Good retirement

Most people who vacation spend many hours planning before hand. They purchase tickets, make reservations, schedule tours and transportation and anything else that allows them to relax and enjoy their vacation by following the plans they’ve prepared and confirmed.

It is very difficult to enjoy a vacation if there is stress caused from cluelessness, being lost, or wondering if there are any tickets left for a particular event.

“To be prepared is half the victory,” said Miguel de Cervantes (Spanish author and writer of Don Quixote). Planning is essential to an enjoyable life. One must prepare for opportunities and position oneself to mitigate potential risks. This is true in all facets of life from having a baby to saving for college and ultimately retirement. Planning increases your chances of a desirable outcome. Successful, worry-free retirement requires probably the most careful and thorough planning of any phase of life.

“Most often, people want to stay in their own homes and maintain their current lifestyles,” says Pat Nemetch, President of APRN, a geriatric care management company in Allentown. “Good planning ensures individuals that their income will be enough to keep up with the repairs and maintenance of their homes, to afford their health insurance, prescriptions and food without hardship, as well as monies to travel and take the vacations they have grown accustomed to. Retirement does not mean your life stops but that you are entering the most wonderful phase of your life, you are able to do what you want, when you want and how you want. Good planning allows you to do the things you have always wanted to do.”

Retirement planning is often associated with financial stability during the golden years but includes much more. One must deal with legal issues, like wills and estates, as well as insurance, health, care and other issues. In a recent Lifestyles over 50 poll, 81% of those surveyed prefer to live in their home as long as possible, which translates into planning for housing accommodations. This phenomenon is called aging in place, where one actively plans to remain independent and stay in the comfort of their home. The more planning that is involved, the higher the likelihood of an individual remaining in their home. Remaining independent is now easier than ever, as local organizations like the Aging in Place Coalition of the Lehigh Valley (a nonprofit group consisting of senior service providers) can put one in contact with an array of products and services that support an individual’s desire to live happily at home.

Much like financial planning, a growing number of seniors and boomers are planning their housing accommodations, which may include downsizing, moving into a active adult community, finding a home on one floor and even installing elevators or lifts in their home. “People are planning now to construct a new residence, move or renovate their current home to enable them to remain there for another 30 years,” says Samantha Bogert, an occupational therapist and certified aging in place specialist at Good Shepherd. In ERA Real Estate’s annual home ownership survey of over 1,000 adults aged 50-plus nationwide, 20% of respondents planned on moving in the next 5 years. When considering real estate options, 75% of those interviewed said it is important to be near family.

Many people are electing to sell their home and move into an active adult or age restricted community. These communities offer amenities like a community clubhouse, exercise room, pool, tennis courts, and more. Because the majority of residents are retired or have similar schedules, they is much camaraderie within the community, with outings and social events. One community located in Lower Macungie, is K.Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Farmington, that offers a neighborhood of over 256, one-story single homes with no outdoor maintenance. For Will and Wanda Schmidt, this was a big draw for them. Not only was the house an ideal “forever house,” but they loved the idea of the many amenities at their fingertips. The freedom from having to care for their yard has allowed for the couple to travel more often. They both enjoy the gym, located in the clubhouse, several times a week. Will and Wanda noted that there are many activities in the community, but they are unable to attend many because they both work full time. For them, living in this community has been like a dream, and they look forward to the days when they can join the many activities offered in their community.

For individuals needing indoor home modifications to accommodate mobility and health needs, Good Shepherd offers the Home Consultation Program, one of its newest initiatives to meet the community’s post rehabilitation and lifestyle needs. This program provides a comprehensive consultation with an occupational therapist who is trained to help individuals achieve independence in all areas of their lives and has specific training in home modification. The therapist meets with the client and family to perform a functional and environment evaluation. The program is used for new construction and home renovations, and specific recommendations are made to maximize accessibility, independence and safety for the client, caregiver and family living in the home. The service also includes a phone consultation by your request to your architect or designer prior to any renovation or construction. Making changes prior to construction can be significantly less expensive then trying to retrofit it at a later time. Examples of recommendations may be the installation of grab bars in bathrooms, lowered countertops and cabinets and wider doorways. They also provide assistive technology, environmental control units. The service is not covered by health insurance but often the basic home safety evaluations are.

For those looking to lead the good life in retirement, a comfortable home is key and there are many resources and services available. It just takes a plan.

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