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Ducks in a Row

I think we all hope to have all our ducks in a row by the time we are elderly and in need of care. Maybe we don’t give it a lot of thought until we’re getting closer. Or maybe it’s assumed someone else will take care of it?

I remember when I was about 18 visualising very clearly what I would be like at 30. And 30 came and I wasn’t too worried. I told myself I’m still young, no worries, I’ll get myself sorted by 40. Then 40 came. That was a hard one. I realised my ducks were more like cats, all over the place. Now my highest hope is that I accept being in my 40’s before I hit 50. Should I start worrying about 70?

So what do I even mean by ducks in a row? I used the term to mean having my life sorted – and I know now, that never really happens. But what about in old age? Others may say retirement planning or preparing for our golden years, but is that going far enough?

By preparing do we mean saving? Will enough money make our years golden in old age?

Yes we think, absolutely, when our health is good, we have friends and family. Travel, grandchildren, gardening or whatever. Money gives us options. Yes they could be our golden years.

But that ideal could be cut short by health issues or end of life. Well ok, I had some wonderful golden years and then I died. Maybe that’s the best plan, I certainly hope for some golden years.

But what if you don’t die? Great right? Well yes but will your good health stay with you – forever? What comes after gold?

For many people a health issue such as Alzheimer’s is going to cut short their golden years as described above. Or you may get a wonderful extended life with many happy years and then old age just takes its toll. I know a lady well into her 90’s. She’s had many happy years but now feels like a prisoner in her rest home. She just got old and now needs to be looked after – it’s a tricky one. Did she have her ducks in a row? Maybe? 90 odd good years is a pretty good life. Is it ok for our last years to not be as happy as we wanted?

But maybe we only get to 75, or even just 60 and a health issue hits? Maybe there isn’t someone able to look after us and we need to go into care. If we have our ducks in a row, as in having plenty of money, we go into a top class facility. Yay, golden years.

I have not visited a top class facility. I really should. I see the ads. They look wonderful. They are probably wonderful. Some people reading this may know of them, work in them, or own them.

So, I am not in a position to criticise or even give an opinion on any care facilities.

But when should I do this?

When do people usually do this?

What kind of say can I expect to have on the care facility I go to, if I only visit it when I’m about to need it. Or if I’m visiting with a family member, the type of demands they can make on my behalf are going to be limited. They’re not going to reorganise the place for me.

It’s not like buying a house. If the type of care I want doesn’t even exist I can’t pay to have it built. Even with the money, I don’t have the time at this stage of my life. I’ll be tired, stressed, probably mentally or physically unwell. Maybe a family member is helping me find this place or maybe a medical professional.

Ok, so I’m only looking at the best case scenario, because we all somehow imagine or assume that’s where we will end up.

When I go into care, who will have decided this particular place is top quality? I don’t mean the person who puts me there. I mean the Owner? Designer? Builder? Care professional? Business manager? Government?

They may have done a great job. But should I be trusting them now? Is it right for me to just assume this imagined place in the future is going to be what I want. I don’t even know what options exist. I’m not alone. People not in the industry do not spend their time thinking about this.

Now is the time I need to be getting my ducks in a row. Yes we need money for old age. But we also need to do some research and maybe give some input.

We need to think about the type of homes we want to live in if we get to the place where we no longer have a choice. 

I don’t know how to do this. I don’t even know where to start. But I really think I should join the conversation, and I encourage others to do the same.

 

Take a look at Mindjig’s listing on Eldernet here.

About Julie Bourla

Julie Bourla
Julie Bourla is a co-owner of the online store, Mindjig.co.nz. Mindjig offers gifts and activities for people living with dementia or brain injury. Her husband, Jonathan, is an activities coordinator in a secure dementia unit. Together they have been developing engaging solutions geared particuarly towards New Zealanders, to help people living with cognitive challenges and also their carers/families. With Julie’s background in graphic design & illustration and Jonathan’s in photography, they use their skills to make meaningful products with many of the activities on the site being designed and produced themselves.

One comment

  1. Very thought provoking Julie

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