Enlist an entourage to make life easier
If it takes a village to raise a child, it can take a small town to support an aging adult.
As we get older, the range of professionals and services we rely on for physical, financial and daily living support expands and shifts. They are your entourage as you age.
Who will be your entourage? The people and services that support you fall into these categories:
Health care. For much of your life, you may have gotten by with just a primary care doctor and possibly a therapist for mental health care. In retirement, you’ll likely add specialists such as an ophthalmologist, a dermatologist and a physical therapist. Later in life, you may develop conditions that require a cardiologist, gastrointestinal doctor, rheumatologist, pulmonologist or oncologist.
Home care. Outside help may begin as a want, but it becomes a need for those who age in place. Indeed, less than 10% of seniors plan to move into a retirement community, according to Colin Milner, chief executive officer of the International Council on Active Aging, and they will have to plan ahead to have help in place. “We have to start adopting these different service providers early on,” he said.
Personal care. The basic activities of daily living that can trigger long-term care insurance benefits when you can no longer perform them on your own include bathing, dressing and grooming, going to the toilet, getting into a bed or chair, feeding yourself and walking.
Food. The possibilities range from a personal shopper or chef to simply using the delivery service of your local grocery store.
Fitness and wellness. Should you hire a personal trainer or attend exercise classes at an upscale gym, local community center or virtually? These are the kinds of fitness decisions you make as you age.
Fun and friends. Don’t overlook friends or potential friends. You can cultivate neighborhood friendships by hosting potlucks or offering to help bring your neighbors’ packages inside. These nearby relationships can help in an emergency.
Transportation. As you age, transportation options may become limited by vision, hearing or mobility challenges. When a family member or a paid driver takes you on errands and to doctors’ visits, they’re part of your entourage. Explore public transit options in your city. [Ed. Note: Local nonprofits called “villages” can provide rides and more; see “Villages can help neighbors age in place” in the January 2024 Beacon.]
Finances. You may enlist someone to manage your nest egg, whether that’s an independent financial planner or a mutual fund company. An accountant, tax preparer or H&R Block may assist you in paying Uncle Sam each April. At some point, you might rely on a family member or trusted adviser to manage paying bills and sorting through correspondence.
Communication and technology. From Amazon to Walmart, almost everything can be delivered to your doorstep. However, if online ordering is confusing, home delivery is off the table.
The Geek Squad or other in-person technology support services can help you fix computer or electronics bugs. Your local library may also provide tech classes and hands-on help. And many consumer electronics companies have online and telephone support.
In addition, Senior Planet from AARP offers free live online tech-related classes, among other subjects. To join a class, visit seniorplanet.org or call 1-888-713-3495.
© 2023 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.