If you're a senior that is moving into retirement age or has already been living out those vibrant golden years, you know that there is still a lot to take care of on a daily basis. While you might be free from the schedule encumbrances and obligations of a career or caring for a young family, that doesn't mean you're lying around all day doing nothing.
In fact, at the Park Regency Loveland assisted living community in Loveland, CO, we enjoy the active nature of many of our residents. They're often found engaging in activities, volunteering, making new friends in the community and attending to other parts of life.
Retired seniors can still have part-time jobs. Many still make things to sell or offer services online. Others spend time mentoring or encouraging friends and family members. Still others are active in their churches or have standing appointments with friends to play cards and enjoy coffee in the common areas.
Whether you're also a socially active senior or prefer to be a homebody, you probably also have business matters to attend to. Personal finances still have to be managed, for example. The balancing of the checkbook never seems to go away.
Moving into an assisted living community helps reduce many of your day-to-day worries. Housekeeping, laundry services, home-cooked meals, planned transportation and even assistance with medication management are options. Which is great, because it frees you up to spend more time doing the things you want to do.
But before you move on to those enjoyable things, you may want to consider handling some planning that lets you have peace of mind as you enjoy your days. Estate planning, such as creating a will or trust, is one example of the type of planning you might want to engage in. But something many people overlook is planning their own final arrangements.
If you've never considered the idea of preplanning final arrangements, it might seem odd or even depressing. But it's the same thing as estate planning. It's simply a practical consideration that lets you know you did everything to plan for later and minimize burdens on your loved ones.
The benefits of preplanning depend on your situation, culture and family. But here are some common advantages of planning now.
• You ensure your wishes are followed. When you plan ahead, you typically work with a professional funeral organization. As long as you let your family know who to call when the time arrives, that funeral home or deathcare firm acts specifically on your wishes. You don't have to worry about whether those wishes will be known.
• You reduce burdens on your loved ones. By making these decisions ahead of time and ensuring they're documented, you reduce the decision-making requirements on loved ones during a time that may be hard for them emotionally. That helps them rest assured that they're holding services and attending to matters in a way that would be pleasing to you. It also reduces the chance that they might make more expensive or unnecessary decisions out of grief or indecision.
• You may lock in lower prices. Funeral costs are like any other good or service. The prices can go up over time. By locking in today's prices by paying ahead for many goods and services, you can save your estate and your family money later.
If preplanning is something that sounds like a good idea to you, it's fairly easy to start. Simply do some research about funeral providers in the area where you are or plan to be. You'll want to look for providers that offer preplanning options—not all do. You may also want to consider whether the provider offers services that cater to your beliefs, preferences and customs.
When you find a provider that seems like a good match, reach out to talk with them about preplanning. Some funeral homes actually offer webinars—short online classes—that teach about preplanning services, what options you have to consider, the benefits and how it all works. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, some would also offer luncheons where you could enjoy a free meal and learn more about your options—if you like a reason to get out and about, you may want to find out if anyone is doing that now.
Don't be afraid to get a loved one in on the planning with you. At first, they may think that it's a worrisome or morbid thing to discuss. Let them know that you see it as something practical you can do and then no one has to worry about it again. Ask them to support you and to come along to be a second set of eyes and ears so you have someone to discuss options with if you like.
Preplanning doesn't need to be an odd or depressing activity. In fact, for many adults, it is freeing and allows them to continue living their lives knowing they handled some big decisions hopefully years before anyone needs to reference them.