“My hope is that this podcast will give people the information that they need to take that step forward … Because future planning doesn’t have to be scary and paralyzing. It can be hopeful and can have forward progress.”



Episode 0: One Small Step Towards Future Planning

Episode 0 gives an introduction to Focus on the Future. In this episode, our host Allycia Wolff introduces herself and The Arc Minnesota, and shares her hopes for the podcast. She also explains what future planning is and why it is important to you as a caregiver of someone with a disability. At the end of the episode, you begin future planning with one small, easy step.

You can find more information about Focus on the Future at arcminnesota.org/podcast. If Episode Zero inspired a question for an Arc Advocate, call The Arc Minnesota at 833.450.1494.


About Focus on the Future

Focus on the Future is a podcast for caregivers and families supporting people with disabilities. In each episode, a conversation about the journey of discovering our best life and how to achieve it. While exploring legal, financial, and quality of life structures, Focus on the Future aims to get back to what matters most: living a fulfilling and meaningful life that is defined by each individual person.

Episode 0 Transcript

00:00 [music playing]

00:06 [Nicole Kadwell speaking] When your child turns 18 everything changes. When he’s 18, he becomes an adult. And, uhm, and along with that all of his rights and things. We just wanted to learn everything we can to make that transition for him as smooth as possible.

00:23 [music playing]

00:30 [Allycia Wolff speaking] Welcome to Focus on the Future, a future planning podcast by The Arc Minnesota. My name is Allycia Wolff and I am the host of Focus on the Future. We are developing this podcast because there are a lot of people that have children with disabilities and want to learn about how to start future planning. Future planning is thinking about next week, next month, next year and 20 years from now and everything in between. It’s about making sure that your child is living a good life right now and has all of the opportunity and resources to live a good life when you’re no longer here anymore. And that’s where future planning becomes really scary to people because a lot of people only associate future planning and planning for a time after they die. But future planning can be planning for when a person is gonna move into a new house or when they’re going to get a new job.

01:25 So it’s all encompassing about a person’s life. Everything from what makes a person happy to how to legally and financially plan for the future. That is future planning. The Arc Minnesota serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We have offices throughout the state of Minnesota that focus on helping people in our community get access to services and supports that they need either through advocacy or information and assistance. We are here to help. I call us the first stop shop for anything disability-related. A lot of times people feel like they have questions about services and supports, but they don’t know what they don’t know. You know, you don’t know what is available to you out there if you don’t even know if it’s a possibility. So often if people are having questions about something they feel like is missing in their life or their child’s lives, they can call us and just talk through that issue and advocates can say, hey, what about this option?

02:20 Have you considered MA-TEFRA? Or have you considered going to Voc Rehab? All really small pieces of advocacy that we can help with here at The Arc. And it takes a whole team of us to have a good idea of how disability services works. And so to expect that a parent or a family can navigate that completely on their own is kind of absurd. So feel free to call and reach out to The Arc and our services and supports whenever. Visit us online at arcminnesota.org or call us at (833) 450-1494. My name is Allycia, I’m an advocate and a planning specialist here at The Arc. I’ve been working here for about six years now and currently I work in the areas of guardianship and future planning. So I help families and people that have questions about advocacy and want to think about and intentionally plan for their future.

03:22 And my goal as well for this podcast is to bring in other expertise to this area. Interview attorneys and financial planners and people that know a lot about these really niche areas of creating a future plan so that it’s not just my knowledge or not just The Arc’s knowledge that we’re offering. This is going to be a whole community coming together to talk about future planning. Focus on the Future is not a chronological podcast. You can cherry pick each episode for whatever you need in that moment. So if you want to learn about trust, you can just listen to that episode if you want a full knowledge about everything future planning, if you have a child with a disability, you can listen from start to finish. So basically our hope in this podcast is to help people create their future plan. To get people to put something down onto paper and to move forward with something that has been causing anxiety for a really long time. People can think about how much they need to create a will for 10, 20 years. And not actually move forward with it.

04:26 Because it’s a really intimidating experience to think about your death and to think about a time when you’re no longer going to be able to care for somebody that you love more than anything. And the reality of it is, is not creating a plan is doing more harm than the actual process of creating a plan. And that emotional readiness part is what I have found personally, mostly out of fear and concern that something isn’t going to happen correctly or they’re not going to do something right. My hope is that this podcast will give people the information that they need to take that step forward and meet with an attorney and actually create some meaningful plans for the future so that people aren’t stuck in that space for quite as long.

05:12 Because future planning doesn’t have to be scary and paralyzing. It can be hopeful and can have forward progress. The Arc also views future planning as a three legged stool of sorts. Um, obviously a three legged stool has three legs and if you take away one of those legs or if it’s short or broken, the stool doesn’t stand up. When we talk about future planning, the three legs are legal planning, financial planning, and quality of life planning. And all three of those pieces have to equally balance out for a person to feel really secure in what they have set up for the future. So it’s equally as important to plan for your financial security and to do the legal planning of your will and then to also make sure that your child is living a good life because you do so much right now as a caregiver to make sure that your kid has access to services and has people in their life that love them and is happy. And that quality of life piece is just as important, if not more important than the legal and financial planning. And in this podcast we’ll talk about all of those different pieces. Let’s start future planning right now. Something that you can do in this moment to start your path of thinking about the future.

06:27 Consider your morning routine. Think about what happens the moment your alarm goes off. Do you hit snooze? Do you, um, are you welcomed into the day by your dog, licking your fingers and waking you up? Do you jump right into the shower? Do you need coffee right away? These are the things about your daily routine that you know specifically and intimately and likely, you know, if you’re living with your child with a disability, you know what their routine is. And so, you know that the moment that they wake up, they’re really, really crabby and you need to leave them be for five minutes. Like how I am in the morning. [laughs] Or you know, that a morning without orange juice is not a good morning. Or, every morning when you wake up your son, you ask him what dreams he had. And that’s a moment that you guys share together every morning, you know, things as a caregiver that are in your head floating around that are incredibly valuable to pass on to future caregivers. You know so, so much. And part of the process in future planning is writing that stuff down because that morning routine that you know so intimately probably isn’t something that somebody else knows quite as well. And that’s something that you can start with is writing those things down and communicating that cause it’s usually the little things that you don’t even think about that are the most important things that you’re doing.

07:52 So here is your action item for the next week: write down morning and evening routines. And if you don’t live with your son or daughter, write down what you do know to start the process with a small little tidbit and move forward. In the next episode of Focus on the future, we are going to be talking about why families start future planning and how they go about the process. We’ll be joined by a family out of Minneapolis, Minnesota talking about their experience in future planning as their son turns 18. I will be explaining future planning, what concepts there are overall, what you need to do in future planning, and how The Arc can help. The Arc has a variety of different services and programs that we can assist families with as they’re thinking about the process. Tune in to our next episode. It’s going to be great. [music playing]

08:47 Focus on the Future is a podcast of The Arc Minnesota. Subscribe to the podcast on your favorite streaming service to stay up to date with the newest episodes. You can find more about Focus on the Future at arcminnesota.org/podcast. If this episode inspired questions for an advocate at The Arc, please give us a call at 833.450.1494.