As most of our clients know, planning at Sensible Financial is more than just running the numbers (though we think we’re pretty good at that). It’s also helping our clients think more broadly about how they want to live, and then helping them consider the financial ramifications of their options.
Quite a few of our clients have been thinking about their living arrangements after they retire, and certainly as they approach their mid-70s and 80s. Others are thinking about this same topic, but for their parents or other older relatives. We have learned that there are a wide variety of potential living options, and that most people don’t have a good sense of what they are or how to begin the process of thinking about them.
With that in mind, we asked Karen Wasserman to speak to our clients and guests. Karen, a nationally certified care manager and social worker, founded the Jewish Family & Children’s Service care management program, Your Elder Experts, in 1999. Over the past twenty years, she has built the organization into one of the Boston area’s leading care management practices. Karen spends much of her time leading educational programs in the community about elder services, housing, and care management. Fortunately for us, Karen was happy to share her knowledge with us and with our guests.
We gathered on Saturday afternoon, June 15th at the Embassy Suites in Waltham. Despite the gorgeous weather, clients and guests gave up their outdoor plans and joined us for the seminar. It was a great turnout. Karen is an interesting and dynamic speaker, who peppers her speech with examples to illustrate her points. She kept the audience rapt and inspired a lively Q & A session after the talk.
Here are a few highlights from the session.
- Aging life care managers (like Karen) help their clients navigate the medical system and the various residential options, and act as advocates for them as they make plans and decisions.
- Getting expert assistance can be a good investment to save money and for peace of mind.
- Physical and cognitive changes, ability to drive, access to medical care, and the presence or absence of support systems all play into the decision and timing of a move.
- Living options include:
- Staying in your home, with help
- Retirement communities
- Independent living
- Retirement villages
- Congregant housing
- Assisted living
- Nursing homes
- Even among living options of the same type, there can be significant differences from property to property, in terms of services offered, culture, and cost.
- It’s better to explore the options and plan before you need to make a change. Once older adults are in crisis, they may have fewer options, be less able to make decisions, or find it more difficult to move to a new community.
- With very significant help from Karen, Sensible Financial has identified a variety of resources available to help you learn more about this topic, including lists of Aging Life Care Managers and community organizations. We will make this information available on our website soon.
We appreciate that Karen gave both her time and her expertise to the audience and to the Sensible team. From the comments and conversations after her talk, the audience found it as enriching as we did. If you couldn’t make it to the event, don’t worry. We knew many of you would want to see it so we videotaped the seminar. Enjoy!