The final phase of the MIT AgeLab’s four phases of retirement is The Solo Journey. Unfortunately, this phase is where health issues can quickly come to the forefront. Serious illness, disability or the death of a spouse can greatly affect daily life. You can better manage the pitfalls associated with the aging process by considering these items:
Make Sure Your Documents Reflect Your Wishes
Revisit your estate planning documents to ensure they represent your current wishes. Estate planning documents may become outdated as life events and transitions occur. Review healthcare proxies and powers of attorney to designate individuals that you trust will act on your behalf.
It is also a great time to take an inventory of your assets. Review account titling and beneficiary designations to make sure that assets pass in accordance with your wishes while avoiding the time, money, and hassle of the probate process. Learn more about how you can avoid “The Lawyer Tax.” On a more positive note, emotional well-being for individuals age 75+ is higher than for any other age group.
Have A Conversation With Your Caregivers
Health events and illness can dictate the need for caregiver assistance, by either a family member or healthcare professional. Tensions can arise between aging parents and their adult children, as a well-meaning child may feel pressured to make decisions on their parents’ behalf. Avoid tensions by discussing your intentions and preferences for what you may need help with, whether it be some assistance around the house or someone to run errands for you.
If you have a long-term care insurance policy, now may be the time to use it. To qualify for long-term care benefits, you must be unable to perform 2 of the 6 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Tapping your policy can make paying for a home healthcare aide much more affordable. Some insurance policies also allow a cash benefit to pay a family member who is helping around the house.
Explore Your Options
According to the data, women tend to outlive men. In a 2016 Pew Research study, women make up about 69% of the 12.1 million older Americans living alone. Household chores, tasks, and errands that were once split by two people can become burdensome for one person to handle. Review your options for alternative living arrangements like downsizing, making home modifications, or moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community. Plan ahead – having options will minimize the need to make a decision during a time of heightened stress.