Planning for the future

Progress into older age often means transitions and change. As people age, their support needs are likely to both grow and change.

We may expect and plan for some changes. Others may happen suddenly and unexpectedly.

Our level of independence may reduce. Our reliance on others may increase.

Other people may also rely on us more just as our capacity to provide care and support is decreasing.

Older people may see changes in how they get around. They may find it harder to do things they once enjoyed. They may see changes in their living arrangements. They may suffer the loss of important relationships. They may experience cognitive decline.

The changes older people experience may have big practical and lifestyle implications.

Life stage changes linked to ageing may be include feelings of shock, grief and loss, resistance or resignation.

Uncertainty about the future can leave some older people feeling fearful and anxious.

Older people may feel things are being done to and for them, rather than by them. They may feel they are losing agency and autonomy. They may feel they are less able to make decisions about their lives.

Changes brought about by the ageing process can also have big impacts on the carers of older people living with HIV.

Their ability to keep caring may change as support needs grow. There may be different views about the best way to provide ongoing care for the older person living with HIV.

Planning for the future is important for everyone.

Older people can be supported to age well and happily if they are supported to plan for as many changes as possible.

Future planning can help older people and their carers make decisions about the changes impacting their lives. Planning can help older people living with HIV remain healthy, active and connected for longer. It can help them to “age-in-place”.

Ageing in place usually means to stay living in the community. It means staying in one’s home and living independently (with or without support) rather than living in an aged care facility.

Inevitably though, the process of ageing will catch up with us.

Future planning can ensure the wishes of the older person are known and taken into account in future decisions.

The Living Positive Victoria resource first mentioned in Topic 5.3 provides a useful Planning in advance timeline. The timeline helps to think about issues that might need to be discussed at different stages (see below).

It includes tips about changing care needs, reduced capacity, transitions to new care settings, and end of life planning:

  • Where and how a person will live and what supports they will need
  • Financial planning
  • Writing a will
  • Organising powers of attorney (a legal document that nominates a person to make legal, financial and personal decisions on behalf of another if they lose the mental capacity to make their own decisions)
  • Advance care planning (a record outlining a person’s wishes about the type of health care they want or don’t want, including end of life decisions; health professionals and others should respect these wishes which can also be communicated by a nominated advocate)


Watch this short video on planning ahead: Start to talk (0:58):

Peer Navigators can support older people living with HIV and their carers to plan for these changes by talking about:

  • How they feel about these changes and what they may mean
  • The older person’s and carer’s needs, wishes and intentions for the future
  • Who might be appointed to make decisions on behalf of the older person if needed
  • How changing support needs may impact the ability of a family member or other person living with HIV to continue caring for a loved one
  • Referring them to clinicians, legal and other support organisations that provide more detailed information and advice about future clinical, financial and other social needs.

Figure 7: Planning in advance timeline, Living Positive Victoria and RDNS

More information

For more information about future planning see Living Positive Victoria in partnership with the RDNS: POSITIVE CARING A handbook for people caring for older people living with HIV, and a guide for people living with HIV
Also see for example:
Advance Care Planning Australia including for tools and resources in each State and Territory for creating an advance care plan
Dementia Australia for tools and resources in each State and Territory for creating wills and powers of attorney

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