Fast-Forward: PBS Helps Viewers Take Control of the Rest of Their Lives

Planning ahead can be difficult, daunting, and emotional. Many people put it off until it’s too late. Still, every day is a new opportunity to change that. In the film Fast-Forward, four millennials & their baby boomer parents go through an “aging bootcamp” to see their futures and attempt to answer the question, “If you knew now, what you’ll know then, would you change anything?” Together the parent-child duos experience how their bodies, minds, and lives might change over the next 30 years, which sparks revelatory conversations about their futures and how to prepare for them.

Fast-Forward Enables the Younger Generation to Experience What It’s Like to Be Older

Fast-Forward, a 60-minute film narrated by Rosario Dawson, inspires viewers to see their future in a whole new light and have critical conversations with their families about how they can maximize their choices and well-being throughout life. Wearing an MIT-produced “aging empathy suit” and working with professional make-up artists, the film’s subjects grapple with the realizations, conversations, and mindset required to age successfully. After seeing what these families discover, viewers might want to get started on their own future-planning.

According to the film’s producer and director, Michael Eric Hurtig, “Fast-Forward is a movie about traveling into your eighties to consider how it might feel and how you might look, and consider life at that age. It’s essential viewing for anybody that expects to get older — and that would be everyone. It’s a social group we all aspire to be part of one day, and this film touches all different audiences and all different perspectives. Our resources offer opportunities for you to create your own ‘Fast-Forward’ experiences.”

Next Avenue has partnered with the film to produce courses and a digital toolkit of resources, including step-by-step instructions and a master checklist, designed to help viewers prepare their own aging plans. They’ve put together a simplified way to get a plan in place for the coming years and decades of your life.

Getting Started—Planning for Your Future

One of the hardest parts about aging is preparing for it. That’s why most people haven’t. According to a recent survey, someone turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing long-term care at some point during the rest of their life. Yet, less than 10% of Americans have long-term care insurance, and less than one in three Americans have any kind of advance directive.

We can’t plan for everything. But we can talk about what is most important — in our life, and in our health care — with those who matter most. Fast-Forward breaks down the task of preparing for aging into smaller, more manageable parts. These parts are as follows:

  1. Assemble Your Team

In order to plan effectively for aging, we must identify who in our lives will be our point people for help with tasks, decisions, and carrying out plans should we become unable. Talking with the important people in your life can bring you closer together. It also helps you create the foundation of a care plan that’s right for you — a plan that will be available when the need arises.

  1. Share Your Plan

Fast-Forward wants to help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected. One of the goals of the initiative is to help you start a conversation (and keep the conversation going) so you can have a say in your health care — today and in the future.

This end-of-life conversation can be exceptionally difficult if other people are not prepared for it, so make sure that they know the end-of-life conversation is coming. Also, use your knowledge of the people involved; some will prefer group interactions but others might like it to be more one-on-one.

Communication is an important part of completing advance directives. The film Fast-Forward can be a great starting point. Begin by asking what the other person thought about it and see if this can lead into deeper conversations. Ask if they know what an advance directive is. Remember, take small steps at first.

Allow your loved ones to share their own beliefs/choices/preferences about end of life and use them as a point of comparison or contrast to your own. Understand that you don’t have to be in agreement to begin this conversation. Try to create a win-win scenario where you are able to express yourself and your loved ones feel empowered to do the same. Remember to listen as much as you talk.

  1. Complete an Advance Directive

End of life care planning has two goals: to make sure your healthcare wishes are expressed and honored by using advance directives, and to give a gift to your family and loved ones. It provides them with critical information and confidence needed for future decisions.

An Advance Medical Directive is called different things in different states (such as a health care power of attorney, a health care directive, or a health care proxy) but, regardless of the term, an Advance Medical Directive is a legal document you sign to provide guidance about what types of treatments you may want to receive in case of a future, unknown medical emergency. It also is where you say who can speak for you to make medical treatment decisions when you cannot speak for yourself.

At the Farr Law Firm, our Advance Medical Directive (including our proprietary Long-term Care Directive®, a vital part of our proprietary 4-Needs Advance Medical Directive® that I created for our Farr Law Firm clients) specifies what medical and long-term care related actions should (or should not) be undertaken if you’re too ill or incapacitated to make decisions.

For a helpful checklist to organize your thoughts, click here for one from Next Avenue.

Plan Ahead to Tell Loved Ones What You Would Want

As you can see from Fast-Forward and from Next Avenue’s tools and suggestions, it is very important to plan ahead to make sure your end-of-life wishes are known to physicians and to your loved ones. If you or a loved one has not done Incapacity Planning, Long-Term Care Planning, or Estate Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), now is a good time to plan and get prepared. Call us to make an appointment for an initial consultation:

Elder Law Attorney Fairfax: 703-691-1888
Elder Law Attorney Fredericksburg: 540-479-1435
Elder Law Attorney Rockville: 301-519-8041
Elder Law Attorney DC: 202-587-2797
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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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