When Planning to Age in Place
Trying to plan may be hard since you never know exactly what your needs will be. But thinking of what may happen and those what ifs are great places to start. Consider your family medical history and your personal medical history. Think of your living situation, too. Have you lived alone or close by to family your entire life? Do you and your spouse both have long life expectancies?
Begin by talking with your doctor about your family and personal medical history and see how specific diseases and disorders may affect your mobility, mentality, and daily living. Read up on and discuss with other retirees their experiences, too.
Another great aspect in planning to age at home is the accessibility to help and care. Though it will sometimes come at a cost for services, there usually are many local and states offices that offer help to elders. Care options you may want to consider and plan for:
Personal care – Such as bathing, hairstyling, and even dressing, a family member or a trained aide could come in for your morning routine if you need.
Household care – Grocery shopping, lawncare, and even cleaning. Many groceries stores will do over the phone or online orders and deliver them to your home post-pandemic. Hiring help for housework and lawncare will be easier since these services are always available through various companies, large and small. If you already know someone who has a lawncare specialist or housekeeper, you may be able to hire them, too.
Cooking and meals – Meals are a good time to stay social. Perhaps each week host some friends or family and have a little potluck. Not only will there be leftovers for yourself and the others, but you can spend time catching up with family or friends. Eating out may even be an option. There are meal delivery programs that are low-cost or even free.
Financial care – The biggest worry for retirees is money management. Ranging from paying bills on time to medical bills and health insurance, depending on where you live, there are resources you have access to. Having a conversation with a trusted family member like a child or niece or nephew about your finances is an excellent first step. If you are able, hire a financial advisor to make sure everything looks good. Paying bills online and setting up autopay will ensure that utility bills and monthly premiums are paid on time. Some banks even offer financial services for seniors for free if you have been banking with them for a while.
The trick with financial care in retirement, especially as you age, is to make sure you do not fall victim to scams. Never give sensitive information like your Social Security number or banking information to someone unless you placed the call. Regularly check (or have someone do so) bills to make sure there are not unusual charges.
Health care – Often a tricky category, making sure you are covered here ranges from taking your medicine on time to hospital stays and aftercare. For medicines, there are special pill boxes that allow you to set out an entire week’s worth of medicine at once. If you have recently had a hospital stay and need to arrange aftercare such as temporary assisted living or rehabilitation, if your family is unable to, discharge planners at most hospitals can plan with you. Some insurance, even Medicare plans, may cover all or a portion of a home health aide. And lastly, if you need the doctor’s recommendations and directions written, your doctor or nurse can make sure those are in the summary for you. Or a family member or friend can help with those during your stay.