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Extension Encourages Families to Discuss Aging
South Dakota Ag Connection - 12/07/2018

As you think about yourself as an older person, what do you see? The answer to this question is likely very personal because everyone has different goals and priorities for themselves and their family, explained Leacey E. Brown, SDSU Extension Gerontology Field Specialist.

"Many people find it difficult to talk about goals and priorities for aging," Brown said. "Many families have not discussed many of the important topics we often associate with aging, but that are critical for people of all ages."

Preparing for how you want to age is a topic highlighted in a panel discussion Designing Your Future Plan, which was held during the 2018 Aging Gracefully Expo, hosted by SDSU Extension in Rapid City.

The video is available for family's to watch together and discuss at this YouTube link.

"Without conversations with family members, many could find themselves having to make difficult decisions they didn't have time to prepare for," Brown said. "The challenge is that many people do not know where to begin the conversation. That is where this video comes in."

Topics discussed during the Designing Your Future Plan panel include: cost of care, strategies to pay for care, home modifications, advanced healthcare planning, downsizing and more.

To aid the discussion, Brown developed discussion questions families could go over together after reviewing the online video.

"Some of these topics are very emotional because we are talking about the end of our time here. It will take more than one conversation to develop a plan," Brown said. "This process is necessary so that families across South Dakota can have what matters most to them, no matter what challenges they face."

Step one is to start the conversation. Below, Brown lists questions families should discuss together:

- What are your goals and priorities for yourself and your family as you age?

- What are the health or other challenges likely to present themselves as you near the end of your life?

- Describe how you would like to receive care or assistance. Where would you like that care to take place?

- With the cost of care ranging from approximately $25 an hour to $200 a day, how will you pay for care?

- What circumstances might require you to receive health or long term care different than you planned?

- What information do you need as you develop your plan to achieve your goals and priorities for aging and end of life?

The 2018 Aging Gracefully Expo was made possible because of generous support by the South Dakota Office of Attorney General and AARP South Dakota.

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