Keys to Better Aging

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Thelma Sutcliffe turned 114 years old in April, making her the oldest living American and the seventh-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group. The Omaha, Nebraska, resident attributes her relatively good health and longevity to the fact that she never had children, never smoked and made it a habit not to worry.1


Not many people make it to 114, but those who do outlive their friends and loved ones. That’s why it’s important to develop passions and hobbies you can enjoy for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. It’s also a good idea to establish a plan that provides a confident retirement. That may include living below your means and casting a wide net of friends to help ensure you have close ones to grow old with. It also may include buying insurance policies that offer reliable income. If you’d like help planning, please give us a call.

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One key factor to consider is where you want to live in retirement, particularly during the later years when you may need help. Paying for full-time care in your own home can be very expensive. However, COVID-19 has caused some hesitation moving to assisted living and nursing homes due to the potential for disease outbreaks in the future. You may want to start thinking and talking with family members about the possibility of moving in with them later in life, if necessary. You could even use proceeds from the sale of your home to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) next to their home. Also known as a backyard cottage or granny flat, an ADU can help cut expenses to pay for in-home care – so there is less burden on family members.2


Some ADU floorplans even feature two bedrooms, so you could hire a full-time caregiver and provide room and board. Later, your heirs can use the ADU for rental income or to plan for their own long-term care.


Apart from financial and housing plans, consider developing hobbies you can enjoy later in life. You may cultivate a love of history, art or music early in retirement through volunteer efforts. For example, work as a docent, usher or fundraiser for a local museum, art gallery or concert hall. A heartfelt appreciation  of the arts has a way of eliciting joy, even if you develop mobility or cognitive issues.

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1 Leah Asmelash. CNN. April 29, 2021. “She just became the oldest living person in the US and all she wants is to be able to eat meals with her friend again.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
2 Zillow. March 18, 2021. “What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) – and Tips for Building One.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.
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