Aging: You cannot skip it, you cannot stop it and no matter what those ads popping up in your newsfeed say, you cannot even slow it down. Fortunately, many people are now refusing to deny the aging process; instead, they are looking for ways to get more out of life even as they move toward the sunset years.
Active Aging Week, an annual observation October 5-11, encourages older adults to stay active, healthy, and engaged. We were inspired to offer some suggestions for a week’s worth of aging smartly and in appreciation of life’s journey:
Monday: Get Your Estate Plan in Shape
Make an appointment with a licensed estate planning attorney for an estate checkup. There is nothing like the peace of mind that comes from knowing your financial affairs are in order and that when the time comes, your loved ones will be taken care of. A good plan will keep your estate out of probate after your death and will protect your family from unforeseen creditors such as credit card and hospital bills. Your financial advisor can also create a plan that determines how best to use your assets so you can enjoy life now. You can rest assured that you will always be the one to decide how your property is used and that you will be remembered the way you wish.
Tuesday: Nurture Long-Time Relationships and Build New Ones
Reach out to an old friend and make plans to catch up over coffee, dinner or a day at the beach or park. Revisiting happy memories with someone who shares them can do wonders for our mental health, and a sense of familiarity can help ground us. It is harder to make friends as we age – joining a social or hobby club whose members share your interests can help.
Wednesday: Start a Gratitude Journal
There is a reason you keep reading about starting the day with “an attitude of gratitude.” Psychology Today has reported that feeling grateful has scientifically proven benefits to our mental, emotional, and even physical health. For instance, it can help you sleep better, improve your mental agility, and raise your self-esteem – all of which can be problems for older people.
Thursday: Get to Work on Your Reading List
Pick up that book that has been languishing on your nightstand. Read a newspaper or a magazine that covers culture or current affairs. The point is to exercise your brain by flexing your mental muscles. It would not hurt to read a point of view that differs from yours; just do not look for it on social media, especially Facebook.
Friday: Learn What Medicaid Can Offer You
As independent and healthy as you may feel now, one day you may need help. In the event of an illness or injury, you could need help from another person or an assisted living facility – even if it is only temporary. It is better to make those decisions now, before you need the help and may not be in the right frame of mind for thoughtful planning. An estate planning attorney who focuses on Medicaid planning can stere you through the best use of Medicaid to cover skilled-nursing expenses if you need them and can even help you stay in your home while getting care.
Saturday: Give Yourself Some (Healthy) Space
Seek serenity in your surroundings by bringing nature inside if you can; if you cannot, open a window when the weather is fair and breathe in the fresh air. Analyze your cleaning products for harmful ingredients, not only for your own health but for their effect on the environment when you throw out the empty containers. Try to leave the next generation a world that is a little better than you found it.
Sunday: Feed Your Spirit
Whether you call it prayer or meditation, a few minutes of quiet contemplation can improve your mental and even physical health. Take some time to sit or lie quietly and appreciate the moment you are in, without regrets for the past or worries about the future. When you open your eyes and resume the day, you will be amazed at the sense of peace you feel.
Wine, cheese and you get better with age, but your estate plan and other asset allocations need some maintenance to keep up with the times. Contact OC Estate & Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or email@example.com to get started with a free phone consultation. Our estate planning and elder law attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish, and Russian.