Start young to plan for your old age

Miami's Community Newspapers

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it you’ve got to start young.”

That is true especially if you plan to age alone, without the benefit of children or close family. I am most likely going to age alone and I am preplanning for that. You should too.

Today’s 80 is the new 70 and 70 the new 60. Most of us don’t plan on giving up work, volunteering or travel until we are well into our 70s or 80s. I have friends who were volunteers at the Key Biscayne Tennis Tournament for over 20 years. The only reason they didn’t volunteer this year was because he became sick and couldn’t.

As we grow older those of us aging alone have to make plans while we’re fully functional. We have to discern what resources are available to us in whichever community we choose as our “last home.” With today’s service industry and technology there is a huge advantage. There are healthy meal services (both for profit and non-profit), ride share and in many neighborhoods free ride services.

But, as I state over and over again, it’s about preplanning. You need to have a trusted friends or advisors who can be named as your Power of Attorney for Finance and Health. You need to decide now how to disperse your jewelry, money and tangible goods and write it down. You should also plan to stay out of probate court.

You need to give your passwords for your bank, phone, computer and any other technological device you have, to trusted friends. Sometimes the best thing to do is find a disinterested third party, such as elder care lawyer, and give it all to him or her. Yes, you have to pay them but it’s a simple business transaction devoid of emotion.

You also should think of who is going to manage your healthcare from an insurance point of view so you’re not selling your tangible goods to pay for unwanted or unneeded healthcare. You will need an advocate and that takes preplanning.

To review: If you live alone now or believe that you will age alone without the benefit of family, now is the time to decide where to live, who to trust, who to choose as your beneficiaries and who to have as your Power of Attorney. I strongly advise you consult with an elder care attorney for all the correct documentation and to have an advocate for you when you can no longer advocate for yourself.

Frances Reaves, Esq., a graduate of the University of Miami Law School, spent 10 years as a litigator/lobbyist. Today, she Is an accomplished business woman who, when her parents could no longer take care of themselves, learned the ins and outs of senior care (or the lack thereof). She founded Parent Your Parents to assist seniors and their children through the myriad pitfalls and options of “senior care” in the 21st Century. If you have any questions or comments contact Frances at

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