Plan for the Senior Years


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One doesn’t have to look far to find seniors in deplorable conditions. The later years for you or your loved ones arrive sooner than expected - especially if those close to you could let you down. All the more reason to:

Plan A will, trust?, power of attorney for finance, living will, Medicare supplemental insurance, long term care insurance [both ridiculously complex], final arrangements and possibly a final move [70% of seniors spend the rest of their lives in the place they turned 65].

Reasons for moving Be near children [70% of those over 65 live within an hour of a child], cost of living, climate, assets tied up in house, house and yard are too much work, neighborhood’s gone downhill ….

Final move - meaning move, unpack, try to find things, change addresses, banks, subscriptions, phone numbers, phone books, insurance …… begin learning the streets and stores, looking for a doctor, dentist, mechanic, plumber … and letting go of the small, familiar things of the past. The earlier you move, the earlier you begin these adjustments and the bigger the residence you can afford to buy. [If you can afford a house now, you might be able to afford only a condo later. The earlier you move, the sooner you can begin remodeling you might need for your later years. Seems your final move is your last and best chance to beat the game and should come before everything else.

Retirement communities [senior trailer parks, apts, co-ops, condos …. ] Many of these offer safety, quiet, recreation, transportation, access to health care, handymen, laundry, and some political and economic clout. They offer being around one’s peers, which means more people home during the day to mix with, safe walks at night, and being around peers who’ve planned ahead enough to be in such a place and be less of a burden on their relatives.

Living like this, away from the competitive ‘outside world’, is like seeing your grandchildren – you enjoy the ‘outside’, but are glad to drive thru the gate to your home where it is safer, quieter, more orderly, and well-maintained. It is so relaxing. Seniors deserve it; they’ve paid their dues.

Residence You want for use [or for resale value in a retirement community], to be on the ground floor with no steps at at least one entrance, to have 36” wide doors, low thresholds, door levers instead of knobs, lower light switches and thermostat, higher outlets, handles in shower, lowered bathtub, and interconnected [photoelectric] smoke [and heat?] alarms in attic, basement, and garage connected to smoke alarms in most rooms - when one goes off, they all go off. You might want an automatic interior sprinkler system. You want short pile carpet with a pad that is not spongy, no throw rugs, safer and easier appliances and tools, sensor lights for security, an intercom, and ceiling fans with remotes to help air out the house daily and reduce energy costs. If your hobby is home repair, you want a fixer-upper; if handy, a garage; if gardening, a yard; if the internet, access; other - Another thought is that these provisions would be helpful should you become disabled due to an accident.


A big one or a minivan, making it is easier to get in and out of. Automatic seat belts and the latest safety features [abs, traction, stability control, side curtain airbags], global positioning system, backup warning system, cell phone or emergency phone, AAA membership, a wide garage for easier access to your car and more storage.


* The average American spends l8 yrs in retirement.

* Only 2% are independently wealthy.

* Experts estimate a [middle income] person needs about 70% of his pre-retirement to maintain his standard of living. Low income-earners need 90% or more.

* Social Security pays 40%.



* Reverse mortgages etc. with caution.

Al Garner [has lived in since march ‘03]

Al Garner, 50l8 jardin, laguna woods, ca 92637, 1 949 837 2662, Lived in NY slums during SERPICO …… worked in welfare, child neglect, drug abuse, juvenile detention …… domestic version of the peace corps …… taught Eng. …… worked on Capitol Hill during Watergate …… started home for mental patients (living with them for two years) …… landlord since ‘78 … … retired … … write (as a hobby) on social issues -

plan for the senior years

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