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How to Get Professional Advice on Long Term Care

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

Among the people you may need to consult in making long-term care plans are professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants. These professionals can help you make realistic plans and avoid costly and potentially damaging errors.

Choosing these advisors can be tricky, however. Your niece who just graduated from law school may offer to help you write a will, but she lives in a different state and doesn't know the law in your state.

You have some investments with a local broker, and you have done well with his recommendations. But he has a financial interest in guiding you toward certain choices, which may not serve you well as you contemplate a long-term care plan.

And even your doctor, who has taken care of you for years, sees you as you are, not necessarily as you may become. She may or may not be the best person to give you a completely honest appraisal of your health outlook for the future.

All of these people may be competent advisors. It makes sense, however, to consult with others so that you can be sure you are getting objective and accurate information.

For example, you may want to ask for a special geriatric evaluation from a physician who is experienced in caring for older adults whose course of illness and reactions to medications may differ significantly from younger people.

An attorney who specializes in elder law has seen the troubles people get into with carelessly written advance directives or wills and can guide you toward creating documents that contain the precise instructions you want. And a financial advisor who charges a fee but does not gain from your investment choices may be a good person to help work out the financial aspects of your plan.

When considering using the services of a specific professional, ask about the following issues before moving forward:

  • Experience with working with clients with similar needs

  • Length of time in practice

  • Recommendations

  • Fees for the service

Even with good advisors, you need to be intimately involved in all decisions (or have a family member do this on your behalf). The investment of your time and money helps ensure that you get the kind of care for the long term you want.

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