to involve our loved ones in this process. It is their lives that we are planning, thus, to whatever extent that they are capable, they must have a say.
Please note that Future Planning is not a one man show, but instead a team effort. Your future plan will evolve over time, as your loved one goes through different stages in life, thus arrange to have the plan updated and have this done in a timely manner.
Future Panning takes time and thus, will be developed over time. This is why it is important that we start to plan from early and ensure that the plan is appropriately updated.
What Do I Need to Consider?
When creating your future plan, these are some of the things that you should consider:
1. Where will my loved one live?
2. How will their healthcare be covered?
3. How will their expenses be covered, e.g. for food, social activities, housing, etc.
4. Who will support them in decision-making and what form will this support take? Guardianship? Power of Attorney?
5. Who will support them in maintaining or improving their relationships?
6. How will I legally leave anything to my loved one? A Will? A Trust? Who will be executor or trustee?
7. What support/services does my loved one need now to help prepare them for these changes?
8. How will all of this be documented?
There is no time like the present. Future Planning takes time and decisions should not be rushed into…give yourself time to really consider things and make the best choices possible.
With every plan, we should make provisions for the unexpected. Therefore, we also recommend that you create an Important Documents Checklist, where all your important documents and their locations are listed. This is of tremendous help to your family members in the event that you unexpectedly pass away or become incapacitated.
I know all of this must seem overwhelming, but please do not feel alone. We are here to help! Sign up here to download the Important Documents Checklist for FREE and start putting things in order TODAY! (Hint: Once you’ve signed up, check your email to get your free gift)
Cheers to your family’s future!