I met Ariana when she came to me for a consultation about her parents and her brother. Ariana’s parents were both in their late seventies and had health problems that were starting to slow them down. Ariana’s brother, Michael, had a developmental disability and still lived at home. At age 36, he worked part-time at a sheltered workshop and had a limited social life. He depended on his parents a lot, and for a long time Ariana had been thinking about what would happen if – or rather, when – her parents could no longer care for him.

She expected she would need to step up to the plate and be involved in Michael’s care, but what would her responsibilities be? She was worried about the services and supports he required, such as transportation (still provided by their father), and his expenses. Her parents hadn’t shared much of that information with her. She knew her brother had a special needs trust, but she didn’t know the details.

Parents or guardians of an adult child with special needs often worry about what will happen when they’re no longer there to provide care. Adult siblings may get involved, but they need information on future planning. Care managers offer guidance and support in creating a plan to transition financial, residential, and recreational responsibilities from parents to sibling caregivers. Working closely with attorneys and financial advisors, care managers help families create a future for their loved one and put many of their fears to rest.

After my consultation with Ariana, she asked her parents if they would be willing to have a meeting with me and her to hash out these issues. At first Ariana’s parents were a little reluctant to participate. They didn’t foresee any changes in the immediate future, so why worry? But Ariana managed to convince them that planning ahead was much better than scrambling during a crisis. No one knew what the future would bring. Wouldn’t it ease everyone’s minds to be prepared?

As it happened, Ariana’s parents seemed relieved once we had the discussion. They too had wondered how Michael would fare when they were gone, but they hadn’t wanted to think about it. Moreover, they’d had questions about the complex rules of the special needs trust, and our meeting prompted them to meet with their attorney again to get clarity and schedule a meeting with their financial advisor. Ariana learned about her brother’s state and federal benefits and how the trust worked. They explored opportunities together. With a workable plan ready, she decided that she was willing to oversee Michael’s care when the time came.

Are you in a similar situation? A care manager can assist you and guide you to the resources you may need as the caregiver of an individual with special needs.

Please reach out to us at 703.723.3737 or at megan@goldenpondvirginia.com and we will be happy to assist.


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