Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. ~Author Unknown
I have a question — a serious question — and I hope someone older (or just wiser) can give me an answer.
When should the average person start prepping for old age?
Now I’m not talking about finances. I assume most people, as soon as they enter the workforce, start saving money for retirement and such.
Nor am I talking about health. Most of us probably try to eat right, exercise, sleep, and get medical tests and procedures when they’re recommended.
I’m not talking about career either. I assume most people either settle in to a job they like (or at least can tolerate), work for themselves, immerse themselves in hobbies, or have the luxury of not working (rich spouse? trust fund? lottery?)
What I’m talking about is living arrangements.
Because whether you choose a retirement community, single-family house, apartment, or condo, eventually you’re going to be stuck.
Unwilling (or unable) to select another option.
And it seems prudent to me to choose while you have the ability to, rather than have somebody else choose for you.
Parceling out your belongings. Forcing you to downsize. Or moving you to where you know no one, just so they can visit once in a blue moon.
Perhaps because my elderly mom lives with me, I’m more attuned to issues of aging. I want to learn from her choices and not make the same mistakes.
Like refusing to plan.
It’s obvious some people are old at 40. Maybe they have health issues and it’s a challenge for them just to get by. Others, at 90, are still driving, participating in activities, and enjoying life.
But life is short and things can change fast. The spouse you counted on suddenly dies. The kids take a job clear across the country. You slip on the ice and break a bone. Or you start forgetting everything and get diagnosed with dementia. Or cancer.
Most healthy, rational 40-year-olds don’t need to relocate to a retirement community, and there are plenty of 50-year-olds not ready to retire. But if you don’t plan on retiring until you’re 70 or so, how do you avoid getting stuck??