“The trick is growing up without growing old.” Casey Stengal
Most of my 65-and-over friends work – one has a retail store, another (at 80) still does Public Relations for several large clients, one practices environmental law and one is a real estate developer. We’re also very involved philanthropically – we write checks, chair events and give time. A couple of “Giving Circles” in which I’m involved, are looking for “younger women”!
All my baby boomer friends expect to work until they no longer want to work . . . me included. I was at a lawyer’s conference recently and several of the speakers were well into their 70s and still dispensing excellent, cogent advice. My college roommate is still an activist for Women’s Rights – her organization helped fund this year’s Oscar winning documentary, Period. End of Sentence. Our undergraduate university gave her an honorary doctorate this past January – she has no plans to lie low! Each one of us has different ideas of who and what we want to be so let’s get to it!
One: No more retirement – it’s “My Time.” You know yourself, your values and your strengths and weaknesses. Now is the time to re-imagine what you can do for the next 20 years or the rest of your life! Assess where you are, who you are, your skill sets and design your future. It takes some honest self-reflection but it’s worth it. You’re the beneficiary!
Two: Know Medicare! You only have one chance to sign up – there are no “do-overs” so do it right! In fact, any change you make afterwards incurs a monetary penalty. You can go to medicare.gov or AARP for answers but make sure you ask the right questions. I always suggest using an independent insurance agent – they cost you $0 and can give you a variety of options for your specific needs.
Three: Have your teams! You need your money team to “preplan”. Your members should be a financial advisor, an elder care lawyer and maybe a tax expert. There’s your health team led by a primary care provider, usually an internist or cardiologist. Women should also have a gynecologist and men a urologist. You’ll also need a dentist. Other medical providers such as dermatologists, eye doctors and podiatrists are on an “as needed” basis.
Four: Where do you want to live?? According to several studies 77% of those over 70 want to age in place. You can do it! You might have to install easy-entry showers, purchase reminder pill dispensers, and room sensors that track movement but those are all minimal investments. If your home has different levels you might consider a move to a one floor house or apartment in the same neighborhood. If Assisted Living is your preference, there are many fine facilities to try. Most allow you to come for a week simply to see if you ‘fit in.’
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Fred Rogers