The Plan You Shouldn’t Live Without
One thing that can make aging difficult is refusing to accept it.
This isn’t suggesting that people sit on the porch in a rocking chair and wait for the end to come.
It means acknowledging changing abilities, recognizing future needs and creating plans to live the best possible life.
Many people make a financial plan and contract for insurance to cover medical needs, but fail to give housing choices any serious thought. This unfortunate path of “aging in place by default” can quickly ruin a financial plan and ultimately a senior’s quality of life. Many discover too late that their health (or the health of their partner) is difficult to manage in their current home and their finances won’t support the services they need to live safely and comfortably. They are stuck, miserable and at risk for a crisis.
There are two opportunities to make a decision:
1. Wait for a crisis (a fall, a fire, a rapid decline in health) and then be forced to make an emotional decision.
2. Pre-plan and make a well thought out and confident decision.
Most people’s default is to put off decision making because keeping the status quo is easy and they don’t like to think about change. Unfortunately, this indecisiveness usually doesn’t end well and sometimes it can end tragically.
If you plan:
YOU KEEP CONTROL
1. You don’t have to take action right away.
2. The plan can change.
3. Important decisions have already been made (by YOU) if the unexpected happens.
If you wait until a crisis:
YOU GIVE UP CONTROL
1. Decisions have to be made and implemented quickly.
2. Your current circumstances will dictate where and how your live.
3. Someone else may make important decisions for you without your input.
A plan is a roadmap. By sharing the plan with your loved ones, you are showing them you want to maintain control and they have an idea of how to move forward if something should happen with your ability to communicate your wishes. Many seniors have granted power of attorney to someone they trust, but have not given that person direction on the decisions they would likely be called upon to make.
Before you can make a plan, you need to ask yourself:
How do I want to spend the rest of my life? Do I have certain goals I want to accomplish that are going to require pre-planning or a lifestyle change?
Write your goals and desires down. When you write things down, they become more concrete. Refer back to them because it makes it easier to evaluate your decisions required to build the life you want.
Not only do you need to keep your goals in mind, but you also need to think realistically about your (and your partner’s if you have one) future as you age. This is something people don’t want to spend time thinking about. It forces them to face a reality that may not match with their hopes and dreams.
The truth is, making a plan doesn’t mean you will necessarily be facing your worst case scenario. It also doesn’t have to be implemented right away. It’s a safety net. It allows you to live your life with confidence because you know that no matter what the future holds, you’ll be prepared and your loved ones will feel confident helping you carry out your plan.
Watch for our part 2 of this blog on this topic: Questions to consider before deciding if a private home or senior community is the best fit for you.
Jill Hart is an author, consultant, Seniors Real Estate Specialist and Certified Senior Advisor. You can learn more about her services at https://silverpathwayshome.com/