We live in a society that works feverishly to avoid aging. Between anti-wrinkle creams and efforts to dye away hints of gray hair, there are always new methods being marketed to help us stay young. However, aging shouldn’t be a phase of life that is feared, but rather embraced as the “golden years” that have taken a life time to reach. For some, the fear of aging is associated with nearing the end of life. However, for others, much of the anxiety centered around aging is related to the unknowns in terms of health, how they will be cared for and where they will live out their senior years.
There are many reasons that aging can be frightening; and a topic that many would rather avoid. However, by planning ahead, you may find that planning ahead for the uncertainties of aging provides an unexpected peace of mind. Here are a few tips to help talk about aging with your loved ones and prepare for the rigors of aging.
1. Discuss your wishes with family
Taking the time to talk about your desires for care as a senior may help you feel at peace with the fact that your spouse, or children, would know your wishes in case of an unexpected medical event or diagnosis. Talk about whether you would prefer to be taken care of at home by loved ones and a homecare agency using homecare software or homecare systems to manage your care, or if you would prefer to stay in a nursing home. Advanced health directives and living wills can also help ensure that your desires are legally documented, giving your family the necessary power to ensure your wishes are carried out. While this is likely a topic that no one really wants to talk about, the end result can be an unexpected peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.
2. Look at the options
Today, getting older doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll live out your days in a nursing home eating mushy green beans. There are a wealth of options for seniors based on your health, desires and finances. In-home care, and the power of technology like homecare software and homecare systems make it realistic for many seniors to live independently at home with care a few days a week, or around-the-clock. Assisted living facilities or campuses allow seniors to live with their peers in small communities and nursing homes are still available for seniors needing their services – some with very talented cooks! Regardless of how your golden years play out, there are living options designed to allow you to maintain your dignity.
3. Make financial arrangements:
Aside from the change in living conditions and cognitive and physical disabilities, many people worry about the costs associated with aging. How will you pay for medications, medical expenses, home care and the necessities on a limited budget? Planning for elder care costs now by evaluating projected retirement income, social security and potentially purchasing a long-term care insurance policy can give a realistic picture of the cost of aging, allowing you to prepare your finances well in advance and avoid financial anxiety to the best possible extent.
Perhaps getting older isn’t as glamorous as hitting the night clubs in your 20’s, or landing big career moves in your 30’s – but it is a time to be proud of your accomplishments and celebrate, rather than shy from the inevitable changes. With a little planning and the help of a circle of care, including a homecare agency armed with a homecare software or homecare system, you may be able to reduce your worries about getting older.