Advanced Planning

Nobody ever really wants to think about what needs we may have in the future, but there comes a time when each of us should consider what future plans we would like to make if challenging circumstances do arise. Making plans for the future is not exclusive for persons with disabilities or for older individuals, it applies to everyone.

There are many components that go into long term care or advanced planning. Generally, these plans may include whether to purchase long term care insurance as well as evaluate various living environments and arrangements if one is not able to continue to live independently. Additionally, this process may also include some of the harder to discuss and more heavily laden issues such as creating a will (for what we would like to have happen to our belongings and assets) and also a “living will” (a plan to try establish our medical and treatment wishes if at some point we are unable to make those determinations ourselves).

These are tough things to mull over and possibly even harder to discuss with loved ones and make “official” in writing. But, the question we often forget to consider is what happens if we don’t plan for these things…who will make these challenging and difficult decisions?

The truth is that if we do not make these decisions then someone else has to make them for us.  Friends and family members may have conflicting ideas about the best course of action or decision makers may feel guilty if they are not sure if they are carrying out our wishes. The best gift you can offer to help make difficult situations a little easier is to think about a plan and then follow the process to make those wishes legal and known to all the important parties.

Yet, it is difficult to discuss these needs, but we don’t have a guidebook of life to know when the time will come when these decisions will be necessary.  In that respect it becomes important to examine these issues now when we are able to make those decisions for ourselves and maintain control over our wishes.

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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