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Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month, honoring seniors for the vital and positive role they play in our communities. This year’s theme is Planning Ahead to Age My Way.
Just as every person is unique, so too is how they age and how they choose to do it – and there is no “right” way. Still, most people over 50 say it’s important to keep living in their current home for as long as possible. However, the reality is that many of them have not prepared to “age in place.” While Age My Way will look different for each person, here are common things everyone can consider ensuring they can live independently in the comfort of their home for as long as possible.
- Connection: Maintain social activities and relationships to combat social isolation and stay connected to your community. The BA Senior Activity Center is a great place to do this!
- Access: Make home improvements and modifications, use assistive technologies, and customize supports to help you better age in place. Consider implementing any smart technologies before you need them in case there is a learning curve.
- Engagement: The toll of COVID on older adults, especially those in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, has brought the issue of living independently at home into the national spotlight. As a result, there are policy proposals around changing the ability of Medicare and Medicaid to pay for virtual care and in-home help. Consider reaching out to your lawmakers to voice your support for expanding Medicare and Medicaid to include home health care and assisted living services that can quickly drain your savings when you need to pay out-of-pocket. Remain involved and contribute to your community through work, volunteer, and/or civic participation opportunities.
- Planning: Think about what you will need and want in the future, from home and community-based services to community activities that interest you. Speak with a financial advisor to make a plan for how you’ll pay for things like home health care. Consult with an estate planning attorney to legally document your wishes, appoint trusted decision makers, avoid the need for an adult guardianship, and increase the likelihood that you plans will be honored.
Diverse communities are strong communities. Older adults play vital, positive roles in our communities – as family members, friends, mentors, volunteers, civic leaders, members of the workforce, and more. When older adults can remain involved and included in our communities for as long as possible, everyone benefits. Start planning now to Age Your Way. We need you!
Don’t go at it alone. Littleton Legal is here to answer any questions you may have about estate planning. Call us today at (918) 608-1836 to set up your complimentary consultation.
*This article was originally published in the Silver Notes, May 2022, Vol. 32, No. 5, the monthly newsletter of Broken Arrow Seniors, Inc.