Over the last ten days or so, we posted a series of articles – all nationally released – about growing older. The Dutch Village Where Everyone has Dementia was a wonderful article about a town modeled after the village in The Truman Show – you remember, perfect streets, cute shops, everything laid out precisely . . . everything wired with cameras.
trumanPeople with dementia live in a real town, live real lives, are monitored, protected, yet are as free as possible to continue to live as, well, regular human beings.
Another article explored the rapidly growing number of people over 65 working – not just for a few months or years but, as long as possible. Regular jobs, consulting, non-traditional, even internet based jobs, as well as full time volunteering seniors are working, some as long as physically possible. Not because they have to – though some, regrettably do – but because they want to stay involved with the world.
The third article concerned living and dying at home. Simple enough, in theory, the story in The Atlantic, explored the growing trend of seniors organizing ‘village’ groups to pool resources and make living in their homes and apartments viable for their remaining lives. The reverse side of ‘it takes a village,’ it was all about seniors working together so they could live alone, be left alone, live their own lives. The keys to this? Planning, organization, coordination.
We posted these, in that exact order, because taken together they illustrate one of our firm’s overriding themes – elder planning, when done right, when done early, is planning for life.
For far too long, there’s been a stigma attached to elder planning. It’s been perceived, and still is to a large extent, as planning for what are mostly, overwhelmingly negative events. “Have a health care proxy because you don’t want the courts to make medical decisions for you,” Have a power of attorney so you know the person making the decisions is your person,” “Plan now for a nursing home so your assets are protected,” so much more.
Don’t mistake us – these are important documents, it’s a matter of being responsible. But, the impetus for planning shouldn’t be fear, shouldn’t be an emergency, shouldn’t be solely as a protection against dire circumstances that may or may not ever occur.
The impetus for planning should be a desire to ensure that one lives the best post-retirement life possible. To enjoy a second or third act.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that people today are living much longer and healthier lives than ever. It seems like at least once a month we post something about a health breakthrough that extents that even further.
The thing, then is this: proper planning allows you to explore all the possibilities – the wonderful possibilities – available after 65. Or 70. Or 80. 90.
Sure, elder planning is planning for emergencies, but every day it becomes more and more about being able to be in position to take advantage of every current possibility and all the others that arise every day.