The hardest thing I ever did was put my 87 year old Mother’s belongings in a 4 X 4 box and admit her to a nursing home. We had run out of money for her care. She now qualified for Medicaid. A summa cum laude graduate of American University, a Pan American Flight Attendant, a mother of three who traveled the world was now reduced to a box and a bed in a shared room with a stranger.
This can be avoided. It’s not just “preplanning” it’s strategic planning. It’s not just money, it’s the holistic approach of how can I age gracefully. The statistics show us that the longer we live . . . the longer we live. Twenty years ago, 80 was a “ripe old age”. Today, most of the ‘greatest generation’ that is still alive is 90 plus.
Let’s look in the mirror and ask ourselves questions: Am I healthy? How long have members of my family lived? Do I own my home without a mortgage? Do I have Long Term Care Insurance? Do I have a solid group of family and/or friends? These are the things that will sustain you as you “grow into your eighties”.
Long Term Care Insurance is a must unless you have a million dollars put away. These companies will pay for licensed home health care aides to come stay with you. There are a multitude of options and if you’re insurable then there is a plan for you.
If you’re not insurable, my next suggestion is a Reverse Mortgage. This is basically a line of credit using your home as collateral. Again, there are many options available and it allows you to stay in your home.
The big problem for everyone as they age is the loss of cognitive function. If you’re watching your loved one “lose it” remember this – dementia does not mean stupid or loss of intelligence – it means loss of memory. You cannot plan for it, you can simply do your best to delay or avoid it. If you’re genetic history has some dementia component – exercise, eat right and have friends. Today’s studies show that what we do today affects how we live later.
Here’s why we need friends – the loss of cognitive function also means we’re more vulnerable to exploiters.