Sunday, December 23, 2018

Preparing for Old Age

Between this post over on reddit and a conversation we had at our pre-Christmas barbecue get together yesterday evening, it's pretty obvious that preparing for old age should be part of everyone's overall preps.  Some of the preps people thought were important as they aged:

  • Adequate medical insurance and prescription coverage.  For the guys who were retired military this is a non-issue, for other folks, even with Medicare, this was a pretty big issue (prescription costs seem to be astronomical these days).
  • Dental coverage is often overlooked.  Both regular dental services as well as dentures can be very costly so having good dental insurance (is there such thing?) or a plan (dental tourism, which I know is a thing) may need to be looked at.
  • A one-story home.  A couple of folks have decided to move out of homes they have lived in for decades simply because they can't manage stairs any more.  Another is converting their formal dining room into a master suite so they no longer have to go upstairs.
  • Driving options.  Or better yet, the option not to drive.  When age and vision problems and medical problems converge, driving can become dangerous (so can taking the keys away from a loved one who intends to keep driving until someone pulls the keys out of their cold, dead fingers).  Living in an area with many transportation options becomes a good idea when you are older.
  • A very robust emergency fund/savings account.  Things break (like appliances and furnaces and things like that) and they need to be replaced.  The HOA may say you need to repaint your entire house (a major expense), your vehicle may need major repairs...over the course of a decade or so, there are many extra expenses that may not be covered by a regular fixed income.
  • Also, regular bills always seem to increase and never seem to decrease.  Water, sewer, garbage, HOA fees, electricity, gas, etc.  All of these bills will keep increasing over the years but your income probably won't.
  • The weather is a big deal when you get old.  Old bones generally like warm weather.  Old bodies are not fond of slipping on snow and ice and breaking a hip.  Moving to a warmer locale may need to be in your plans.
  • Taxes are also an issue.  Some places have tax abatement programs for the elderly so they aren't priced out of their paid-for houses due to hot housing market-induced high property taxes.  Some places don't so moving to a low tax area may be another part of a person's planning.
  • Avoiding scams.  Did you know that the elderly lose $37 BILLION dollars a year to scams?  I didn't either until I came across this article but there are literally thousands of ways people scam the elderly and avoiding this issue can sometimes be difficult for the aged.
  • Doing all of the things "you used to do" can become difficult or impossible.  Everything from home repairs and climbing ladders to affording birthday gifts for all of the kids and grandkids can become a challenge--both physically and financially.  Traveling, which you planned to do in your Golden Years can also be difficult or impossible due to health or mobility reasons.
  • Long-term care can also become an issue.  Especially for people who aren't so bad off they need a nursing home but they also can't be at home on their own for long.  Nursing care, whether in a nursing home or having someone drop in on a daily basis, can be extremely expensive.  And relying on family can be extremely iffy.
These are just some of the issues that were touched on in both the reddit post and in our general conversation last evening.  Plus old age does seem to sneak up on you so planning ahead for these and other issues is a good idea.

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