I’m a big believer in discussing elder care with my clients as young as age 50.

 

I use this age as my starting point for a few reasons:

You can still influence health with simple adjustments. My biggest concern for seniors is their risk for a fall. Light activity and a Mediterranean diet can really help minimize the risk factors, which is weak muscle tone, poor balance and being on 4+ medications. You are 100% likely to fall if you suffer from these 3 categories.

Make your financial stability a priority despite competing interests. It’s time to shift away from thinking there is plenty of time to “catch up.” Work with a planner to create reasonable expectations for retirement lifestyle choices.

Downsizing may be on the brain. With 55+ communities on the rise, it’s a good time to consider if moving is in your future and how it impacts your retirement and elder care plans. You may like to downsize to a 55+ community right away so you can enjoy the community for 20-25 years before needing a second transition to assisted living. Conversely, you may decide to downsize directly to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in your 70s so that you only have to move and coordinate care once.

It’s a good time to review estate plans. Children are likely over the age of 20 and can now be a part of the estate planning conversation. When children are minors guardianship is the primary concern, and responsibilities would have been delegated to extended family or friends. Now that children are older the focus can be on which child should accept the role of power of attorney, health care proxy, executor, and trustee. It should also be easier to decide how and when each child should receive an inheritance, and it may not be the same for all.

Decision making related to transition is rooted in logic vs emotion. Writing down “transition triggers” at a younger age allows you to decide the when-and-whys for change. It also gives you the ability to name your own solution with plenty of time to budget in the expense of transition.

Its last call for reviewing insurance options. Premiums after this time exponentially increase and the threat of having an unexpected health crisis may remove your preferred health discount, if not disqualify you completely. Even if it’s not something you ultimately purchase, give yourself the option to make that decision rather than having it made for you.

About the Author

Quentara Costa helps the sandwich generation prioritize kids, self, and aging parents. For years Quentara was the primary caregiver for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 70. Since his passing she’s become a mother of two sweet girls. Professionally she received a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Bentley University and has held the CFP® designation since 2010. Community involvement includes hosting the Merrimack Valley Senior and Caregiver Group and volunteering for Budget Buddies.

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