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By Jay Gershman, Retirement Visions LLC, West Hartford
There is no sadder situation than seeing a senior loved one isolated in their home with no other option. Unfortunately, this is a circumstance that did not happen overnight. It likely began many years earlier with a decision to ignore the future.
For most older retirees, the choice of whether or not to move is often the most difficult. Many people have spent as many as 50 or 60 years in the same home raising their children, making family memories, and constantly making improvements to suit them. The thought of leaving a place where lines mark the wall where each child measured their height is emotionally overwhelming.
While the vast majority of seniors prefer to remain in their homes, time passes and the reality sets in that living alone in a house ill-equipped for an aging resident may not be the best option. By that time, most older adults are not able to physically and emotionally handle the stress of packing, decluttering and accepting a new life in unfamiliar surroundings. At the same time, well-meaning children voice their opinions that fall on deaf ears. The end result is often a deadlock that eventually leads to injury, or worse.
So is there a better way? There might be. It begins with open, early discussions between spouses or children as to what options are available and preferred for the future. These are best determined through actual visits to Active Life Plan communities and assisted living facilities to assess the pros and cons of a different kind of living.
Active Life Plan Communities such as Seabury or Duncaster in Bloomfield are designed to offer a wide range of housing options from private cottages to one- to three-bedroom apartments. Traditionally open to people over 55, some communities are now allowing anyone over 50 to live there. These communities often charge a one-time fee plus a monthly rent that includes food, and also provide long-term care services for those who will eventually need it.
These communities offer an opportunity to make new friends and explore a variety of hobbies. They most certainly should not be viewed as a beginning of the end as many older retirees think. For people needing more than what their own home can offer, assisted living can provide a safe place and a social life with the comfort of knowing help is around the corner if needed.
Regardless of whether these options sound at all interesting or totally out of the question, older retirees owe it to themselves and their children to face the reality that they’re not getting any younger. Having a plan that starts with talking about the future, organizing finances, decluttering the home, and making safety improvements are the first steps. According to Josh Billings, “Some folks as they grow older grow wise but most folks simply grow stubborner.”
Bottom Line: Seeking knowledge, staying open-minded, planning for eventual outcomes will leave you in control longer. After all, that’s what most people really want.
Jay Gershman is the Owner and Founder of Retirement Visions LLC, a West Hartford-based financial planning firm that focuses on comprehensive life planning and financial management. For more information, visit www.allset2retire.com. Information and advice are for guidance only and opinions expressed belong solely to the author. Securities offered through Securities Service Network, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Fee-based services are offered through SSN Advisory, Inc., a registered investment advisor.
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