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:
1- 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’re only having to move and coordinate care once.
2- 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 were minors guardianship was 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 they should receive an inheritance. It’s not uncommon for parents to make different inheritance decisions among siblings once personalities and paths have taken shape.
3- At 50 you’re more likely to make decisions based on logic vs emotion when it comes to elder care planning. Discussing “transition triggers” with my clients at a younger age allows them to decide the when-and-whys for change. I ask clients to tell me when they think it would be appropriate to stop driving, receive living assistance, and delegate authority to named agents. For instance, you may suggest that hitting a parked car is a transition trigger to utilize other transportation methods. Deciding this at 50 is logical and puts you in control. Deciding this at 80 is emotional and can feel like you’re being stripped of independence.
Need one more reason? Age 50-60 is the sweet spot for reviewing long-term care 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.