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 became a Medicaid recipient. 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 to age gracefully. The statistics show 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? 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 $500,000 that can be used solely for in-home health care. The insurance is expensive - $4000 to $5000 a year but that’s the monthly cost at an assisted living center or for in-home care.
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.
Lastly, if your life is insured for over a million dollars there might be a market for that policy. It depends on your age and health – again – the magic number is $500,000.
The big “Kahuna” in aging is the loss of cognition. 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, all you can do is delay or avoid it. If you’re genetic history has some dementia component – exercise, eat right and have friends. Today’s studies show that our present day habits affect how we age and our long term cognitive function.
LIVE LIFE and prepare to live it well!