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How to get started

Making the best possible decisions about future needs requires good planning. The Options Counselor can help you think about the choices available and guide you to information on selected topics. These pages offer a lot of information, too much to absorb in a single visit. Plan on coming back to the Options Counselor as many times as you need to.

Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Think about yourself and your family

    When we plan for our future, we often think about income, insurance, or housing. Just as important is your physical and emotional health and satisfaction with your role in your family and your community.

    Each section on this Web site has a link to “Questions to think about and ask others.” These questions may help you focus and point you in the right direction so that you can determine what you need.

  • Take notes and share information

    Be sure to take notes and write down your thoughts and questions. You can print out the questions provided under each topic, or copy and save them to your computer.Writing down your answers and thoughts can help you make better decisions.

    Share all or part of your plan with family members, your physician, or others. This way, those who love and support you will know your preferences and other important health information.

    If you are helping someone else, you will want to ask these questions of yourself and the person for whom you are making plans.

  • How to start a conversation

    It can be difficult to talk about needing care and support or just about getting older. Not everyone is comfortable having this type of conversation, but it is important. Often, loved ones do not really know a person's wishes unless they are spelled out. Here are some resources to get you thinking about that conversation.

  • Explore the Options Counselor topics and resources:

    • Caregiving

      If you are helping a family member or friend, you need to learn more about resources available to you. There are also tips on how to take care of yourself.

    • Civic Engagement

      Explore ways to be engaged in your community. You can volunteer for an organization or become a mentor for a child or youth – your experiences are needed in many ways.

    • Emotional Well-Being

      You can find many resources to help you balance the demands on you. This section has information on the importance of mental health, spirituality, and having a social support network.

    • Financial Planning

      Paying for support services is an important issue. Financial planning is a broad category about paying for your future long-term care needs. It includes money management ideas for retirement investment, housing, reverse mortgages, and estate planning.

    • Healthy Living

      Healthy Living is an important part of taking control of your life! Be proactive about your health and explore these resources on prevention and healthy lifestyles.

    • Legal Questions

      Among the topics to address with family and friends are a number of legal issues. You should plan for the day when you need someone else to help make decisions; you may need to write a power-of-attorney or appoint someone to help you with healthcare decisions or with your finances.

    • Planning for Long-Term Care

      This section explains the many options you have when you need assistance. You can get help in your own home or choose a residential facility. Explore the different types of support services and public programs that may be available.

    • Resource Finding

      Tips on finding more information and assistance.

Suggestions? Comments? We welcome your input!