If you are over 55 years old, congratulations!
You’ve made it this far and despite the challenges of aging, as my Dad used to say,
“It beats the alternative!”
This is not the typical article about organizing your belongings. Many older adults have accumulated a mass of items at this point and our blog Do I Need a Professional Organizer? covers that issue nicely. But how will you now organize your life going forward? In our fifties, we still have all or most of the capabilities of our youth with some wisdom gained by life experiences. Sooner than we think, we may not be as independent. It is critical to plan now for a healthy, happy, and organized future. You need to be proactive if you wish to thrive in your later years and now is the Ideal time to plan. Here are 5 tips for staying organized in your 55+ better years.
- Tip #1 Prioritize your spiritual well-being
First and foremost, it is time to organize your life in a way that allows you to enjoy some quality activities instead of only accomplishing the necessary and mundane tasks of everyday life.
Think of a large jar into which you will place sand, pebbles, and rocks. The sand represents that which must get done each day, such as brushing your teeth. The pebbles are routine but not imperative tasks such as vacuuming. The rocks are the things that bring joy such as time outside, listening to, or playing music, quality time with loved ones, etc. If you put the sand in first, and then the pebbles, the rocks will not fit. If you put the rocks in first, there will be room for the rest. Try it with your activities and see what happens!
Is it ok to meditate in the sunshine before you turn on the computer or check email? Of course, it is! Your spirit will thank you.
- Tip #2 Decide where you want to live
Some of us would like to stay in our homes and “age in place.” These are the questions you should ask yourself sooner rather than later. Can you afford your home if you need to pay for services that you used to do such as landscaping, maintenance, and cleaning? Is it practical to live in your home if you can no longer drive? Do you have support nearby? Is your home safe? (If you are not sure call us for a Home Safety Audit)
If you decide it is not safe or practical to remain in your current home, there are many options available. Start researching now so that your choices are wide open. Older adults who wait too long often have the choice taken away from them after a fall. At this point, most of the decisions are rushed or made for them. What could have been a leisurely experience of downsizing over several months or years becomes a stressful, chaotic time.
- Tip #3 Prepare for Health Issues
Be proactive and establish relationships with trusted medical professionals while you are healthy. No one wants to have to pick a doctor on the fly. You should also discuss your wishes with your loved ones and especially your proxy so that they are not put in a position to guess. The forms that anyone at any age should have filled out and filed with their health care provider are the Medical Power Of Attorney (Advance Directive, Health Care Proxy) and a Living Will. Here is a link that will give you access to these documents by state. https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/free-printable-advance-directives/
- Tip #4 Plan for Your Financial Well Being
If you are mentally incapacitated, who do you trust? This needs to be legally written down in a Power of Attorney (POA). Here is a link to a wealth of information about POAs: https://www.agingcare.com/topics/55/power-of-attorney-poa
- Tip #5 Pre-select Caregiving Resources
Planning is also key here and you should ask yourself this question? If I am physically incapacitated, who do I want to care for me and where? Make your wishes known to your POA and those around you. Cultivate friends of all ages and make your wishes known.
Be an older adult who is proactive in keeping these parts of your life organized and expect to thrive well into your later years! The motto here is “Plan for the worst and hope for the best.”