The first place to start in making a plan for retirement years, whether you are a few years away or in the midst of them — is a conversation. Have a conversation with yourself, your significant other and your family.
Ask yourself what do you want your retirement years — or what is left of them — to be like.
Do you want to be independent — staying in your own home or footloose and fancy free to travel — for as long as possible?
If travel is your top priority, maybe having your own home to maintain is a burden you can do without. Moving into a senior apartment complex, you could eliminate the trouble of seasonal maintenance and yard work, the expense of property taxes and other financial considerations.
There are a number of senior living options in the Rim Country. Seniors seeking independent living arrangements in an apartment setting, especially geared to older adults have the option of the Good Samaritan Society Majestic Rim apartments or the apartment complex at the Rim Country Health and Retirement Community. There are also low-income options for seniors: Canal Senior Apartments, for those 55 and older; Payson Senior Apartments, for seniors and the disabled; and Pineview Manor for those 60 and older or disabled.
Majestic Rim provides its residents with a daily noon meal, light housekeeping, social activities, scheduled transportation, a billiards room and fully equipped exercise room including a spa with Jacuzzi and locker rooms.
Staying in your own home, you may still want to mitigate some home ownership obligations. There are all kinds of cleaning and yard service providers in the Rim Country. Check the business directory, classifieds and advertisements in the Payson Roundup and make make a few calls for details and estimates from different companies.
There are also businesses in the community devoted to assisting seniors remain in their own homes and independent by providing non-medical services such as companionship, meal preparation and more.
Two such businesses available to Rim Country residents are Caring Presence and Comfort Keepers (see accompanying article for details).
WHEN MORE IS NEEDED
Should you or an aging loved one need more than a cleaning or yard service to stay at home, it is time to have a more in-depth conversation.
This checklist, provided by Scott Flake of Edward Jones, can help guide that conversation.
• Designate one family member to determine whether any documents are already in place or if your loved one has any other intentions in mind, to be sure their future physical and financial needs are met (for example a living will or power of attorney).
• Call a family meeting to evaluate current and future needs. If your loved one is still mentally capable, involve them in the process.
Consider the following in this meeting: can the loved one remain at home, if so, what is needed for access and safety; if they are remaining in their home, will they or someone else need to be responsible for property maintenance, routine cleaning, food, bills, etc.; will they still be driving or does alternate transportation need to be arranged; identify correct medications and designate one person to be the medical liaison; determine who will coordinate tax documents each year.
• Consider hiring a care manager to assess the situation and make recommendations.
• Establish a team of potential caregivers consisting of family members, friends, neighbors and health care professionals.
• Provide house keys to necessary members of the care giving team so they can access the home if necessary.
• Consider purchasing an alert system to allow your loved one to call for help in an emergency.
• Locate important documents, including a will, living will, health care or durable power of attorney and any trusts that may exist.
• Gather personal information on one document, including your loved one’s legal name, date of birth, Social Security number and names and phone numbers of doctors, dentist, pharmacy, attorney, etc.
• Obtain authorization from your loved one to access medical information to ensure Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy laws are met (without authorization, medical providers are not allowed to share medical information).
• Consider a physical therapist or gym membership to increase or maintain mobility and physical health of aging loved one.
• Research senior centers and adult day services in the area to help determine monthly expenses for home health services, meal delivery and potential transportation options.
• Gather and assess information about assisted living facilities and other long-term care options to determine how costs can be managed.
• If your loved one moves into an assisted living facility, establish a good relationship with staff.
• Identify three individuals who have been through this situation and request their input and suggestions.
• Obtain authorization to access bank and brokerage accounts and safe-deposit box.
• Locate and review financial records to get a clear picture of your loved one’s financial condition and then: create a list of creditors, including contact information and make a list of income, assets, expenditures and debt.
• Establish a monthly budget to confirm the resources needed.
• Consider automatic payment of important recurring bills to be sure nothing lapses.
• Consider direct deposit of pay and benefit checks into bank and brokerage accounts.
• Consider a professional trust company to pay bills and manage property and assets.
INVESTMENTS AND INSURANCE
• Review and update (if necessary) insurance coverage, including health (Medicare/Medigap), long-term care, life, home/renter’s and auto.
• Accompany your loved one to meet with financial advisor to review and update (if necessary) beneficiaries to IRAs, 401(k)s, life insurance, annuities and other financial accounts.
While your loved one is in good mental and physical health, meet with an attorney to update or create applicable documents, including: will, living will, durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and trust.
EXPECT TO INVEST TIME IN PLANNING
This is not a conversation to undertake in one sitting. It will take time to get everything thought out, organized and arranged.
Over the course of it all, be sure to take time to care for yourself physically and emotionally so you are able to care for your loved one.