For the past several months, my blog posts have focused on illness, dying and death. This month I wish to talk about living.
I am reading a wonderful book called Harmony House by Ruth Hay. It centers around six women who are at a point in their lives where they recognize the desire to live with the support of others but do not wish to go into a retirement community (note: I have nothing against retirement communities). It is a lovely and uplifting story and it got me thinking. Why do we wait until there is a crisis in our lives to plan for the future? These women are all in the prime of their lives, relatively healthy and both physically and socially active. Yet, they are looking ahead and planning for the future while they can do so with comparative ease. They are each taking a hard look at the various aspects of their lives including health, social, spiritual and financial.
Recently, I had coffee with insurance and retirement strategist Maitin Rhode, Senior Marketing Director at World Financial Group where we addressed the questions that are frequently in the front of our clients’ minds. Although we approach the questions from different perspectives, the questions are similar.
The key is to look ahead now and plan for the future while you are able, to be prepared. Being prepared requires us to ask many questions. But, asking those questions does not mean that you are dissatisfied or unhappy with the life you are living right now.
Being prepared may include having the appropriate insurance – life, health, disability or long-term care. It might mean having a comprehensive financial plan with retirement strategies. It may include thinking about illness and disability, powers of attorney, advance directives and wills. It may include taking a long, hard look at your living situation before the need arises.
Are you happy with your life right now? How is your health? What are your financial resources and options? What do you do to have fun? Do you have a community of people with which to play? Is a spiritual community important to you? Is there one close by? Where do you want to live? What do you want your life to look like in 5 years? 10 years or more? Is there anything you can change? Do you have the tools in place to provide for your best life now as well as when you get older? Is there something you can do now to ensure that you can live the life you envision for your future self?
Many of my clients have told me that they want to stay active in their communities and continue to live in their current homes for as long as possible. Is your physical environment safe and conducive to aging-in place? Have the “treasures” that you have collected over a lifetime of living become tripping hazards? Would the ultimate beneficiaries of those treasures like to receive them as gifts from you now rather than wait until you die?
Have friends and family moved to other locations causing you to lack a good social network? In the book I am reading, the women address these issues as they embark on a journey to find and create a communal living space where there will be like-minded people around for support. As one of the women notes “good health is not just physical. We need daily contact with others to keep us mentally healthy.”
While none of the issues above may be insurmountable, when thinking about staying in your current home and community, they are things to consider. Have you asked yourself some of the questions above?
Do you need help determining how to make your living space work for you in the best possible way so that you can stay there as long as you need? Do you need assistance planning for the future? I would be happy to help. Please contact me at 215.435.560 (text or voice) or email me at Rie@RieOrganize.com.