I’m a baby-boomer. Sometimes I forget how old I really am – like when I think of all the things I plan to get done during the weekend, and by noon on Saturday I’ve had to sit down and rest several times. Or when I realize I can’t stay bent over in my flower bed very long before my back begins to hurt. Yes – we’re all aging. The good news (maybe) is that we’re also living longer.
Right now, I have a medical disability, but I’m not really disabled – yet. I’m starting to think about my quality of life as I grow older. What accommodations/equipment will I need as I become less mobile? Will I have enough money to get the things I need? What am I going to do when I can’t safely drive anymore? Who can I rely on for help when I need it?
Did you know the Illinois Department on Aging is developing a State Plan on Aging? They’ve thought of many things to consider as our population ages. But I wonder if they will be prepared to deal with all the baby-boomers that will soon be flooding their office for services. Will they be able to offer me choices, or will my options be limited? Will I be allowed to make my own choices, or is their plan to manage my life? Will the programs my parents have benefited from in their 80s be available for me if I live that long?
I’m glad I’m thinking of these things now. I realize there are garden benches to help me tend my flowers. And I’m beginning to know I have stamina limitations that I need to consider in regard to time management. I also realize that I need to manage my insurance and savings plans in a way that will ensure I can afford the resources I will need. I’m even looking into seeking advice from a financial planner or trusted friend with good financial skills. I’m grateful I live in a town that has public transportation (both city and rural), and I probably need to learn how to use them now, rather than later. Many people have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or other family members they may be relying on for help when they need it (no matter what their age), but not everyone has an offspring or extended family. Even if they do, there is no guarantee those family members will be willing or able to help. Hiring personal assistance should probably be considered in my financial planning.
I’m also glad there are organizations like the Illinois Department on Aging and PACE. PACE has been asked for input on the plan, and we are advocating for independence for this aging population, and considerations for those with all types of disabilities. I hope everyone involved in my life as I age will keep in mind “nothing about me with out me.” Use of PACE equipment loan and personal assistant programs might also be in my future.