Planning for the unknown

While one cannot predict the future, one can plan for it. Jerry Cohen, JD, MPA strongly encourages everyone to do it. 

So passionate is he about future planning, Jerry provides helpful presentations – as he did recently for Disability Support Services’ clients and family members – about how best to engage in future planning, which he also calls advanced planning. It provides a modicum of control via planning for one’s future.

Jerry is immediate past-state director for AARP Oregon and co-founder and co-owner with his wife, Ruth, of EvolvingElders that helps adults of all ages and abilities plan for – or handle as successfully as possible – curveballs we face as we age.  

“You have to plan,” Jerry says, “and not just for end-of-life. Advanced planning gives you a choice when you no longer can communicate your wishes or when life does not unfold as planned.”

Jerry speaks from experience; two years ago he and Ruth suddenly lost their adult daughter. “I’m having to do a lot of what I coach people on. One never knows what will happen,” he says.

In his PowerPoint presentation to DSS clients and family members, Jerry aimed his remarks specifically toward parents, for example, asking them to consider the extent to which their children can express their own desires. He also covered topics like guardianship and conservatorship, as well as important legal documents that ensure one’s wishes are met. These include an advanced directive, durable power of attorney and patient advocate designation.

Jerry fielded parents’ questions, including: 

  • how to provide adult children with disabilities funds that don’t hurt their eligibility for SSI and SSDI  
  • details about case- and care-management
  • resources for estate-planning attorneys and public guardianship

Said Jerry: “If you want to voice your choices, do it in writing now before you or your loved ones no longer can speak for yourself or themselves.”

    Access for all abilities

    Our Disability Support Services include:

    • Case management
      to connect with resources and navigate government programs.
    • Tikvah social group
      to reduce isolation
    • Support group for parents of people
      with disabilities
    • Accessibility trainings for educators and professionals in other organizations