From the desk of a solo ager
If you're growing older and living solo or with a partner, tune in to the latest trends of aging well.
In a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal on January 22, 2023, the headline says it all: Caregiver Turnover Strains Households. It's a direction that I've seen on the rise for the past several years—High turnover among in-home caregivers is straining the daily lives of America’s aging population, which relies on them to remain in their homes.
Living and growing older at home is the preferred choice of most adults because the home and community-based services which support living at home are less costly than institutional care. Long-term support services are by their very nature person-centered and labor intensive. These direct care jobs—personal care assistance, homemaker, home health, respite for family caregivers and more—are physically and emotionally demanding and critical to aging well at home, yet they remain undervalued despite their important and life-sustaining role. If you've ever been a family caregiver, you understand the toll of giving care.
The need for a plan
Developing a plan to address the future requirements demands both innovation and investment in new models. From my own research, I've learned that deploying an "out of the box thinking" is the most productive approach to tackling any shortage or challenge that we will face at some point. Although it isn't easy to do, I can say it is possible. All that's needed is a shift from seeing problems to seeing opportunities.
How to plan for the future
Plan for the future by setting smaller, easily achievable goals that directly impact your current life and keep doing so until you ultimately accomplish the larger goals. You can also set larger goals that may take years to accomplish and actively work toward them a little each day.
1. Consider your ultimate goal in aging well
For instance, if you know you want to live in your own a home for as long as possible, make the needed preparations like installing universal aging in place designs.
2. Set short- and long-term goals
if you're working toward having a more supportive network, learn the local resources that help connect you with like-minded peers.
3. Consider your time frame
For instance, if you know you'd like to work part-time instead of full-time by a certain age, ensure you've saved enough money to support yourself and that you've budgeted in a way that allows you to make it happen.
4. Create a budget
If you plan to move to an assisted living community by a certain age, create a budget that saves money toward that goal each time you receive a paycheck. This sets you up for financial stability.
5. Write your goals and plans down
Note all dates and times which you hope to reach certain goals, and describe your plan in great detail can ensure you're always aware of how to accomplish it at any point in time. Share your documented plans with a family member, partner or close friend. This may help you remember them or have someone who can hold you accountable.
6. Actively work toward your goals
If you're interested in becoming a master gardener so you can master this hobby by the time you retire, start taking courses and conducting research to become one now. If you're interested in having an extensive travel fund by the time you're 60, start with your next paycheck to save extra money into a travel savings account.
Creating a plan for the future helps you take the necessary steps to manage anything you may encounter, such as financial issues, health conditions, finding transportation, having more support and friendships, and initiating a life purpose in the future.
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