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Y’all know I love strategy. The thinking. The How-to’s, the savvy…and bringing it to you.
Today, I am again drawing from my recent presentation at the conference of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. I was speaking on strategies for Solo Agers, but give this a read. I believe you will agree that today’s topic is good for every one of us.
The concept today is a technique used for planning. To get our ducks in a row. And to employ and ensure that one of my favorite mantras comes true:
“We can all have a say in how things will go and where we’ll end up.”
Yup. Today’s topic is the Microboard concept: what A MicroBoard is, why this is a good thing (how it serves us!), and then how do we build one? Here we go.
It makes sense that as we age we are going to need to call in some help. Why not place ourselves in charge right now and build our Board? Why not find and select the folks that can help us along the way?
A MicroBoard, your board, and since you are building it, you are the Chair of the Board. Sound good? Power-FULL?
Your board has seats. Board Seats represent and run things. You choose them to be ready to help you as you age or for when care decisions may be needed. You select and designate. You choose who will be on your Board (or your Team, in your Village, or to be in your Circle of Care).
Here are typical seats for your MicroBoard. I will cite them as Seats and then suggest some of the folks you might consider.
This is in keeping with the another concept I teach and use in consulting with you. You’ve heard me speak of The PIE? The pieces of that pie that we address in our work together are Medical, Legal, Financial, Housing, Insurance, and Support. We are now turning those categories (pieces of Pie) into your Board.
Let’s begin by imagining who you might need for your Board. Seat, then ideas for persons and selection.
Seat: Medical – You may likely begin a PCP (primary care) as a logical choice; they are supposed to be “primary,” as the title connotes, to steer your care. To that, you may add any specialty providers such as neurology, orthopedics, cardiology, endocrinology, etc. Tailor your Seats to your needs. More Seat candidates could be traveling therapies, like PT-OT or SLP (Physical Therapy, Occupational or Speech and Language Therapy).
A strong contender for a Seat might be Home Care or Home Health (‘Know the difference, by the way? A Patient Advocate or Care Manager-type can educate and guide you). Durable Medical Equipment Providers. Hospice and Palliative Care. How about a mobile dentist?
Seat: Legal – Elder Law attorney (for matters while we are still here) and for Estate Planning and Probate (for when we are no longer here), or Business (closing one in retirement or for a succession).
Seat: Financial – Financial Professional. Wealth Manager. A CPA or a Daily Money Manager. How about your Bank Trust Department? Reverse Mortgage professional. A Bookkeeper.
Seat: Insurance – There’s a terrific government agency that provides insurance counseling, and it will go by many names, usually something like ‘SHIIP’ or ‘SHIP’ (standing for something akin to “Senior Health Insurance and Information Program”). They educate on Medicare options without influencing the decision. Their titles differ from state to state, and you may find them in Aging Services or within the state Departments of Insurance. You may also consider a Medicare advisor of choice. I recommend finding an insurance professional who values and embodies integrity more than any one brand of insurance. A Long Term Care insurance professional (with the same integrity factor).
Seat: Housing – Perhaps you will consider congregate housing, or you may aim toward Aging in Community or Place. Get to know the representatives from communities that are a match. Identify and know ‘Placement Specialists’, an industry that helps match you to communities that fit your needs. If your present home is the choice you may very well require a General Contractor, handyman types, and yard personnel.
Seat: Support – A tremendous Seat. As I envision my Microboard I see Seats around a conference-type table. For this Support Seat, I see candidates aligning the walls around the circumference of the room know what I mean? It’s a big category.
There’s Family or chosen Family (your family may not be best-suited for a Seat, or if you are a Solo Ager, there is no built-in family to provide support. Thus, we choose). Other important Seat-candidates will be clergy or faith leaders.
Consider other needs: A Tech-person to teach, set up or repair. Transportation (medical and non-medical). Dogwalker and groomer for a pet. A traveling pedicurist and hairdresser. For all of this, you may consider a Key Person a care manager or coordinator-type.
Don’t forget Agents of FUN: a travel agent, the staff of your senior center – to find out about events and services. Senior Olympics. You may wish to find and develop a relationship with a Wingman or Wingwoman to get to and attend events.
Volunteering: Let’s share some resources. Let’s share our time and kindness with others. Action leads to belonging and purpose (ah, purpose, that stuff that keeps us going and is that reason to rise and meet the day).
Some of these Seats you may have already identified and installed. Maybe you still need to fill some.
It may be time to take a look at the Seat: do any need replacing/refilling, or are any needs coming down the pike? Is someone no longer able to serve, or are they just in the Seat temporarily until the more permanent person is designated?
A few of these ideas for Seats or Seat-functions that I named may sound familiar. Others may be unknown (but sound like a good idea). Therein lies a bit of discovery for you!
If you need help or guidance or someone to act as a soundboard I build teams all day, every day.
Don’t know what you need? Contact me. Don’t know what that Seat-person is or does? Contact me.
How to find and vet a professional? You’re hearing from someone whose job was to credential clinicians and attorneys for a living and who has hired her fair share of all these MicroBoard Seats, whether for myself, my loved ones, or for my patients. Contact me.
Yes, MicroBoards are not just for Solo Agers, in fact, this kind of thinking will behoove us all. Just apply the MicroBoard concept as an overlay for use in your planning and to help others in theirs.
As always, I hope what I have shared today helps you to move comfortably forward in life.
Planning for aging? Need a guide, method or process? Nancy helps patients and their loved one build MicroBoards all day, any day. Contact her for guidance, education or to be a sounding board as you assemble. nancyruffner.com Offering complimentary consultations toward engagement.