I'm preparing a program for my church, to help people plan a strategy and create a way of being that gives them the best opportunity to living independently in our final years. Beside the practical needs, I'm looking for ways that people can plan and adopt, that will help them live as independently as possible. I'm also looking for qualified speakers here in the West Side of Los Angeles.

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I was lucky that my Mom always handled the money and kept pretty good records all in one place. I had asked her early on to get all her important papers together. Her and Dads birth certificates. Marriage certificate. Dads military records. Will, deed to her house, mortgage papers, and copy of her POA. She put them in a large envelope in a cabinet I could get to them easily. She contacted all her utilities and insurance companies and had my name put on as a contact if her bills weren't paid. Once a spouse dies a new Will really needs to be done. Of course POAs need to be in place. And those persons assigned should live close enough to be able to handle finances, medical and any placement that needs to be done. The person who will be doing the caring needs to have POA. Not the son/daughter miles away that has no idea what is going on.

Seniors need to understand how important it is to have someone they trust involved in their finances. We never know what the future will bring and its not fair to our children not to have an idea of what is going on.

Be organized! Have all important papers in one place. I have a sm filing cabinet with folders for insurance, medicare, investments, legal documents, etc.

I was lucky, my Mom realized when she couldn't write a check anymore. She knew it was important to have a POA in place. Seniors have to realize when they can no longer do for themselves. When that 2 story 8 room house is too much to keep up and is unsafe. We have to get away from "trying to keep Mom in her house as long as possible". Thats not always a good thing when Mom has 10 steps down to the cellar where the washer and dryer are and she is in her 80s. We have to know when to let go. That selling that house and moving into an independent living may be better.

We should not depend on anyone but ourselves. Don't think your kids will take care of you. And if they do help, don't expect them to do it all. They have lives too. We need to know what services there are in our community. So we can be as independent as possible.

I understand Ahmijoy is saying but I do think having information on prepaid funerals and insurances is important though. You could ask the speaker just to keep it info only. No sales pitches. Sometimes people don't do because they are misinformed. I wish Medicaid was more forth coming in what u can and can't do if you feel you will ever need it. Its not fair that you unknowingly sell your house and give each child a % of the proceeds only to find 4 yrs down the line u need LTC and your are penalized. Or because you didn't get "market value".

One of our local ALs has little Seminars. See if one near you does this. Maybe u could get someone to speak for you. Also, they could come and talk about their facility. Same with any IL, AL or LTC. Have them tell how they are set up and what type of care they give. Maybe you can set up tours as a group. This way the Seniors will see that these places aren't like they were when their parents were there.

Call your Office of Aging. Ask if someone there could speak on the services available. United Way has services too.
Helpful Answer (2)
HappyWill Nov 2018
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I know that my DH and I have saved 20% of our incomes over the ;last 42 years. We have rolled MOST of our 401(K) into a long term account, which will pay out a percentage for the remainder of our lives. We also have a pretty large liquid savings, to which we still contribute 20%. By the time DH retires we'll actually have more income that we ever have had! Ironic, when we can enjoy it the least..

We are also in the process of looking for a rambler style home, nearer to our kids. We will have it remodeled into an upstairs, one floor living space for us. The basement will be remodeled into an apartment/play are/entertainment area. While we're still young enough to have grandkids wanting to come hang out, we'll have a place for them.

At some point, that apartment will house our caregivers, should we require them. We DO NOT want our kids to be our primary CG's. Doing this for our parents has solidified that we DON'T want that dynamic if we can possibly avoid it.

Funerals are preplanned and paid for. Will is kept up to date. I am constantly de-junking my house, so we aren't hauling tons of useless stuff with is when we move.

I know no plan is foolproof, or perfect. A lot of things could happen to derail this. BUT, with a solid financial base, and being near, but not living WITH kids, I am hoping that we can maintain independence and also good relationships with our family.

Seeing my parents poor planning and dad's early onset Parkinson's--which he could never have forseen---and the 22 years mother has lived with, I knew what I DID NOT WANT.

We've talked about this pretty extensively with all 5 of our kids. While they have ALL said I could live with them....I really, really don't ever want to. In the end, I do expect that I will be living in some kind of Assisted Living--as the women in my family live into their 90's. But the money is there, so I can be calm in the thought that my kids won't be financially impacted.

One thing I would LOVE for all seniors to do for their clutter. My mother is a hoarder, I am currently helping a Sr lady I know to move to smaller accomodations---she also is a hoarder. GET RID OF THE JUNK. Seriously, this is the best gift you can give your kids. That and pre-planning your final wishes.
Helpful Answer (5)
HappyWill Nov 2018
Thank you MikKid58.!!

I really appreciate your perspective from both the point of view of your parents, yourselves, and your children. I really like that you're planning now and more importantly, I feel that you want to live as independently as possible. That's the really the focus of my night of discussion. More importantly embracing that attitude and taking action to make that happen. It's kind of a mindset. Again, I'm very appreciative of your response.
If there are Seniors already members of your church, ask THEM what they’ve done. They know your area and can give specific advice. I would avoid having speakers from facilities, cemeteries, funeral homes, insurance, etc., as that will wind up being a big sales pitch. Call your local hospitals and health organizations to see if they have a speakers bureau. They can speak on health care specific to senior citizens. Also call local Senior Centers.

There is no “one size fits all” plan of action. We all have our own challenges, be they financial, physical, or health related. You can present ideas, but everyone needs something different. You can offer opportunities of where to go for help, including government organizations who will offer help in finding funding seniors might need. That I know personally would be very much appreciated.
Helpful Answer (1)
HappyWill Nov 2018

Thank you very much! I really agree with what you said. As with a lot of churches, there are a lot of people in their senior years and I'm going to ask them. I really like the idea of local hospitals & health organizations for their speakers bureaus. That is a challenge for me to find a couple of speakers who can talk about the practical aspects & responsibilities of aging and one that can give a broader, more general approach to living as independently as possible. I also agree that no one approach fits all. Again, I'm really appreciative of your response.
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