Maybe you’re looking to retire in the next few years. Or maybe you’re not sure you want to retire, but you want to be prepared for the unexpected, including age-related challenges. Studies show that today’s adults have done very little planning for their senior years—but giving it some thought now makes it more likely you’ll have the quality of life you want later.
By the time you face the challenges of later life, chances are you’ve learned some essential planning skills that you might not even realize. You may have raised children, held several jobs or organized a community gathering or family reunion. In addition, you may have navigated medical and financial crises, times of emotional upheaval and family stress. Harness what you have learned from these life events to take control in planning for your future.
It’s impossible to predict when challenges to health and well-being will arise, so planning for your senior years should be flexible. If you begin early, you have a good chance to put in place the outline of a life that has meaning for you, that allows you to pursue your interests and reflects your priorities.
Where do I want to live? This could include geographic location, proximity to family, private home vs. condominium, accessibility of recreational activities such as gardening or exercise, and how adaptable the home environment would be to new life circumstances.
What do I want to do? Consider whether you want to work full-time or part-time or use these later years to pursue interests you’ve never had time to explore before. Maybe there are volunteer opportunities that would suit your schedule or ways in which you can help out with your family or in your community.
How do I envision the rest of my life? This is a tough question with no easy answer, but it’s important to look within and start thinking about it in your younger years. Maybe you want to live in one place forever or maybe you want to travel the world. Think about activities that are important to you now and those that could continue to be important as you get older. Consider family members and the care they may need and how that impacts your life. You will also have to consider financial circumstances.
Bring Others Into the Planning Process
Answering these questions involves thought and it’s helpful to bring in the help of others involved. A spouse or significant other obviously needs to be part of the conversation, but it’s also good to let your adult children know what you’re thinking. Together you can make a plan. Be honest and realistic. Consider talking to a financial advisor or eldercare attorney for perspective on your financial resources and how they impact your choices.
There are many resources available to help including your local library, community workshops and the internet. By getting a jump start and doing some soul searching, you can get to the heart of what is most important to you and the quality of your life … for now and into the future.
The Wilf Campus for Senior Living can also help. Whether planning for yourself or a relative, the staff can help you learn about services for seniors, right in your own backyard. Call 732-568-1155 for more information.
The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.