The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent to whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right.— Hannah Whithall Smith, American author, evangelist and reformer
Here is an extreme speed review of some of Senior Moment favorite suggestions. Try some.
Long-term care insurance: If your budget allows, buy it. The sooner the better. It’s better than any alternative in almost every way.
Faith: Get some. A Harvard University study tops the list of research proving that seniors with a strong faith adjust much better to the challenges of aging.
Caregiver’s Guilt: Ditch it. Really, we cannot do more than our best. Guilt can produce illness and make us unable to help anyone at all.
Respite: If you’re a caregiver, make sure respite care is part of your life. A few days away from your care giving responsibilities will do wonders for both you and the person for whom you’re caring. More facilities than ever now offer respite care.
A recommended book: Coping With Your difficult Older Parent: A Guide for Stressed-Out Children, by Grace Lebow and Barbara Kane, founders of Aging Network Services.
A recommended website: ElderLawAnswers.com.
Housing for Seniors: More options than ever. Get a free Source magazine, formerly Guide to Retirement Living. Discover the rapidly improving and expanding world of senior housing.
Mental health: The author Mary Pipher says mental health is not a matter of being dependent or independent, but of being able to accept [whatever] state one is in with grace and dignity.
Family Harmony: Mary Pipher again. She says family harmony in care giving is this: The trick for the younger family members is to help without feeling trapped and overwhelmed. The trick for the older member is to accept help while preserving dignity and control. I didn’t say it was easy, just doable if we all try.
Revocable Living Trusts: Perfect for some people, almost needless for others. Research a lot and/or consult an expert.
Medicaid: Spend every cent you and your family have on someone’s long term care , or research ways the law allows you to preserve at least some assets. Check with an elder law attorney. Even the Supreme Court has called the eligibility regulations “Byzantine.”
Wills: Make one. If you don’t the State ofMarylandhas one already made for you. It’s “one size fits all” so it may not fit you.
Estate Plan: See number 14. Include Powers of Attorney, necessary for when you are still alive but cannot take care of everything.
IRA rules: still complicated. Check with your tax person.
Credit card offers: To have your name removed from lists that send you hundreds of pre-approved credit card offers, go to www.optoutprescreen.com, or call 1-888-567-8688. You can start the process to opt out for five years or permanently.
Benefits: Make sure you get all the benefits to which you may be entitled by checking www.benefitscheckup.org
Volunteer: One of the very best things seniors can do for a mental health boost.
Alcohol: Be so careful. Blood alcohol levels in older people typically are 30 to 40 percent higher than in your people who consume the same amount of alcohol.
Grandparenting: Just the greatest. God’s reward for growing old. AARP has a GrandparentInformationCenter. Check them out at www.aarp.org
A wonderful website: www.caregivers.com
Senior’s living environment. See www.aarp.org/unmiversalhome/home.html for lists to help you make your living environment safer.
Savings bonds: See www.publicdebt.treas.gov/sav/sbtreashunt.htm to see if there are any bonds in your name or that of a family member. Search by name, social security number, city and state.
Driving: When to stop? The Association for Driver Rehabilitation will refer you to a professional trained to help drivers with disabilities, including those associated with aging. Visit their web site at www.driver-ed.org or call 608-884-8833.
A good book: The Complete Eldercare Planner, by Joy Loverde.
Courage: The overarching characteristic that defines the quality of our lives as we inch closer to that “good night.” David Letterman said he has learned the “pretending to be courageous is as good and yields the same results, as actually being courageous.” Go for it.
A good website. www.eldercarematters.com.
Hospice: The best organization in the world for helping all of us through heartbreaking, impossible, absolutely unendurable times.
A good book: Eldercare 911, by Susan Beerman and Judith Rappaport-Musson.
Documents: Four that are imperative – a will or trust, durable financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney and a living will. Additionally, you should complete the Maryland MOLST form.
Competency: UnderMarylandlaw, your must understand the “purpose and effect” of powers of attorney. For wills, you must understand what you own, and to whom you want to give it.
Thank you for reading. Stay well. See you next week