Seniors prepare for the future with workshop

Seniors prepare for the future with workshop
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A group of Region 8 seniors got all the information they needed on Tuesday to plan for the future.

The East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging in Jonesboro hosted a Financial Planning Workshop.

The building was full with seniors eager to learn what advice attorney Aaron Heller would give them.

Attorney Aaron Heller with Owens, Mixon and Gramling Law Firm said they went over a lot of information.

"We're here to talk about issues elderly seniors may come across or the children of elderly citizens dealing with issues," Heller said. "We talked about capacity, whether or not you need a power of attorney in any given situation, the benefits of having a will or a trust. And we're going to talk some about guardianships and when those might be necessary. And then ultimately I want to talk to them about long term care planning for issues like nursing homes or rehabilitative stays later in life. Also some tips on how to financially plan for those things."

Heller said this is something we is well informed in.

"This is an area of law I practice in," Heller said. "I'm the chair of the Elder Law Section of the Arkansas State Bar. And part of that there's a lot of issues that elders deal with. But the one people come to me mostly on are what can I do now to prepare for the future. And ultimately capacity is something people have now, but that's not guaranteed for the future. And so, with issues people face today like dementia there's certain times where people's cognitive functions decline and they're not able to make decisions for themselves. So, things like power of attorney help them plan that. And so, it's very important to me to provide just a general service to the public and let them know there are services available to them to where they can prepare now in case the worst happens later."

Jonesboro resident Sharon Conaway said she was going to change some things that, before Tuesday, she thought were already in order.

"I needed to come and learn more about what's going to take place in the future," Conaway said. "You know, I had questions about stuff that I already had fixed up, but I've learned different today through this workshop."

Heller warned people about the information found online.

"The internet is full of misinformation," Heller said. "Some of that's unintentional and some of that is intentional. And so, all I ask is they come and they try to educate themselves on issues. Powers of attorney are a very easy way for citizens to take care of themselves if something happens to them, but they need to be aware of the dangers of powers of attorney and the importance of finding someone that you trust to take care of those issues."

Heller said it's all about doing your homework.

"Educating yourself is your first step in all of this," Heller said. "Your second step is probably communicating with your family. A lot of these things can be helped by communicating with your family and having your family know what your intentions are."

Conaway said she took away a lot of valuable information.

"I have learned a lot," Conaway said.  "I'm going to use it too, to my benefit I hope. For instance, beneficiary deeds and powers of attorneys. He's enlightened me on the subject so I know I'm gonna have to do some changes and make some different decisions."

Conaway said a workshop like this is something everyone should look into.

"You are going to find out something different," Conaway said. "I don't care how many workshops you've attended, there's always something new to learn."

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