Planning for retirement is an important part of life, regardless of your age.
However, there are many issues that can derail the best plans. The following guide explores how different medical issues can impact your long-term planning and how to work around them for a more secure future.
Your future health can’t be known with certainty. While you can eat a healthy diet and exercise on a regular basis, some people have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.
In part, these diseases are determined by an individual’s genetics. While you can often mitigate the harm by following a healthy lifestyle, it’s not possible to eliminate their risk entirely.
Diseases that impact your capacity for decision making can have a profound impact on your future. If your capacity to make decisions is reduced, it may not be possible to manage your finances, your home, your job, and many other aspects of your life. Diseases that impact your capacity for decision making include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Unfortunately, everyone can potentially develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease as they grow older. However, some people are more prone to these diseases than other. It’s often possible to get a genetic test to determine your risk of developing these diseases in later life.
Other Neurological Issues
While aging diseases like the above can seriously affect your decision-making, other medical issues are also something to consider. Things like addiction and certain medications can also affect your decision-making skills.
Have loved ones observe if you have any changes in mental capacity as you are on medication. If you suffer from addiction or are going through treatment, this may also hinder your future planning. Use a rehab facility, or at-home addiction services to help monitor your progress and know when you can make future decisions for yourself.
If you have a higher risk of a neurodegenerative disease, it’s important to plan ahead for a time when you may not be able to make decisions for yourself. If you have specific wishes regarding your healthcare, it’s important to make sure you have written documentation of these wishes.
Advanced directives are documents that help physicians make healthcare decisions when you’re unable to make these decisions on your own. Advanced directives contain your wishes regarding resuscitation, feeding tube usage, palliative care, and more. If you want to pursue hospice care at the end of your life, an advanced directive is an excellent way to make that clear.
It’s also important to have medical power of attorney documents. These documents will designate a family member or loved one to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you’re incapacitated, either on a temporary or permanent basis. It’s important to make sure that the person you select has a deep understanding of your end of life wishes.
By planning ahead for these types of medical issues, it’s possible to avoid many of the care challenges associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Without advanced directives and power of attorney, you won’t be able to receive the type of care you want at the end of life.