Aging Gracefully: What do I Need to Know?

By Beth Cooper Ingle, Certified Senior Advisor®


As we near our Retirement years, many of us start to wonder are these really the “best years of our life?”  Maybe your health is not what you had hoped it would be or you are not in a good place financially. How do you make the best of Aging Gracefully?


Here are some things to think about and plan for:

  1. Is your home safe for you to live out your retirement years? Do you have stairs to navigate that may be difficult as you age?  Even though you’ve lived there most of your adult life it may not be a good place to be if you have no bedroom or bathroom on the main level. Or maybe the two acres of land that you absolutely loved caring for and watching all the wildlife will be too much to mow 10 years from now. Think about downsizing your space now. Maybe it doesn’t require moving from the multi-level home with 3–4 bedrooms, but it would be a good idea to start going through your ”stuff” and deciding if it’s time to sell, give to your adult children, or take to Goodwill. This will be much easier now rather than when the time comes that you have to move to an Assisted Living Community or Health Center.
  2. Now would also be a good time to review your Will, Powers of Attorney, Life Insurance, and Financials. Do you still have an ex-spouse listed as the beneficiary of your Life Insurance? It’s time to dust off that paperwork and make sure everything is up to date. If you’ve not prepared any of these documents then now is the time to make an appointment with a trusted professional and do some Estate Planning.
  3. Decide whether “Aging in Place,” meaning staying in your current home to live out your life is feasible or will you be looking for a Retirement/Assisted Living community to enjoy. Know your options in your area. Determine if a Retirement Continuum of Care Center* is best or an Assisted or Supportive Living Community is right for you. Talk to your friends. See where they plan to go. Tour what’s available in your area. Contact their Marketing Director and schedule an appointment. They love to show potential residents around and plan on staying for lunch. Ask the hard questions also. How much does this cost? What if I need more care as I age, does the cost go up?  Are my meals included?  Can I have my beloved cat or dog stay with me?  If you plan on staying in your home, contact Home Health Care agencies in your area to find out what services they offer, how much they will be and if they accept Medicare or Medicaid.
  4. Plan financially for if/when the inevitable occurs. How will I pay for the help I may need? If you have Long Term Care Insurance, review your plan and know what your coverage pays for. If you are unsure, contact the agent/company you purchased the plan through. They will be able to explain the terms of the plan. If you have other means, such as savings, annuities, or other assets, consult a financial planner to see how long these funds will last. If you do not have the funds to pay for Assisted Living or a Skilled Health Center (Nursing Home) for the rest of your expected life then you may qualify for Medicaid. Know the rules! Talk to a professional well-versed in Medicaid rules to avoid any mistakes.
  5. Lastly, share your plans with your family! Have the specifics written down somewhere and make sure they know where to go to find your Power of Attorney papers, Wills, Trusts, instructions for your funeral, etc. Nothing is more stressful for your family than wanting to help carry out your wishes but not knowing what they are.


              For more information, contact Medical Reimbursement & Management Services. We focus on the issues of the elderly: legal, financial, free guidance for residential referrals, and related healthcare issues Call: 309-693-1060. Website:  Location: 809 W. Detweiller Dr., Peoria, IL 61615.

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