At this time each year, we Floridians are reminded to prepare for the Hurricane Season. It technically begins June 1, but, of course, we donâ€™t just wait until then to prepare. For example, when my husband and I built our new home, we made sure the windows are storm-worthy; shutters handy and easily applied. We stock up on canned food, candles and bottled water. We canâ€™t stop the powerful storms, but we can maximize our own power to sustain them. We can minimize the losses and limitations if we are wise in our preparations.
Which brings me to an intriguing subject especially relevant today, when many people are living into their 90â€™s and beyond. I routinely focus on â€“ and write about - the positive aspects of aging. But letâ€™s be honest. Regardless of how positive aging can be, we all know that aging also brings challenges, losses and limitations. Just as Floridians are wise to prepare early for hurricanes, am I (are you) preparing for long lives in ways that will maximize our power and minimize our losses and limitations? If you knew â€“ for certain â€“ that you would live to be 100 years old, what changes would you make â€“ right now â€“ in your daily life so that the days and years prior to that 100th birthday celebration would be the best they can be?
Health and physical fitness
About health and physical fitness:
Research consistently shows that daily exercise is crucial to both physical and mental health. Walking is one of the best remedies for weight control and itâ€™s often a good anti-depressant as well. Have you talked with your physician (when you get your annual exams and lab work) about suitable exercise for you? Tai Chi and Yoga also benefit balance and flexibility. When do you plan to begin enhancing your physical fitness?
About financial issues:
Have you gotten serious about wills and estate planning? You might find the chapter in Eavesdropping
particularly helpful: â€œWe Leave Behind A Piece of Ourselves: Tangible and Intangible Assets.â€ There are lots of good ideas there. And check out Appendix B, where the Pages included a handy guide for recording the location of important documents and personal records. If my will is written, but I havenâ€™t told my heirs where itâ€™s located, Iâ€™ve only done half the job. This is comparable to buying hurricane supplies and not recording where they are located. Itâ€™s hard to find those candles in the dark!
Are there some tangled â€œwebsâ€ in old relationships that youâ€™d like to resolve, or at least, put to rest? There are a couple of the wise steps found in the literature and program of Alcoholics Anonymous. These steps have to do with taking a moral inventory of past actions and making amends to those whoâ€™ve been harmed, when appropriate. The material in Appendix C in Eavesdropping
is also related to this topic. Itâ€™s about writing an ethical will. The goal of an ethical will is to answer the question: â€œWhat do I want my loved ones to know about me?â€
About future housing:
Where do you want to live in case of â€¦? Where would you be comfortable if you were unable to fully care for yourself? Have you told your family about your choices? Have you checked out options?
You may make it easier for everyone if you have an honest conversation with relevant family members and share your wishes. Have you had the experience of having to make all these kinds of decisions for someone else: having to tiptoe around difficult subjects; making your best guesses, perhaps feeling guilty or lonely in the decisions you had to make? Open discussion now will help relieve stress and worry for everyone.
Have you found this topic thought provoking and useful? You are invited to share your preparations, thoughts and experiences with our community.
Join us â€œContinuing the conversationâ€ at www.KendraBrownPhD.com