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Life stage planning: in your 80s and 90s

In the last of the life stage planning series we come to the Golden Years! This is the stage of life where you get away with everything. You can cut people in the grocery line and no one says anything. You can walk up to strangers and start a conversation without any hesitation. And you get senior discounts on pretty much everything you buy. I can’t wait to be able to do those things!

But this is also a time to be thinking about some critical things to prepare for the future. The three areas I’ll cover are personal care, legal protections and finances. Let me clearly state that I am not an expert in elder care. This is a high-level overview of a very complex area that requires more input from experts on your specific situation.

The most important consideration in this stage of life is deciding what your living arrangements will be. Do you want to stay in your home for as long as possible? Would you want to live in a retirement community? What type of living facility would you want to live in if you become unable to care for yourself?

To live at home, begin with making some modifications to the bathroom and kitchen. For example, an older senior may not be able to step over a tub to shower. This can be replaced with a walk-in shower that has handrails and a seat. Any changes to make daily living easier will allow you to independently live at home longer.

Other options include retirement communities, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Some properties have residents that move in well before they ever need assistance. A resident then moves up a level of care as it’s needed throughout their lifetime.

The key is to research your options for your care and living arrangements. It can be overwhelming, but there are companies that can help. One local San Diego company that can help is LifeLineCares.com. Resources and information can also be found on Web sites like Caregiver.org and Caregiving.org. Start planning for the day when you will need help from others. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

The second area to focus on is your legal documents. You should have a will, living trust, advanced health care directive and power of attorney for finances. These documents tell everyone what and how you want things to be handled. This includes who will handle your finances if you cannot, how and what medical treatment you wish to have, and who will receive your assets once you pass away.

Seniors in their 80s and 90s should also consider who will help with finances if you ever become unable to do so. This may be a family member or a trusted friend. They can help with paying bills and making investment decisions on your behalf. If you don’t have anyone in mind or don’t want to ask a family member or friend, a professional fiduciary can act on your behalf. Find a professional fiduciary at pfac-pro.org

These are the three main areas to focus on in your 80s and 90s. It requires some work on your part and involves many big decisions. Always reach out to family, friends and non-profits for help. Doing this work now will make these decades all the more enjoyable and pleasant.

Steve Doster is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional providing commission-free financial advice for do-it-yourself investors. You can reach Steve at Doster Financial Planning by phone 619-688-1192 or email steve@dosterfinancialplanning.com. You can also follow Steve on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or blog to get more personal finance advice and tips.

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Posted by on Oct 10, 2013. Filed under The Money Shot. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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