Redefining Independence for Seniors
July, 2020 – We celebrated Independence Day differently this year. Cities across the country cancelled parades, baseball games, and fireworks. Plans changed as the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 accelerated across the country. Many people stayed home, watching the newly released Hamilton musical on television, and reflecting on our Nation’s founding 244 years ago.
THANK YOU VETERANS
My Elder Law and Estate Planning practice helps people with their later-life planning. Many older Veterans qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension. It is always an honor to help these patriotic seniors qualify for benefits that they earned while protecting our freedoms.
Most of the Veterans we work with are over age 65: having served during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Many of them have health problems and some suffer from Dementia. They fought for freedom on the battlefield in their youth. Now their liberty is often curtailed not by a foreign enemy, but by the limits of their own bodies and minds.
HOW DO SENIORS DEFINE INDEPENDENCE?
In the Declaration of Independence we read that we “are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights [including] Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Let’s look at these rights from the perspective of those who have enjoyed them the longest.
When Senior Adults consider their right to LIFE, it takes on a whole new meaning. Quality of life is often dependent on health. Independence may mean choosing to have surgery to increase well-being such as a knee replacement. It could be choosing between staying at home with personal care assistance or moving to an Assisted Living. Independence may also mean choosing a natural death, rather than using advanced technology to prolong life. Advance Directives such as a Medical Power of Attorney and a Directive to Physicians can help Seniors remain in control of their healthcare decisions ensuring the highest quality of life.
When Seniors consider their right to LIBERTY, they often talk about staying in control of their lives. One measure of Liberty is the ability to make choices others disagree with. Choosing to travel, although the risk of injury is higher when away from home. Disregarding the advice of a physician because the effect on their lifestyle would be too great. Choosing to get married, or divorced, over the objections of their grown children. Seniors have the greatest likelihood of retaining their liberty when they have a good estate plan.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
The PURSUIT of HAPPINESS is the third right listed in the Declaration of Independence. Some Seniors find happiness by retiring from a stressful job. Others find working part-time, or in a new field, brings them joy. Many seniors pursue happiness through the development of their talents, skills or hobbies. Others find happiness in volunteer service, family time, travel, and education. In order to have the freedom to pursue happiness, a senior must have both the financial resources and the physical and mental health needed.
We Help Seniors Maintain Their Independence
One of the most fulfilling aspects of the legal work we do, is to see our clients retain their independence during their later years. Please contact me at 469-210-8371 if we can help you, a loved one, or a client achieve a more independent future.