As I have watched the latest rollout of promos for the Winter Olympic, a common theme is challenges. It made me think about the challenges in the daily lives of our many residents. Just as an athlete must push against all odds to achieve Olympic status, a senior must face challenges on a daily basis to overcome their own adversity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Life expectancy is increasing for Americans. The fastest-growing segment of the population is the 85-and-older age group. Despite advances in health care, however, many elderly people have chronic, incurable progressive diseases and need assistance with the activities of daily living. The greatest challenge facing us as we age is the prevention of physical disability and the extension of “active life expectancy.” Fortunately, recent studies suggest that healthy (“successful”) aging is achievable, with sound planning for old age.”
SO SOUND PLANNING….LIKE WHAT???
It’s no secret that the biggest factor in overcoming the challenges that come with the aging processes includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But even though:
eating right, exercising, watching your weight, avoiding tobacco products and limiting alcohol intake and seeing your doctor regularly seems like…gosh..shouldn’t that be enough?? It just isn’t.
Planning for success in aging must include stimulation of our social being as well financial planning, research and making your wishes known. We can’t be certain of what MIGHT happen. But if you address the issues early on, it can make the later much easier for you and your children. Over the years I have comforted many an adult child of an elderly person, who was tasked with making difficult choices for their parent. Choices that could have been decided and discussed. Are the conversations difficult? EXTREMELY. No doubt, this conversation will not be comfortable. But making sure your wishes and decisions are respected as best as possible will make those moments somewhat easier for your children to know they are honoring your choices
Rising to the Challenge of Successful Aging
Here is a list from the Cleveland Clinic to help you plan for the unknown challenges to come.
Keep Yourself Stimulated:
Enjoy hobbies and interests with passion, particularly social activities, such as dancing.
Strengthen family relationships.
Engage in adult educational activities to challenge your mind.
Identify any physical limitations, such as difficulty walking or problems with balance. Actively start a discussion about these limitations and use medical resources to overcome them. Use nearby resources such as community support and local senior centers.
Be smart with financial planning:
Plan in advance for retirement.
Carefully manage investments and assets.
Assure adequate insurance coverage.
Decide on your future living arrangements. (See reference at the end of the article.)
Work to Maintain Dignity and Good Health in Old Age:
Choose a doctor knowledgeable in the medical care of older adults.
Communicate your goals of care to your family and physician.
Check about long-term care insurance.
Express your advance directives in writing.
It is wise to look ahead into an assisted living community. We would love to have you tour one of our communities today. Visit www.greatoaksmanagement.com today to research one that is just right for you and your plan!