Planning, Documentation, Expert Help


Most older adults we talk to would like to “stay independent” for as long as possible. And when we probe what that really means, it usually is about maintaining some level of autonomy and control over one’s destiny as long as possible.


Whether it’s how we are cared for after a medical emergency, or what happens to our assets after we pass away, or where we end up living if we become unable to care for ourselves, most of us would like our preferences to be taken into account in these life altering situations.

Accomplishing this requires planning ahead, and documenting what you want. It usually also requires judicious use of various expert helpers as we start becoming less and less able to “do everything”.

This Topic Hub is where we collect our exploration into topics like which experts might be useful to retain; what sort of “planning” you should be doing and why; and how you document what you want — so that if you are not in a position to make last minute decisions, they still get made the way you would wish.

The topics we have been exploring include planning for what happens at the end of your life; how you will be cared for after a medical emergency; various types of “experts” you might want to retain; and some topics relating to “helping aging parents” that are relevant to the friends and families of older adults.

There are some obvious additions to this list, relating to wills and financial advice for example, which so far we have not explored — primarily because we think there are many other useful places to learn about these topics. If you think there is something important we need to add to our exploration, feel free to send us a message.

Featured Research

Care Manager at work

Care Managers: What, Why, For Whom?

We have found that Care Managers can be exceptionally helpful when a sudden need to become an expert on helping aging parents is thrust upon family members. Yet many of the older adults and their families with whom we talk are unaware that this profession even exists. As part of our series on “getting expert help”, we asked Kira Reginato to write this article about what Care Managers do, why you might want one, and how to find a good one.

Advance Healthcare Directive Form

Advance Directive Forms, Apps, & Online Guides

Advance Healthcare Directives are a critical part of planning for end of life. In this article we dig into exactly what they are, how you use them, how you get help understanding them, and what we have learned about online resources and Apps for completing an Advance Directive Form.

POLST form

POLST & MOLST: Physician Orders

POLST forms (also called MOLST) are a critical part of planning for end of life. In this article we dig into exactly what they are, how you use them, and how you get help understanding them.

End of Life Planning

End of Life Planning

End of Life Planning was the exploration of the month at several Longevity Explorer circles. Here is what we learned about end of life planning, including things like advance directives, healthcare powers of attorney, POLST forms, MOLST forms, and living wills. If you are thinking some end of life planning might be timely, either for you or for a family member, read this.

Hoarder's desk: Fiduciary challenge

A Professional Fiduciary: What is it? Do you need one?

Wondering what a Professional Fiduciary is, when you might need one, and how you would find a good one? We asked professional fiduciary Kim Schwarcz to explain.

patient advocacy

Private Patient Advocates

As our healthcare system becomes more complex and hard to navigate, a new profession has emerged: patient advocacy. Patient advocates are people who work to help patients navigate the healthcare system, and can in principle help save money, and help make sure one gets the best possible treatment when ill. In this article, we asked one of this new breed, Patricia Knight, to help our readers understand better: what is a patient advocate, what do they do, and do you need one?

Additional Research in this Topic Hub