How to Financially Prepare for the Future with Multiple Sclerosis

Vicki Health Guide
  • Older People with MS

    MS rarely occurs in those younger than 20 years or those older than 50 years. Even more rare does MS occur in those younger than 15 years and older than 60 years. There was a time when MS took years off a lifespan. Now modern medications and creative daily living techniques have changed that. Because the lifespans of MSers are increasing, logically there are many more MSers who live to old age.

    Our golden years they are called.  We should enjoy this time, but if we cannot, memories and imagination are surely still with us to provide delight and inner smiles.
    But we need to be disciplined, responsible and prepared.

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    None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

    Henry David Thoreau

    Whatever your age, if you have not made arrangements for the rest of your life, it's time you did. Get your affairs in order. That phrase churns in your thoughts and usually brings to the surface fears of everyman - old age and death. We must lean into those fears and take the next step. Just what does it mean?

    According to Dr. Marilyn M. Furry* of Penn State College of Agriculture, getting your affairs in order includes the following:

    Organizing your records
    Making health care decisions
    Transferring property
    Planning for final arrangements
    Financing the final ceremony
    Documenting your preferences
    If you aren't sure exactly what some of these phrases include, read the document* and it will be clear.  This document is for Pennsylvania, but there is an equivalent for every state.  Although it is more than 20 pages, it is simple and clear.  This is a guide to get our affairs will be in order.

    This is important for both young and old, but it is especially true for chronically ill Senior Citizens. By taking care of our practical matters, we are allowed to regain a feeling of control in our lives. After these final arrangements have been made, the MSer of advancing age experiences a higher quality of life, enjoying those golden years.

    Think about that final step, make your decisions, perhaps discuss them with your family, document them and tell your next of kin. Isn't it too early in the process? This is particularly important for people who are at the poverty level or who live in nursing facilities that cost so much. Before you start making money decisions, an amount can be set aside for burial that cannot be touched — even by the government. Don't leave those arrangements to your family after you are gone and emotions hamper decisions.

    All of these preparations may be difficult by yourself, so involve your family as you choose. As you go through your arrangements, you may find the need for receipts and documents. Step-by-step, you might find the need for your accountant, insurance agent, lawyer, community services or clergy to help in the process. Include discussions about a
    home-based business to ensure for continuation of the business or clients' service. By finishing and talking about the results with your family, you have removed legal questions, actually eased their grieving process and attained a new level of control over your life.

  • As older chronically ill people manage their funds, they must be sure to plan realistically for the future. Equipment can be very expensive, such as power chairs or specialized standing chairs. Medications can become financially prohibitive so we must be aware of assistance programs through pharmaceutical companies.

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    Retirement homes of today are actually quite pleasant and enjoyed by most residents. However, nursing facilities may cost many times the price of most in-home care, but many of these have better caregiving than previous facilities like them. Transferring from assisted care to full-care and possibly ending with hospice is often a long and expensive journey, but there is no reason it should not be comfortable.

    When older people with MS have the opportunity to select their own retirement and nursing homes, living there can be a satisfying experience. Take the initiative while you can.

    Younger People with MS

    Because of increased life span expectations for anyone with MS, today’s twenty year olds with MS could one day be looking in the mirror and facing an elderly person with MS. They need to understand and be prepared. Multiple Sclerosis does not go away, it is with us for life. A diagnosis early in life is not a death sentence; rather, it presents an issue of how much your quality of life is affected.

    Younger people have the advantage of time and foresight to set up their affairs, get things documented and in order before they near the end of their lives.

    Young people especially have the opportunity to start now and clarify their feelings and values while they still have time to investigate the options.

    Young MSers can organize and document preferences. These preferences can be changed throughout life, but a template will be established. Young people will have a great deal of maturity when they talk with loved ones about their affairs.

    The message to people with MS, both young and old, is do not procrastinate. Your family will appreciate it, and you will develop a new level of quality for the remainder of your life.

    Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty -
    they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.
    Martin Buxbaum

    Notes and Links:

    Getting Your Affairs in Order

Published On: December 30, 2009