As you enter your fifties and beyond, you may have uncertainty about the future. You may wonder what lies ahead. Rather than just wait and accept whatever happens, savvy people develop a plan and get organized as they approach their golden years. Just as you would not leave for an overseas flight and cruise without taking along your passport, credit cards, cash, airline ticket and cruise ticket, you should get your ducks in a row to as you plan for the future. Therefore, for the 76,000,000 baby boomers in America, here are some recommendations to use when creating your aging tool kit, to craft your best life.
To build your aging tool kit, gather your financial, medical, legal and emergency information. Your financial information should include your insurance, banking, investments and assets. You should include account numbers and the names and contact information of insurance agents, accountants, brokers and financial advisors. Your medical information should include all of your medical conditions, treating doctors and therapists, medications with dosages, your blood type, drug allergies and the name of the pharmacy you use.
In your legal information, include the location of your will, living will and advance directive, as well as the names and contact information of the persons who serve as your power of attorney, health care proxy and guardian. Make sure that your name and contact information, social security number, emergency contact person and phone number, passwords and passcodes are contained in your emergency information.
Compile the information into a paper notebook or organizer. There are many of these organizers on the market. Inside the organizer, write the date you gathered the data, so you can tell at a glance if your organizer is up-to-date. Store your organizer in a logical location, so it can be found when needed. Let one or two trusted friends or relatives know the location of your organizer. However, do not keep it out in plain view, since in contains account numbers, passcodes and your Social Security number.
Stay healthy and have fun
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) developed materials for older adults to take control of their lives. People who participate in NCOA’s Aging Mastery Program experience improvements in their social interaction, nutrition, and physical activity. The program covers all areas of aging well including finance, health and well-being, personal growth, relationships and involvement in the community.
Know how to get information and services
The New York Times created a collection of online resources for seniors and their caregivers or adult children. The article has links to these government websites:
- National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine’s medical information for aging adults
- National Institute on Aging’s research and clinical trials
- S. Administration on Aging’s helpful information on a variety of topics for seniors
The article also provides links to many websites where seniors can access useful information on:
- Assisted living
- Home health care
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Benefits programs
- Reverse mortgages
- Hospice and palliative care
With the proper information and some work on your part, you can craft a playbook to navigate your golden years. Every state has different laws and procedures, so always talk with an elder law attorney in your area.
A Place For Mom, Inc. “Caregiver Toolkit.” (accessed July 11, 2017) http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/caregiver-toolkit
CaregiverStress.com. “Senior Emergency Kit Worksheets and Checklists.” (accessed July 11, 2017)
The New York Times. “Caring for the Elderly.” (accessed July 11, 2017) http://www.nytimes.com/ref/health/noa_resources.html
National Council on Aging. “Aging Mastery Program.™” (accessed July 11, 2017) https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/aging-mastery-program/