I keep living as if the glass is half full. Always the optimist, I cling to the belief that I’ll enjoy good health for a long time, and when that changes, I hope to continue this delightful relationship with my family while maintaining my independence. I’d rather annoy them with my independence than by being a financial drain. Oh, that’s right. That’s what we all want. But it’s likely that one day we’ll need help.
Stay with me here, because I still believe this is an optimistic topic. Planning how not to be a burden should be a positive. Key word: Planning. Something I haven’t done yet. Until now, I carried around all these images that could work, might work. The old fashioned place where everybody knows your name and will miss you if one day you don’t show up. Neighbors who keep track of each other. Maybe a charming community center a half block away where seniors drop in to visit and chat and eat delicious food. Options we’ve seen on television – such as the Golden Girls – living vital lives in a big home with room enough for each of their large personalities.
Images – that’s what they are. I don’t personally have knowledge of an ideal model for aging. I do have a couple of wise and/or fortunate girlfriends (yes we still call ourselves girlfriends no matter our age) who have financial planners who’ve helped them take care of the future. But those girlfriends had resources years ago. Back when I divorced, I didn’t have enough resources to interest any financial planner in keeping an appointment with me. Now the future is here and it’s time to get something together that will keep me from losing whatever I’ve accumulated, should I face a debilitating illness.
I have one child who is now raising a child. I don’t want to have anything but a positive impact on them, and when I’m gone, I hope their memories are good ones. Surely there’s a way to achieve – quickly – some kind of balance between my inevitable aging and my daughter’s inevitable worry about me.
Because as a nation we still worship youth, we continue to postpone the prospect that we will actually be old someday, and so we postpone learning about options. In this country we’re pretty much on our own in terms of health care. After all the years of working and paying taxes, and all the years of campaign promises, and all the years of voting, and all the turnover in elected officials who promise remedies, I don’t see any progress. Our country’s health care system is an embarrassment. It demonstrates an ignorance or downright lack of concern about this part of life that millions of us have entered. It’s shocking to be a rich nation and still so poor in terms of dealing with the needs of an aging population. I’m ashamed of us.
So I’m off on a search for an insurance policy that will help pay for future needs, which aren’t covered by anything I already pay for. I’ll also have to factor new premiums into my budget. I’ll start with AARP and see what they have to offer. AARP is my new community center.
Ó By Anita Garner