108. How do you prepare for old age?

I’ve been reading some books and fell into some conversations about elder care. Getting old (and caring for the elderly) can be really hard, and very often, people don’t think about it and prepare for it.

But you will someday die, and probably get old, and people around you will die and get old and you have may to take care of them. And it’s so much easier to figure it out before it’s absolutely necessary to have it figured out–or it becomes too late.

I’m not any sort of authority on the subject, so I welcome any conversation, but these are the things I’ve noticed.

Prepare Financially

About everyone needs some sort of estate plan and planning about where the assets go when you die.

And getting old can be really expensive. So having a good amount of savings, pensions, retirement funds, insurance, and more can lead to better options when you get older. Save more than you think you need.

(Alternatively, there may be problems with leaving behind a large inheritance. Just take the time to really think about different situations, how you want to pay for it, and what you want to leave behind.)

This sort of preparing needs to happen at a very young age. You can start planning for retirement in your 20s.

Prepare Your Stuff

You should sort through your stuff and dispose of most of it once you are no longer using it. You should also have things digitized and organized so that other people don’t have to go through your stuff for you.

And leave behind a good record of yourself for your family: even just a basic life overview is really helpful.

Prepare Your Body and Mind

Take care of yourself. Exercise and eat right and go to annual doctor visits and floss your teeth. Keep up hobbies and improve your mind.

And also figure out what a good death might look like for you. Do your living will/healthcare directive. Do you want your life prolonged endlessly? What would you like your funeral to look like?

Prepare for Self-Reliance

Where do you want to live when you get older? How will that affect those who will care for you (which will probably be your children)? How can you make their lives better?

Chances are, when you get older, you won’t want to live in a single family home with a large yard because you won’t be able to take care of it by yourself anymore. Where do you want to be when you can no longer drive or take care of yourself or think clearly?

You might look into retirement homes or assisted living centers, and if you prepare financially, then you will be able to find homes that you really like that help keep you independent, prevent loneliness, and help your children take better care of you.

Prepare Now

Some of these things might be unpleasant for some people, but it’s good to try to figure out aging and death decades before, so you can adequately be prepared to have a good life and a good death.

Anyway. I feel a little silly writing about this because I’m in my 30s, but this subjects needs to be part of our conversations much more often. It can be a really hard part of life, but avoiding talking and thinking about it just makes it harder.

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