Here are 10 questions to ask yourself as you prepare for the future of your aging journey, as recommended by the American Psychological Association.
How long are you likely to live? On average, a 65-year-old-man can expect to live until age 84, while a 65-year-old-woman can plan to reach 86. Approximately one in four people aged 65 will live past 90 and one in 10 past 95.
As you age, how can you take advantage of your wisdom and experience? The experience and wisdom we have accumulated can often compensate for slower reaction times or mild memory difficulties. If you take a positive view of all that you have to offer, others will too.
Can you maximize your cognitive functions as you age? Research indicates that exercising regularly and keeping your mind active helps maintain cognitive/memory skills. Pursue a hobby, learn a new sport or video game, hike, dance, or read a book a month.
Will your present living arrangement suit you as you age? Assess your current home: Does it have many stairs? Is it easy to clean? Does it have handicap-accessible/adaptable features? Will you be able to access groceries, healthcare, and religious services if you can no longer drive? Before you consider moving, investigate changing your current home. Information about this topic is at: http://www.seniorresource.com/house.htm
What do you need to do legally and financially to retire? Speak with your state professional association or your employer’s human resources department, and seek the advice of friends, colleagues, and a financial planner.
Will you outlive your financial resources? You can calculate your Social Security entitlement and conduct a financial checkup through the Social Security Administration’s website, http://www.ssa.gov/planners/calculators
Does your family know your wishes if you were to have a serious health problem and become unable to communicate? Clarify in writing your wishes and values about the care you want to receive if you become ill. Advance directives, such as a living will or durable power of attorney for healthcare, provide a formal means to specify who you would want to make decisions for you and what these decisions should be.
What services would you require if you became frail, sick, or needy? Reach out to AgeSpan and your local Council on Aging to find a variety of services for you and your family.
Will Medicare cover nursing home care? Medicare pays for only part of nursing home care and for a very limited time and only if you have been discharged from a hospital. For information on Medicare, contact our SHINE program for unbiased health-insurance counseling at no cost.