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Senior scene

May 26, 2012

From the office: Celebrate spring by making sure all your plans are in place

At last, I think we can finally say that spring is here!

The weather is warming up, the rain has been coming and the plants are showing signs of growth. People are out and about working in their yards, and taking long leisurely strolls.

Many individuals take the opportunity this season every year to do additional work that is not part of the normal routine: Motivation is found for this to be a time for cleaning out closets, changing your smoke detector batteries and to review last year's goals for what needed to be done, and to see if those goals need to be modified. Revisiting plans seems to always be addressed last, but it is definitely the most important.

These should include plans to keep us safe and healthy.

In light of last year's flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, it would be doubly important to look at your emergency plan, especially if you live in area that was evacuated.

If you didn't have one then, now after it is still fresh in your mind, come up with a plan and then a backup plan. Know where you are going in case you need to evacuate, what you are taking with you, who you need to contact and how people will get in touch with you.

Tell someone you trust so that he can assist you and give you support.

Remember the lists … for medication, doctors, insurances, emergency contacts, service providers and anyone else you may have to get in contact with. Make notations for changes based on why you would leave (flood, fire, etc.).

For many in our county, these may include plans to rebuild. If this is true, learn about what is out there to help you. There are many groups working to make sure that the rebuilding process is easier for all. The new recovery group Schoharie Area Long Term, also known as SALT, is ready to help. This is a coalition of diverse groups whose mission is to help those affected by disaster. Although it could appear insurmountable, people are here to help.

For those who are moving closer to retirement, a financial plan is important. You will need to consider not only what type of lifestyle you wish to have, but what resources you will have available. If the two don't match, then serious budget changes should take place to work toward that end. Don't depend on your children or the lottery. Neither is a sure thing. The closer you are to retiring, the more diligent you should be to review this often.

As we move into a more federally driven health-care system, it is critical that we all pay close attention as to how the new changes will affect us. For older adults, another important plan is that of long-term care. This field is also changing and you never know when care will be needed. For some, it is expected after an injury or illness, but for others it may be sudden.

The growing trend is that more older adults would like to stay in their homes as long as possible. To meet that need, homes may need modifications added to make room for adaptive equipment and additional support. Do you know about the services that your local Office for the Aging provides for support?

It is also important to know what your insurance plan will cover and what will be your responsibility. If staying at home is not an option, then what is most important? Is it staying near family or friends, climate conditions, specialty facilities to accommodate health conditions, or affordability?

Please, take the time this spring to review your plans. It's always best to be prepared, and don't worry, plans are never written in stone and can be changed whenever conditions change ... or you can wait until next spring!

Nancy Dingee is director of the Schoharie County Office for the Aging. 'Senior Scene' columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/ seniorscene.

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