Average life expectancy continues to increase with people simply being expected to live much longer than ever before. While many look at this as a good thing, it does require that the average consumer better plan for their financial future. This can often mean planning for long term care or other health related services.

As our life expectancy is increasing the average man now aged 65 could expect to live to the age of 82 and for women this would be even higher, with a life expectancy of 85. Because as a nation we will live longer the indications are that more and more elderly people will need to receive some form of care in their later years. It is important to consider your options with your family so that everyone is clear when it comes to your expectations. This is especially important should it come to pass that you are no longer fully able and capable of making your own decisions. It is important to keep in mind who in your family or close circle of friends would be the most likely to help you should you need it. These may end up being the individuals that make decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so independently. It will be important for them to make the same decisions for you that you would make if you were able.

Once you have looked at your close circle of family and friends, you may want to take the next step and seek advice from a solicitor about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney. Doing so will allow you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs or health and welfare should you lose your mental capability to do so independently. This should be done whilst you still have the mental capacity to do so. Therefore, it is really never too early to start thinking about who you would choose to manage your affairs. It is a big decision and not one that should be made lightly.

The Lasting Power of Attorney would only be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian once is established that you are no longer capable of making decisions for yourself. That means that you would still go about your everyday life in the same way that you do currently but would have someone already set up to take over for you should you eventually need it. This is important to do ahead of time because there are additional steps that need to be taken if the patient has already lost mental capacity and did not proactively seek out a Lasting Power of Attorney. In that instance, an application needs to be sent to the Court of Protection. However, that application can be avoided if the consumer chooses prior to the loss of the mental capacities.

These are never fun decisions to think about or make. In fact, many consumers avoid making these decisions simply because they are not things that the average person likes to think about or deal with and that is justified. However, not making these hard decisions early on can eventually impact others in the future. It just serves to put more pressure on the people that do have to make your decisions when you are no longer able to do so. For these people, it will be much easier for them to make decisions if you have already outlined your wishes. We all hope that we can continue to live and be active and useful far into our retirement years. However, that is not always the case. Not everyone can age gracefully and never need any assistance. In fact, with life expectancy always increasing, it is more likely that you will need long term care services. So, it is more important now than ever to consider the options for your care whilst you are still able to do so. Care can be provided in a number of settings, however the main ones are domiciliary care which is care provided in your own home, sheltered housing which would allow you to live an independent life with the security of having a warden on duty should there be an emergency, residential care homes and residential care homes with nursing. These options, along with options related to different care services available are all things to think about and decide on as early as possible. There are also financial decisions that can be made early to eliminate having to leave these decisions to family members or close friends.