Creative Planning For Your Senior Years Should Begin NOW
Just as most younger people make detailed plans before entering college or starting their careers, older Americans must also carefully plan how they want to live out the last decades of their lives. If you’ll start this process early, you’re much more likely to have many positive options and choices available.
Yet before older Americans or “seniors” start thinking about vacations and other pleasure pursuits – it’s crucial to first address such basic needs as finances, housing and medical care. A good way to start this process is by asking yourself each of the following questions.
What family, financial and legal resources do I currently have?
When – and in what order -- should I begin drawing upon those resources in the most efficient manner?
If I’m short on all or most resources – how can I immediately begin creating a supportive community of friends, relatives and others to help me?
Your financial and legal resources require immediate planning and regular oversight
You’ll always need to know more than just how much money you have and how quickly you can liquidate it in case of an emergency. Although it’s important to be able to access large amounts of money should you or your spouse require immediate medical care that isn’t readily covered by insurance, there are other more critical issues you should address first.
Stated simply, everyone needs to secure Medical Power of Attorney documents, a Will and other supporting documents. You can easily acquire this paperwork by meeting with your Houston estate planning lawyer long before you reach your senior years. This will help you obtain the best medical care available – in keeping with your preferences. You can also inquire about other documents that can grant trusted individuals the right to handle your finances (especially if you’re single without adult children) if you become temporarily incapacitated.
Given how many older Americans now live alone, these matters should never be postponed. As of 2010, about 12% of women between the ages of 80 and 84 were unmarried and childless. By 2013, some experts predict that about 16% of women in that age group will fit that description. Of course, many men may also have similar needs since the average woman only outlives the average male by a few years.
Once you and your attorney have created all this legal paperwork, be sure to give copies to trusted relatives or friends so that they can make sure you obtain the care you need right when you need it the most.
If you’re age sixty and single (or even if married) – start proactively deciding where you’ll live
Afraid to face the reality of eventual death, too many people refuse to move into proper housing before their health seriously deteriorates. When this happens, helpful family members or friends are often greatly inconvenienced by your avoidable tardiness.
Give serious thought to moving into a place now that offers different levels of care. Otherwise, if a sudden emergency develops, you might not wind up where you want to be. Try looking for unique living arrangements where seniors can blend in with others of all ages. Places like Hope Meadows are often a blessing to many.
Think positive if you have little money – consider part-time work – and keep socializing
Stay active pursuing activities that are meaningful, useful and fun. As you get to know others better, you may want to suggest becoming part of each other’s support network. Friendships with others of all ages can prove very beneficial to everyone involved.
If you currently have a tech-savvy friend or family member -- and want to live at home as long as possible -- be sure to check out the newest “apps” that can help keep you and your financial world safe.
Always be kind to yourself. If current media articles make you feel that you made poor choices in the past regarding marriage and children, keep in mind that married couples (and older singles) with children don’t always “have it made” regarding help while growing older. Many of these people have adult children who:
Live far away;
Are estranged from them;
Are coping with serious addictions – or;
Are barely staying afloat in their own busy family and work lives.
Finally, since so many entrepreneurs are now rushing into the “longevity market,” you must make sure you’re interacting with reputable people and not scam artists. Just because someone is financially “bonded” to do their work, doesn’t mean they’ll do what’s best for you. Stay in touch with your lawyer and always have at least one trusted friend help you make critical decisions.
Please feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our Murray Lobb attorneys so we can help you prepare all the estate planning legal paperwork that you need. We can also review any contracts you’re being asked to sign regarding a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). We look forward to being of service to you.