It’s a function of aging: we are forced to face some issues we don’t have to deal with when we’re younger. Whether it’s making sure we have enough money to get by as we age, the loss of our independence, or the appearance of new vulnerabilities, here are a few things to consider as we become aging seniors.
The money issue. When it comes to money, at a certain stage in life, your priorities change. Instead of accumulating wealth to prepare for retirement, and living at home – or more likely in a senior community post-retirement – your priorities shift to preserving whatever assets you have left. Making sure your legal affairs are in order is also of vital significance, as we consider end-of-life plans, such as paying off debts and preparing plans for a funeral. Health issues also loom large at this point, as we consider medical treatment and government programs – such a Medicaid and Medicare – to support health care, as well as long-term care.
The retirement question. Society has changed. The days of automatic retirement at age 65, complete with a gold watch, are a relic of the past. Retirement is no longer the only option when reaching the “golden age” of 65. Many of us continue to work as we grow older; lifespans have increased and many of us choose to continue to work in some capacity, whether it’s continuing at a long-time workplace or shifting gears to a new profession, many times to fulfill a long-held dream. Many of us are too healthy and productive to spend our waning days parked in front of a television or playing golf. Eventually, though, the aging process catches up with all of us. For some of us, it happens before we hit 65, but many people remain healthy and productive well into our 80s and even 90s. As we age, our senior years can bog us down, as a struggle to keep our heads above water both physically and financially; health care costs rise, savings are depleted and money just never seems to be there when we need it.
Getting help when you need it. Some aging seniors and their families ignore the need to seek out expert advice when planning for their senior years. Unfortunately, it takes an event such as a fall or being unable to meet financial obligations for medical care, that jolt us into finally taking action. By this time, it is often too late, as assets are already depleted and the family isn’t willing to accept responsibility for oversight and care.
Savings and investments just aren’t there anymore. While many of us reach our senior years with a significant amount of savings and investments, far too many of us don’t. They are particularly vulnerable to unexpected expenses – usually medical – that come their way.
Social Security and pensions aren’t enough to cover their expenses.
Losing your independence. The older population can lose their independence because of advanced age, and general weakness and frailty which requires intervention and support from their family. For far too many seniors, though, dementia is a factor. The risk of dementia, or a loss of cognitive capacity, increases considerably as we grow older; for aging seniors who are 80 and older, the probability of being diagnosed with dementia is almost fifty-percent, which means almost half of all seniors will experience some form of cognitive impairment. Far too many families wait too long before intervening to assist their loved one to maintain independence.
Aging seniors are vulnerable. As we grow older, there is a tendency to develop an almost child-like trust of others, which can make them more vulnerable to financial exploitation. This can take several forms; scammers are always looking for ways to use the phone and internet to take advantage of seniors, robbing them of their savings, and many seniors fall for scams from handymen, or mechanics and other service providers. Finally, some financial services practitioners will sell financial products to seniors that are not suitable for them and that may result in losses or the inability to access their funds.
If you have any questions about these, or other issues facing seniors, contact South Coast Post Acute today. For more than 40 years, our caring, committed staff has worked to make us the post-acute community of choice in Southern California.
Real People. Remarkable Care. South Coast Post Acute.