At some point as we grow older, we all approach a fork in the road, says Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help.
Whether we veer toward a thriving finish to life or toward a struggling end depends on how we plan, Loverde recently told an audience of approximately 50 during a presentation at The Samarkand, a Covenant Retirement Community in Santa Barbara.
“Providing useful information to our residents and the local community is one of our main goals,” said Pam Bigelow, sales director for The Samarkand. “Covenant Retirement Communities has a wealth of resources available to assist both older adults and caregivers. Programs like this one help get that information into the hands of those who can use it.”
“No one ages in a void,” Loverde said. “We age alongside people we know and don’t know. To successfully age we need to plan for the future. By creating a plan, we have a choice in how we live; otherwise we must accept what is given.”
During her talk, Loverde explored three main issues blocking the road to a thriving aging process: finances, housing and the need to feel needed. She also offered a toolkit of suggestions for caregivers.
Finances: Consult help early and often. Potential sources of information include:
» Real estate agent
» Elder law attorney
Get it in writing: Power of attorney for health care, power of attorney for finances, estate plans.
» Financial gerontologist
» Employee assistance
Housing: The American family is continually changing; therefore, caregiving is as well.
» We’re living longer
» Family is not necessarily close by
» Technology can bring them closer
» Historically, caregivers were family; that may no longer be a viable option
» Choice of moving or staying put: aging in place (remodeling may be necessary; moving (what type of residence is right for you); the residence you choose will determine what other services are necessary; use resources, such as HavingtheConversation.com available from Covenant Retirement Communities
» Find your purpose so you don’t become “invisible”
» Stay connected to increase your well-being: “Singledom” is America’s fastest growing living unit. “If you’re not interacting, you’re dying,” Loverde says.
» Be aware of what you are telling yourself about aging: focus on the positives, not on loss and limitations.
Loverde also stressed the importance of advocating for the aging and that it is never too late to make changes in our lifestyle. A consultant in the senior/active adult industry, Loverde’s work has been featured on Today, The Early Show on CBS, National Public Radio, and in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Consumer Reports.
The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help is available as a soft-cover edition or as an e-book. The 385-page book is replete with information, resources, checklists and worksheets, some of which are downloadable at www.elderindustry.com.
The Samarkand, at 2550 Treasure Drive in Santa Barbara, is one of 14 retirement communities nationwide that are administered by Covenant Retirement Communities Inc. One of the nation’s largest nonprofit retirement community organizations, Covenant Retirement Communities operates communities in eight states and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Click here for more information on The Samarkand.
— Colette Claxton represents The Samarkand.