BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET)– Getting older isn’t something we like to think about, but it’s necessary to be prepared just in case. That’s why the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services is starting its first-ever Multigenerational Plan for Aging. Through this new planning service, they hope to help community members plan for their future, so they don’t need to worry about it when the time comes.

“When we’re looking to do future planning,” explains the NDDHS’s Assistant Director of Aging and Adult Services Michelle Gayette, “we’re kind of talking about making sure you have a voice, making sure you designate what care should look like for you, who you want to make your decisions if you can no longer make your own decisions, and how you want those decisions to look.”

Ideally, this service is meant for those who may be in their later years — but even if you might think you’re young, Gayette says that you should still be planning.

“We’re really talking about across the lifespan there,” she states. “A person at the age of 18 should have these documents in place because their parents can’t help them if they get in an accident and don’t have a voice. They really need to start designating someone to make those decisions for them, or help them make those decisions in the event of a crisis.”

Insight to Solutions’ Janell Regimbal says that there are many different stages to aging, and it can look different for everyone — which is exactly why it’s so important to have a multigenerational plan for aging already in place.

“There’s just so many dynamics when we think about aging, Regimbal says, “how to do it well and effectively, and how to have the resources and the support that you need.”

In order to get a better idea of what North Dakota needs, the Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging you to fill out a survey that you can find here. If you would like to get involved in the planning process, you can email to find out more.