Growing older is not meant to be a solo journey. Throughout life, we gather people to our village who become instrumental in our personal growth and enhance our well-being. Some of these people are members of the family we are born into, others are friends who grow to love us like family, and ultimately, in old age, professionals who care for us during our most challenging years.
All of us have the ability to surround ourselves with a strong Circle of Concern, a concept first introduced by the late, great Dr. Dennis McCullough. These are people who are knowledgeable and available to us in our last years. Our doctors, therapists, hospice workers, and elder law attorneys provide guidance and help us live emboldened lives – all the way to the end.
Who are the members of your village? Maybe you are looking around and feeling like you are alone. Let’s take a few minutes to reconsider the support team that may already be there – and a few you have yet to meet on your journey.
Key Members of Your Village
Elder Law Attorney
1. Your doctor is ground zero for keeping you healthy.
Your relationship with your doctor is only as good as your communication. If you see your physician once a year, only to report “Everything is fine,” you aren’t getting the full value of this member of your village. If your doctor doesn’t inspire you to dialogue about your health goals and plans for healthy aging, you’ve got the wrong doctor.
Your primary provider is the information center for your village. When you share your goals and aging plan, they can refer you to resources and other providers to help keep your plan on track. From diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases to proactive orders for strengthening therapies, your doctor is key to your aging success.
2. Support the spiritual core of your journey.
If church and religion have been a significant part of your life, chances are you have developed lasting bonds with others at your house of worship. Spirituality becomes even more important as we grow older. That spiritual connection can boost wellness for seniors and church family becomes vitally important as part of the village.
Religion and spirituality often give meaning to life and help seniors deal with the adversities of aging. An older person feels more connected when their established beliefs, values, and traditions are respected and preserved. Therefore, your religious practices are essential to your success, and church connections are a strong contributor to your village.
3. Every care worker can be a hero in your story.
Care workers are an essential part of our lives. Whether you choose private duty caregivers to assist with everyday tasks, occupational therapists to improve your skills, or hospice workers to make life more comfortable, these care workers contribute in countless ways and weave their strength into the story of our lives. Care workers can play an integral role in your aging plan and help you stay connected to the village that sustains you.
Care Workers in Your Village
Private duty caregivers
Home health nurses
Every one of these workers has experience that can be invaluable to your care. Including them in your village and consulting with professionals such as these can relieve frustration and resolve issues faster. Having experts in your village saves time, money, and often the heartache of making the wrong decision.
4. An Elder Law Attorney is a must-have in everybody’s village.
No one knows what life is going to bring, but with an Elder Law Attorney, you don’t have to worry about what may come. Your elder law specialist will work with you to create an aging plan that makes sense for you and your family. Your primary care provider may be the information center of your village, but your Elder Law Attorney makes sure you can afford to access the services needed to help keep you healthy and safe in later life.
Aging Plan Essentials
Your Elder Law Attorney is knowledgeable about resources in your area and how to pay for them. As you work with your attorney on the specifics of your aging plan, they know the current costs and how to access the services – a huge plus when it comes time to execute your plan. The best time to consult with an Elder Law Attorney is now, no matter what your age. Get comfortable having them in your village because they are happy to be with you for the long haul.
5. Involved family is not a guarantee.
Life is hard and family dynamics are complicated. Today’s families are often spread out across the country – or even the world! – and relationships can become messy with unpopular life choices and years of misunderstandings. Some older people no longer have living families, and others alienated theirs long ago.
Family comes in several forms, including friends who have grown to be closer than family. Case management is also a resource for those who need a stand-in family member when life situations get particularly tough. For those fortunate enough to have involved people and nurture their connections, family members and friends can provide great support to the aging person and benefit greatly from the rest of the village.
The Value of the Village
As you look around, you might see these key players are already part of your village. These relationships are special on their own but increase dramatically in value when you call upon their support in times of need. Let them share their expertise with you. Their greatest hope is that you will see you are not alone.
Growing older doesn’t mean life is over. Put more life into your years with thoughtful planning and embrace the members of your village. No one wants to see you succeed like your own Elder Law Attorney so introduce them to your village and let successful aging begin!
Access to resources and knowledgeable planning skills are two reasons Elder Law Attorneys are one of the Resources We Love. Learn more about how they fit into your well-planned future in the Legal and Financial Section of our Blog.