Long-term care planning is incredibly important in New York, as it must be taken care of in advance for it to be effective. The whole idea here is that you set up a plan and make decisions years before they need to be made so that everything is set if you’re unable to make those decisions at a later date, due to illness, aging and/or disease.

The first question you should need to ask is who you want to assist you along the way. There may come a point when new decisions have to be made about medical care, and someone else should be appointed to make them in case you are unable. Who do you trust to do this on your behalf? Many people simply choose a spouse, a child or another close family member.

The next question to ask is this: What do you desire for your future? The type of care that you want is something only you can decide. What type of assisted living facility do you prefer, what type of health care are you comfortable with and are there any types of care you specifically don’t want? Often, these questions deal with life support and similar decisions.

Finally, you need to ask yourself about your personal beliefs and values. Religious beliefs may play a role here. Some people are opposed to specific types of care on religious grounds, and it’s good to get all this in writing, especially if your family doesn’t know what you would prefer.

Even if it seems far too early to do so, it’s wise to look into the legal steps necessary for long-term care planning.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Advance Care Plan Considerations,” accessed Oct. 06, 2015