Last week I had an amazing experience. I was invited to a cocktail party attended by five women including me. At 88 the youngest of the other four had three decades on me. The oldest, at 94, had almost four. These four women alternate their weekly Sunday cocktail
hour at each of their apartment homes. No one has to drive. They live down the hall and a floor away from each other. They all reside in the independent living section of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).
I’m not sure quite what I expected at Sunday cocktails, but I didn’t expect it to feel the
same as when my girlfriends and I get together for happy hour. I was wrong. Last week’s hostess, age 94, opened the door, greeted me very warmly, walked me to her fully stocked bar, described the gourmet cheeses in detail, and encouraged me to eat my fill of the very special fat blue cheese olives. I poured myself a scotch and sat down on the sofa in her beautifully decorated living room. The five of us chatted about the Occupy Wall Street movement and what it might really mean. How sad it was that we would not get to see what else Steve Jobs had in mind. We talked about art and those good cheeses.
Wow. Will I be entertaining and having cocktails with my girlfriends when I am 94? I guess at some level I always thought that when I am in my eighties and nineties I will
be different inside. That I won’t care about the things I care about today. That I will worry about new things. And that life won’t be fun anymore. And I certainly won’t care so much about what is happening in the world.
But this can’t be true. Inside I still feel 25 years old. I imagine I will still feel 25 when
I am 90 too. In my eighties and nineties I will care about where I live, what I eat, having fun and connecting with my friends. I won’t be any different in that regard than I am
today. I won’t want to live in substandard housing. I will want to be near my friends. And I will want to stay at home if I need long-term care.
As we talked it became clear to me that these four women shared several things in common:
- Concerned about healthy living from an early age
- Managed their finances over a lifetime. They were willing to live with less in their earlier years so they could have more in their later years
- Worked hard on developing and keeping friends, and
- Planned their aging strategy years ahead. In each case women chose to live in a CCRC with the hope of remaining independent as long as possible.
Long-term care insurance is an important financial consideration when choosing to live in a CCRC. Many CCRC models require private payment for long-term care. And long-term care insurance will allow these residents to receive care in their independent living apartments while living alongside their friends. And if they eventually need more assistance, long-term care insurance will help pay for a private unit in assisted living ving allowing residents to remain with friends.
What a life at 94! It pays to plan ahead.
Cynthia DeGeorge holds the CLTC, Certified in Long-Term Care, designation. She is also a Certified Financial Planner, CFP® and one of the few CFPs who specialize exclusively in long-term care expense planning. Realizing the enormous exposure that long-term care expense posed for clients, Cynthia specializes in developing long-term care insurance solutions in the context of her clients’ holistic financial health and lifestyle choices.
Cynthia DeGeorge, CFP® CLTC
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