Unplanned retirement

4 Tips to Adjust to Unplanned Retirement

 

 

Roughly 40% of adults end up retiring earlier than they had planned. For some, their company is downsizing and has laid them off. For others, health issues may be to blame. Additionally, for many people caregiving duties for an aging parent may cause them to leave the workforce much earlier than expected.  Regardless of what causes your retirement, an unplanned retirement can through anyone off balance.

Grief Will Be Part of This Journey

And all the emotions that come with grief can be expected. An unplanned retirement is a loss. The person going through this period has lost not only income but a sense of purpose. Most likely you will feel angry, sad, frustrated or depressed at times. It is important to understand that this is normal. Accept the fact that you are grieving. The following tips can help you to step into this new phase of your life and create a new normal.

Create Structure In Your Day

When Paul was forced out of the company he had been with for 37 years he was lost. Though financially, he and his wife were in a good place Paul did not know what to do with his days.

“He started trying to take over at home” Margret complained. “I have been running this household for years but now he thinks he can do better!” Margaret was frustrated. This change was hard for both of them. “He just needs to do something!” she cried. “I can’t have him underfoot all day long.”

 

fit senior man exercising at the beach in the morning

Finally, Paul started taking the dog for a walk every morning. It got him up and moving. And he met some neighbors who were also newly retired. Eventually, Paul found a part-time job. It was enough to give him some structure and a sense of purpose.

Set Goals

Chances are you had a lot of plans for your eventual retirement. If you were not financially ready to retire now you may need to look at how you can rejoin the workplace. It may not be easy finding another job, but it is also not impossible. You might consider consulting. If you have been in a particular industry for a long time, consulting might be a good way to go. Sit down with a financial advisor and consider also talking to a career coach to discover options you may not have thought about.

And if finances are not a problem then start setting other goals. What have you always wanted to do?  Do you want to travel? Where? Start planning some trips. Maybe there is a hobby you have always wanted to take up. Research that hobby and find people in your area who are involved in it.  Perhaps there is a club you can join.

Health is often a big reason for unplanned retirement. Set goals to get your health back. What do you need to do? Join a gym if it is appropriate for your situation. The local YMCA has a lot of programs specifically for seniors. Consider joining one today.

Get Together with Friends- And Make New Friends

 

Group of laughing seniors in a coffeehouse

If your friends are all still working, you may find that you need to have a few retired friends also. Having a strong friendship base is important. The last thing you want to do is to become isolated. Check out Meet-Up groups in your area. If you don’t already belong to one join a local church. Find one that has an active senior group. Get involved. Don’t just show up once a week. Participate and be of service.

Volunteer

Giving back to others in your community can give you that sense of purpose that may be missing in your life. Use the talents you have to help an organization you care about. Your life will be richer for it. The Living Legacy Center is always looking for people to help.

 

 

What Is Independence?

 

What Is independence? And What Does It Mean To You?

 

In the United States, this word is packed full of meaning.  On July 4th we celebrate Independence Day. This is the day we began to operate as our own country without British rule. As such The United States was free to adopt its own laws and rules to govern.

But actually, July 2nd,    1776 is when the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain actually occurred. But Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4. See nothing is Washington has really changed, has it. 😊

The Statue of Liberty

For many people in America, the Statue of Liberty symbolizes that independence that is the hallmark of our country.

There are some interesting facts surrounding this famous day. According to research on Wikipedia:

Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.[14] Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as President, also died on July 4, 1831. He was the third President who died on the anniversary of independence.[15] Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872; so far he is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day

Today the day is celebrated with fireworks, parades, picnics, BBQ’s and a National Holiday!

According to the Cambridge Dictionary Independence is:

Freedom to make laws or decisions without being governed or controlled by another country, organization, etc.  This is what all American are celebrating on the 4th of July!

But There Is Another Definition

It is also defined as the state of wanting to be able to do things for yourself and to make your own decisions, without help or influence from other people.

This is the definition many seniors adhere to. They will do just about anything to remain independent. And their biggest fear is often becoming dependent on others for their basic needs.

But is this definition really correct?

Can you ever be truly independent according to this definition? Think about it. As a young child, you were dependent on your parents, teachers, grandparents, and others who cared for and influenced you. Then you grew into a young adult. Now you were dependent on your college professors to guide and mentor you. Or if you entered the workforce you were dependent on your boss and co-workers. And even those who work for themselves rely on other people for knowledge, inspiration and at times help.

Let’s face it, everyone is dependent on someone for something.

But as people begin to age, they often struggle to hold on to what they call their independence. Refusing to give up driving an older gentleman has a serious accident. Now in the hospital, he has lost his mobility. And he has to live with the fact, his actions caused harm to a young mother in the car he hit. Moreover, he is saddled with guilt.

His friend, however, agreed to give up his car keys. He calls Uber or Lyfte or sometimes catches a ride with a friend going in the same direction. He happily goes where he wants to. And he goes when he wants to. The only difference is he gets a little help to do so.

Who would you say is more independent?

So, take a little time today to ponder this word. What does independence really mean to you?

 

Retiring Single

Retiring Single- Over 65- How To Make a Plan

When you are retiring single there may be a host of concerns you have. If you have no spouse or children it is doubly important that you have a plan in place for those “what if’s”.

Are You An Elder Orphan?

Sometimes referred to as elder orphans or solo-agers this is a group that is growing. In fact, according to research by Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, 22% of people 65 and over are either an elder orphan or at risk of becoming one. Only 12% of the women who were 80 to 84 years old in 2010 were childless, but that will increase to 16% for that same age range in 2030, according to a report by AARP. And even those who have children may be estranged.

There are a number of concerns people may have when they are aging alone. Who will help take care of me if I get really sick? Will I die alone in a nursing home with no-one to advocate for me? If I begin to have cognitive decline who will help me manage my finances and legal issues? Will I be taken advantage of?

“I am not concerned,” said Kendra “I am perfectly capable of caring for myself. My mind is sharp and I do what I need to do to keep my body healthy also. In fact, I just ran a marathon and did quite well.”

Kendra is 70. And while we all applaud her for being in such good health at 70 the truth is things can happen that are out of your control.

Judy lived on her own until she was 91.

She cooked for herself, went to exercise class and drove where she needed to go. But a blood clot in her leg changed all of that. She went into the hospital. And due to several mistakes, that were made she returned home unable to care for even her basic needs. 24/7 care was needed. Luckily for her, her children, along with a paid caregiver stepped in to help. Without her children, she would have been forced to go into a nursing home. And she may not have had anyone to advocate for her. Besides the cost, she would not have had anyone to hire and manage the caregivers.

So how do you plan for the rest of your life when you are over 65 and single?

 

Step One: Talk to an Elder Law Attorney

Set up all of the necessary paperwork to plan for your long-term care. Your attorney can also help you connect with other professionals in the area who can help. You will probably need a financial advisor. It is also important that you have someone you really trust designated as your Power of Attorney.

Step Two: Consult with a Geriatric Care Manager

Have someone lined up who can be your advocate and make sure your needs are met. Care managers usually have a background in Nursing or Social Work. Talk to the person who is your POA to make sure they know about the Geriatric Care Manager you have chosen. If you are incapacitated someone with authority to act on your behalf would need to hire their services.

Step Three: Have a Good Support System

Having a strong social circle is important for everyone. Make sure your circle included younger people as well.

“All of my really good friends are 15 to 20 years younger than me” Edythe, 96 “I feel more alive being around younger people. They are more positive and fun to be around. Plus, when I had to stop driving last year it wasn’t a problem. There was always someone available to take me where I needed or wanted to go.”

 

Step Four: Consider Alternate Living Arrangements

Owning a home is wonderful when you are young. But do you really want to spend your time and money with upkeep and home maintenance projects?   If you really want to keep the home, have you considered roommates? Think Golden Girls!

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. From 2005 to 2015, the older population grew 33 percent, while the number of older home-sharers jumped 88 percent.

One reason may be financial.

Many boomers have not really saved enough money for their retirement. Sharing a space can allow you to stay in a home. Or you could live in a home in the area you want to be but cannot afford on your own.

Of course, you want to make sure you are compatible.

And it is important to have a set of ground rules. If you really don’t like cats and your roommate comes home with one that could be a problem. Also, how often will the family be coming to visit? Who will be coming and how long will they stay?  Do you smoke or allow others to smoke in your home?  Do you expect we will cook together or eat independently? These are just a few of the questions you should ask.

So Where Do You Find A Compatible Roommate?

In the last few years, a new industry has begun to blossom. Companies such as Roommates4Boomers, Silvernest, and Let’s Share Housing pair renters with homeowners.

And always consult your attorney before you enter into an agreement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving The Hospital Against Doctors Advice

Let’s face it, hospitals are not any fun. And a lot of seniors spend more time in hospitals than they would like. But do you have the right to say enough is enough and check yourself out?

My mother in law, Pat checked herself out of the hospital.

What To Do With Your Inheritance

She was frustrated because it was the weekend and nobody seemed to be doing anything.

“There is no communication in these places she told me! I think they are just keeping me here to run up my bill”

 

She got dressed went to the nurse’s station, told them to take out her IV properly or she would just pull it out. Then she got into her car and called us. This was done long before dementia set in. She was aware of what she was doing and did not take no for an answer.

A Different Experience

A friend *Carol had a bit different experience. When she announced that she was leaving she was warned that she would be responsible for all of the medical bills if she left against doctor’s orders.

And another friend, *Sharon was warned that if her husband did not take the medicine ordered by his doctor she would be reported to adult protective services for abuse. Sharon and her husband had always opted for holistic treatments. Her husband has dementia now and this nurse who made a home visit was upset when she found out that Sharon has decided to try a less conventional form of treatment instead of the one the doctor prescribed.

So What Rights Do Senior Have?

Well first, let’s tackle the issue of your bills. A survey from the University of Chicago Medicine discovered 453 patients who had left against medical advice, not a single patient was denied insurance coverage for their care due to their discharge decision. It is simply not true. But many doctors, patients, and other health care providers continue to spread this misinformation.

You have the right to refuse treatment if you are of sound mind, you are not in an altered state and you do not pose a threat to yourself or to others.

So Why Do You Want to Leave?

I know it’s not a comfortable place to be. But studies show the #1 reason people leave the hospital early is a financial strain.  If this is a concern, talk to the billing department first to determine if there are avenues for reducing the amount owed. you may be surprised at just how much wiggle room the hospitals have.

Not happy with the way you or a loved one is being treated?

Before heading out the door, file an official report with the hospital administration.  There is a good chance they will work with you to resolve the issue.  Care advocates like a Social worker or an ombudsman may also be able to step in to help.

What About Sharon? Can She Be Reported for Abusing Her Husband?

This is where it gets a bit trickier. No doubt, *Sharon is just looking out for the best interest of her husband. As such she is making decisions that she feels are in his best interest. But does she have this right? It may depend on what documents Sharon and her husband had in place before he was diagnosed with dementia?

This is one reason it is important to sit down with an elder law attorney before there is a crisis. Make sure that you have all of the documents in place to ensure your wishes are carried out.

 

The Hilbun Law Firm offers weekly workshops to help answer some of the questions you may have. There is no charge to attend and there is no pressure. Simply good information shared with our community.

Did I Retire Too Early? When Is The Right Time to Retire?

Time to Retire

Hit your 60’s and you are bombarded with lots of advice on when the best time to retire and start taking that social security check. Some advisors suggest you should wait as long as possible so that you receive a larger monthly check during your retirement. Others say you should start taking it earlier. They believe that you may be leaving money on the table for the long haul. And still, other advisors may suggest that the wife takes her check early and the husband delays as long as she can. The thought behind this is that most women will outlive their husband. As such when he dies, she will receive his check instead of hers. If he can wait, his check will be larger ensuring a better retirement for his wife.

The Truth is Everyone’s Situation is Different.

My own father was forced into early retirement when he suffered a stroke at age 63. After a couple of years, he took a part-time job doing real estate appraisal work. It was great because he could set his own hours and Mom could go with him and help. It gave them some extra “spend money” for eating out and watching a movie once in a while.

They were able to work into their mid-70’s. And they enjoyed what they were doing. Dad lived to be 91 and Mom 93. Going back to work was a smart step.

A couple of friends have recently taken early retirement. I have changed their names for privacy reasons. But their stories are being played out across the nation.

Bill and Angie Decided to Take Early Retirement.

time to retire

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

The also decided to sell their “too large” home and move into an RV. They planned to stay on the road for about 5 years and then settle close to their children in Colorado in a much smaller home. Angie was 62 and Bill 63. They started taking their social security check at that time.

“We didn’t need the large home anymore. And we were tired of the upkeep. Getting rid of most of our possessions was freeing. And both Bill and I have not really missed anything.” Angie

But the cost of living keeps rising. Groceries were a lot more than they budgeted for. And the cost of living in an RV is not as cheap as we thought it would be. The gas to pull the vehicle is a lot and the RV rental places are not that cheap. Sometimes they boondock (a term that basically means Dry Camping parking anywhere without or with limited amenities) But places to do this are not always available and they miss having amenities like a place to wash your clothes and to dump your sewage.

The Honeymoon Phase Wore Off

“The first six months were great. It was like being on an extended vacation. But the honeymoon phase has worn off. We are getting bored. And we have to really watch our budget. This is something we have never really done before. A few health conditions recently ate into some of our savings. I think it is time to get back to work”

Since Bill is a master carpenter, he has been able to pick up a few jobs here and there. But the nomadic life does not make it that easy to create some steady work. This couple is now looking for a small affordable home where they can settle down. Bill can get a small customer base.

But Angie worked as a massage therapist and does not see that in her future. “Arthritis in my hands has gotten really bad,” she told me. She is looking into pet care. Dog walking and pet sitting may giver her the flexibility in her schedule she desires and will keep a few extra bucks coming in also.

“I wish we would have stayed at our jobs a few more years. We could have saved more money and our SS checks would be larger. But we can’t look back. We just have to look for opportunities now.”

When Retirement Isn’t Your Choice

Paul and Lisa were in a different situation when they took early retirement. Paul had been laid off from a job he held for 38 years. It is a common story these days. Having worked that long for one company did not make Paul a desirable employment catch he soon found out. His age was already a strike against him and the longevity with his company was strike two. Employers were concerned that Paul may not be able to blend into a new company culture very easily.

After a few rejections, Paul decided to claim his social security check at 62 years old. Both he and Lisa took their checks. And they continued to live life just as they always had done when he was employed.  Big dinners out on the weekends and vacations continued. But they started having to take more and more money from their retirement accounts. Paul’s Mom became sick and when he realized how much it cost to bring in help, he got worried. What if something happened to Paul or Lisa?

From Retired To Working Again

At 65 Paul has returned to the workforce. He is hoping to be able to work until he is 70.  Lisa continues to collect hers. But they both decided that as long as he is working, they will live off his paycheck. Lisa’s SS check will be put into a Roth IRA. This way they will be in a better place when they are ready to retire again.

Planning ahead for all of life’s twists and turns is important to do. The Hilbun Law Firm can help you make sure you are prepared for unexpected health issues. Attend an Estate Planning Workshop today.

Dementia Diagnosis? The First Step You Should Take

 

 

A dementia diagnosis can bring up a lot of feelings. After all, you will be grieving.  It is not uncommon for someone to become depressed after this diagnosis. And you will probably experience fear. What will the future bring? You may worry about your loved ones. How will they handle this disease? Will you become a burden?

And to make the situation more difficult some days you feel and act like your old self. You may begin to wonder if you really have dementia at all. This is because dementia does not follow a straight-line progression. Instead, it will weave and wind leaving you and your family more confused than ever. In fact, you may think you have a lot more time to make plans than you really do.

Time to Craft a Plan

But time is of the essence with a dementia diagnosis. The truth is you may be very self-sufficient for a number of years. And then a sudden downturn could occur. A visit with an Elder law attorney can help you make a solid financial and legal plan for you and your family.

Medicare Will Not Pay for Your Care

A lot of families believe that Medicare will take care of all of their needs. This is not the case. Medicare will pay for medically related issues. Hospital stays, rehabilitation and a few other medical services may be available to you. But it will not cover bringing in-home care workers to help. It will not cover an assisted living, memory care or nursing facility. These services are private pay.

You May Qualify for Medicaid

Hurricane Season 2017- Stay or Go

Medicaid will cover care in a nursing home and sometimes some home care. But you must qualify. An elder law attorney can help you to look at and analyze the different options that may be available to you. If you are able to qualify for Medicaid they can help you fill out the appropriate paperwork. Also using trusts and other tools, your attorney can help you and your family be in the best position possible when you need more care.

It Takes A Village

A good Elder Law Attorney is connected to other professionals in the community who can help you. They will know about the resources the community has to offer. Furthermore, they may also know about non-profit organizations who can help if you need. Your attorney will be a valuable partner on this journey.

The Hilbun Law Firm offers free workshops just about every week. They are designed to help you get the information you need to make the right plan. Do not delay. Time is of the essence. Options that will be available now may not be available if you wait. Take a look at our schedule now!

 

Medical Directives- Helping You Have Control Over How You Die

 

While we all hope that we will just drift away and die in our sleep one day, the reality is this is not what usually happens.

Portrait of beautiful smiling 45 years old woman

Judy and her two sisters wanted to do everything possible to keep dad alive. They were willing to do whatever measures were available to keep him alive. And to keep their hope alive. A feeding tube was inserted to help dad get the nutrition she needed. He was given antibiotics to keep infection at bay. One medical intervention after another was offered. The sisters accepted everything hoping and praying for a miracle.

Their brother John, on the other hand, was appalled. “This is not what Dad would have wanted! We need to let him go!”

His sisters accused him of not caring. The said he was being selfish. And so, the family divide began.

And in the end, Dad died. After all, he was 88 years old. No matter what they tried he was just not able to recover from the stroke he had.

And the damage had been done. His children were no longer speaking.

Do you want life-sustaining treatment when you are nearing the end?

Whether the answer is yes or no to this question doesn’t matter. This is a personal choice. What does matter is that your family knows your wishes? And it needs to be in writing. Everything should be clearly spelled out. There are two documents that you should have in place. One is a DNR and the other is a POLST.

What is a DNR?

DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate. This order alerts doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should not be used to keep a person alive in case of a medical emergency.  Someone who is ill may want to refuse any life-sustaining treatment. As such they may have a DNR on file with their doctors, hospital and other personnel.

What is a POLST?

This acronym stands for Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment. This is a binding document with your doctor. It is kept as part of your medical files. A POLST declares a patient’s preference for receiving certain life-sustaining treatments. Other treatment options the patient does not want will also be included as a part of this document.

If you do not want to have a feeding tube, antibiotics or to be hydrated you need to make your wishes known. Had Judy and John’s dad had this document in place the family may still be intact. Instead, harsh accusations were made in a time of grief.

This document should be made when you are not in a medical crisis that could affect your decision making.

And there are other documents you also need to have in place. Planning ahead will help your family make the best decisions for your care according to your wishes.

pexels-photo-208494

The Hilbun Law Firm offers free weekly Workshops.  Both evening and lunchtime workshops are available. RSVP for one today! View our calendar.