Once retirement is within reach, it is a good idea to begin planning for future long term care needs. Getting ready now means much more than not having to make decisions in the moment; it also provides peace of mind. Below are a few of the best ways to begin preparing for life events.

Family Contributions

To start, you’ll want to have a conversation with your family. Are they close by, and can they provide assistance if and when it may be needed? Are they able to help on a daily basis, weekly basis, or just here and there? Maybe you have one relative that has plenty of free time to take you to doctor appointments and another that is happy to provide a once-a-week house-cleaning service. You won’t know which programs you’ll need to take advantage of until after you see how much help you have from your circle of family members.

Insurance Coverage

Contact your insurance company to see what will and will not be covered. For example, does the company provide for stays in a nursing home or rehabilitation center if you fall and have an injury? Are assistive devices covered in the event that you need a walker or wheelchair? If you find your insurance lacking, you might want to consider adding long term care insurance to your medical coverage.

Government Programs

Contact your local Department of Aging to inquire about current government programs and whether you will qualify to apply to any of them. Some home-bound individuals are able to join the Meals on Wheels program, while senior care services offer a program that helps coordinate the needs of seniors. There are also usually transportation programs that will get you to and from doctors appointments, dialysis treatments, and physical therapy sessions if you need it.

Senior Centers

Check to see if your community has a senior center. This is a place where elderly individuals have a chance to socialize by getting together for special events, bingo nights, or just to play a few recreational games. The people running this organization often have important information that can also help you in your planning. They will know about less publicized programs and services that you may be eligible for. Of course, this is also essential for building relationships with peers and staying connected to the community at large.

Life Insurance Policies

While planning for long term care, you’ll also want to take the time to review your life insurance policies. Some policies permit you to add an advanced benefit rider that will allow you to withdrawal money for care if you need it. Don’t forget to check benefit amounts to ensure your loved ones will have either enough to take care of your burial expenses, or a bit extra to help them after you are gone.

It’s not a good idea to put this chore off until the last minute. You never know when an illness or injury will strike that will require a longer-than-normal recovery time. Having a plan means less time worrying and more time focusing on recuperating.