Four-Step Family Self-Assessment

4 Ways to Safeguard My Special Needs Family

WE HAVE BENEFITED FROM THE COLLECTIVE WISDOM OF HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS. SOMETIMES, THE PAINFUL LESSONS OF OTHERS CAN BE THE EXAMPLE WE NEED TO SAFEGUARD OURSELVES. HERE IS SOME OF WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED.

Growing up in Southern California in what some might call a traditional family, I mentally built up a picture of what my life would look like going into my twenties, thirties, middle age and beyond.

If you’ve met with me one-on-one for a consultation or seen me speak at an event, you’ve probably heard one of the largest lessons I have learned over the course of my life: things do not always go as we plan.

When the old dreams we hold are shown to be out of sync with our reality, a new vision has the opportunity to come forth. With that comes something quite unexpected for most families:

There are questions that we must ask ourselves that most traditional families do not need to ask, all in service of our family.

On our minds are questions of healthcare, housing, gainful employment, successive caregiving, and a host of other concerns. How do we know that what we are doing is the right thing to do?

If you take anything away from this article, make it this: there are no globally right answers. The answers to your questions are as unique as YOU, your family, and your special needs family member. Accurately seeing the situation at hand matters most.

Often, I tell families that there are a few questions that they can ask themselves to help them make the best decision for all parties concerned.

What are the benefits of this decision?

Take stock of reality as it exists at this moment. What’s happening in the daily life of my family? What does the future (if I did nothing new) look like for my family?

The answers to those questions offer the picture of life as it exists today and you did nothing.

Then, ask yourself What benefits would my family enjoy if we made this decision? See how this decision impacts your answers to the two questions we started with.

What are the risks?

Likewise, what are the risks of doing nothing? If only that which is in place today was to continue 5, 10, 20 or more years into the future, what risks would arise? What risks already exist?

As you are considering this question, remember what I said earlier in this article – it’s rare that life turns out how we expect.

Then, consider what risks would exist if we made this decision at hand.

What solutions are available?

Consider, given your answers above, what solutions are available.

This is where an experienced individual is so critical. This is NOT a product strategy question. This is a PROCESS strategy conversation.

This person should be helping you answer the question, What solutions/benefits/risks are present through the various stages of life moving forward?

How do we implement the solutions we choose?

Finally, you should consider what steps need to be taken now, next year, and in the years to come to secure the decision you have made.

I cannot tell you how many families go through each of the steps above and even initiate steps and spending to potentially protect their family, only to never follow up again and finish the steps beyond.

Again, consider how there is, most likely, no one-size-fits-all, one-and-done solution. We should consider the process strategy in the future, and any great advisor should walk you through the process of implementation moving forward.

In all, remember that what others in our lives can offer best is perspective. We can use the wisdom that others have gained through their experience to ease us along our own path of experiences.

Please, we’d love to hear about your process moving forward. Send us a comment or email, or even give us a call.

Image Copyright 2015 Lightstock, LLC and is licensed by Dignity Group, Inc. and is used with permission. Photo is for illustrative purposes only. Any person depicted in the photo, if any, is a model.