Yesterday evening I went along to the Mendip Business Women’s Forum evening organised by Anne Challenor-Wood of Convivium Care.
The theme of the event was planning for old age. This is something most of us don’t like to think about too much, and short of making pension contributions, we try to put it to the back of our minds.
However, it is increasingly clear that in this age of longevity, but questionable state support for the elderly, it is important that we all take control of our own futures.
This does not just mean thinking about the financial issues around old age – although these do take some careful consideration – but also about how we want to live and thrive as we get older.
Many elderly people find that their choices and freedoms are taken away from them because they are forced to rely on the state for their health and wellbeing. By definition the state (which is largely institution based) is most interested in ensuring basic needs are met to budget, but it is much less able to ensure people’s wellbeing and happiness is being ensured.
For this reason it is vital that we make sure our loved ones are clear on what we want and what our thoughts given various scenarios, and that we empower them to carry out these wishes should we not be able to carry them out ourselves through incapacity.
I was particularly interested to hear that the term ‘Next of Kin’ has very dubious meaning in law and ‘next of kin’ often find themselves outside of the decision making process when their loved ones need medical assistance.
Finally, it is vital that everyone have a will, which clearly stipulates who they want to benefit from the result of all their hard work in life. If you do not have a will you have no say in how your estate is distributed – don’t just assume you know how the law works.
We all expect and hope that we will have a long and happy life so it is wise to do everything we can to ensure that we achieve it. Hoping for the best – that someone else will do it for you – is no longer an option.