Moving into the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hannukah and New Years provides an opportunity for most people for heart to heart conversations and self-conversation unlike any other during the year. You can reconnect, change old habits, adopt new resolutions and decide who you really are, where you will live, and who you will spend your most special times with. It is an opportunity not to be missed.
Holidays bring to mind both the pleasure and conflict inherent at this time of year. Pleasure comes with reestablishing old ties. Conflict can come with reminders why some old ties were broken or strained. We miss people. We may grieve. We reconnect with people. It is the best time of year to decide what matters and what can be ahead.
One of my favorite expressions is from a woman author who used a man’s name to be published, George Elliott. The expression is “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” If you really believe this you can decide to be what you dreamed to be in the past. You can, within reason, create the life you want. Sure, there are limitations but regardless of circumstances, there are possibilities. You can determine your direction and what it may take is reexamination of your perspective. If all of this sounds like dreaming, it is but dreaming combined with a realistic assessment of where you are and where you could be can be the answer to bring you out of a slump.
This places in a new light the idea that this is a time to reexamine what you are doing and make mid-course corrections.
So here are some ideas for older adults from an article “A Holiday Heart-to-Heart: Talk About Elder Law Issues This Season,” It manages to capture some of the practical with the dream. http://www.livingwellmag.com/holiday-heart-heart-talk-elder-law-issues-season/.
“Housing. No one knows exactly what the future holds, but the key to feeling secure is to keep all of your options open. There are a wide variety of living arrangements for seniors…Some people want to stay in their own homes as long as possible and bring in outside help to make that possible. Others want the freedom from home maintenance that a senior residence community offers…” You can decide and knowing that it is your decision can be empowering. The article goes on to discusss how elder law attorneys can help to make these decisions and determine whether the decision is realistic.
“Finances. It’s important to plan carefully and preserve your assets for when you need them most…” I agree and would also add that a realistic assessment of what you have and what you want to and can honestly share can help enormously. Once organized, you have a better idea of what you can do. Organization is something elder law attorneys and also financial planners can help you with.
“Health…Do you know what your benefits will cover when you need them?… The article points out that elder law can help sort through your coverages and assist in decision making. Our office also assists clients in helping them to complete the forms and deal with insurers.
“Disposition of Assets.” The article discusses estate planning and ways elder law attorneys can help. Obviously, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers and Living Wills are important. As conditions change sometimes beneficiaries, executors, and agents under power of attorney change.
Here are some thoughts. Many feelings compete for our attention. Now is a time to talk with children and friends. Now is a time to see what charitable gift giving we can afford, what we need to preserve life style and living conditions, and what we want to leave for when we are gone and not just in money but in values as well. Now is a time to come to terms with what we have, what we realistically can achieve, and what truly makes us happy.
Appreciation might not lurk under the Christmas tree but happiness can be something we can share with anyone.
While we are at it we could ask what is home? Home is a place where we feel comfortable, where we can relax and be ourselves. It may be with parents or spouses, partners, children or friends. May you find your home wherever it is and share your thoughts with them. We can remake ourselves.
Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.