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Senior Preparedness: Tips For Planning
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, May 2010

We do not age overnight. We get older over time, and this allows us to plan for later years. Even if you are a young 80, there are still certain things to plan for, so why not begin when you still have some control over what happens to you?

Here are some tips to get you started:

Decide Where You Want To Be - Would you like to stay in your home, or move elsewhere? What kind of help (and living arrangements) do you need to consider? Weigh the options, consult with family and friends, and do research. If staying in home, what will you need to do to adapt your house for future needs? Begin to plan accordingly.

Identify People To Help You - Who will you enlist to care about you and look after you regarding health, finance, transportation, nutrition, and housekeeping as you get older? Discuss scenarios with family members, friends, neighbors, and professionals in the aging field to form a plan and structure.

Protect Against Loneliness - Think about ways to keep from feeling lonely, isolated, and cut off. Investigate programs at senior centers, community organizations, local adult education programs, exercise facilities, churches, synagogues and temples. Are they nearby? Engage with peers and others who can offer emotional and practical support.

Maintain an Active Mind - Consider ways to participate in activities that are intellectually engaging. Look for concerts, art classes, reading groups, or community center events in your area.

Have Backup Plans - What is your emergency plan if something catastrophic happens to your partner? Have you cleared out the extra room in back in the event that you need a caregiver to move in within a few days' notice? Do you have information a home food delivery service in case you are unable to go shopping? Do you understand what your insurance will cover regarding care and/or lifestyle changes?

Maintaining your independence and doing it your way is the key to graceful aging and managing through unexpected crisis.

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