by Pam Wright - Wright Law- Law Firm in Jackson, TN

to make your retirement years more enjoyable, here are five suggestions. We hope the ... transitions, whether it is your own or a ... deal of reliable information, at no cost, from the official Medicare website and from Tennessee's State ... Make sure you have a disability plan about how you will manage through a serious.
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Five Ways to Keep Your Golden Years Shining

by Pam Wright

Certified Elder Law Attorney

Pam Wright, Certified Elder Law Attorney Wright Law

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Five Ways to Keep Your Golden Years Shining

Have you been thinking about your retirement years? If you have been wondering how to make your retirement years more enjoyable, here are five suggestions. We hope the suggestions are helpful and encouraging. Each topic discussion includes links to more online information that may be of interest. These suggestions are general in nature. Some of the topics may apply to you and some will not. None of this information is legal advice.

Things change. You will face new challenges. Your ability to learn new things and accept new ideas will make it is much easier for you to adapt to changing circumstances. Opportunities for learning are everywhere. When you are ready to learn more about long term care, there are a number of resources to help you stay informed, or get “up to speed” quickly. If you don’t know where to look for the information you need, our website has a resource page that can get you started. Watch for community events that are geared to aging topics. The Northwest and Southwest Area Agencies on Aging and Disability have regular events that will include displays or presentations about the aging resources that are available in your community. The Facing Future Choices Conference is held each year in Jackson, Tennessee. It is sponsored by area businesses to provide education on topics related to aging, long term care and caregiving. There is an annual Alzheimer’s educational conference sponsored by the West Tennessee Healthcare Senior Services, West Tennessee Neuroscience and Spine, and the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation in Jackson. Also, the West Tennessee chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association hosts Family Caregiver Classes and Support Group meetings locally. For more information, call 800-272-3900.

Pam Wright, Certified Elder Law Attorney Wright Law

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Five Ways to Keep Your Golden Years Shining

We all dread those milestone birthdays. Turning 50 doesn’t seem so bad until you start getting those AARP mailings! I thought AARP was starting just a bit early. Turns out I was wrong. Age 50 is a good time to start thinking about future transitions, whether it is your own or a family member’s. During your fifties, you need to be visualizing your transition to retirement. Start by reviewing your employment benefits and retirement accounts. Learn the difference between Social Security’s early retirement and full retirement benefits. Have a contingency plan for unexpected caregiving responsibilities or changes at work. When you reach age 65, you are eligible to enroll in Medicare. Making decisions about Medicare starts at age 65, no matter when you retire or when you start drawing Social Security benefits. If you don’t make those decisions, or if you make poor decisions, you may have to live with the results for the rest of your life. Fortunately, you can find a great deal of reliable information, at no cost, from the official Medicare website and from Tennessee’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program. Of course, it seems like every year is a milestone year for children, but there are some years that are more significant from a legal planning perspective. You will want to include actions to address your child’s needs in your planning, if your child is enrolled in (or will be enrolled in) TennCare; or, has an impairment that will affect decision-making. Make a plan for the “tricky” years. As you age, you may find that there are times when you need help even though you are still able to live independently. Don’t hesitate to get trustworthy advice about managing investments. Make sure you have a disability plan about how you will manage through a serious illness or difficult disability. It should include a thoughtfully prepared durable power of attorney and, perhaps, other legal or financial strategies. You will need strategies that will protect you from potential exploitation. If you haven’t already done so, you need to name a health care agent who can make medical decisions

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Pam Wright, Certified Elder Law Attorney Wright Law

Five Ways to Keep Your Golden Years Shining

for you during the times you are not able to do so for yourself. A health care agent becomes especially important when your medical needs are more complicated. Make sure you keep your agent involved and informed about your health services. To learn more, contact the Wright Law Firm for a copy of our handout, “Frequently Asked Questions about Advanced Health Care Directives.” As part of your planning, you should consider where you will live in the future. Do you want to stay in your own home as long as possible? If so, you will want to make realistic goals about how to make that plan possible. Or, you may decide that a move to another location, or other type of residence, is best for you. Regardless of your preference, you will need to consider such things as costs, available family or community supports, available transportation and access to medical services. The Wright Law Firm specializes in helping people make an effective, personalized plan for aging or disability.

You have probably been told this before! If you are working, your employment benefit plan may include benefits or wellness incentives to protect your health. Once you enroll in Medicare, there are extra benefits to encourage you to stay as healthy as possible. You have a free introductory visit to your physician during the first 12 months after you enroll in Medicare Part B. And, as a Medicare beneficiary, you can take advantage of a number of preventive services and benefits. But it can be hard to make healthy changes in your life if you don’t have a way to pay for health care. Our firm can help you understand the available options to get or keep health insurance, or to help pay for the staggering costs of long term care. If you are a caregiver, it is doubly important that you take care of yourself. The very act of caregiving can increase health risks. Too often, caregivers put the needs of others before their own. If you are working, you may need to know more about your rights to take family or medical leave. It may be time to consider having help in the home. Our firm can help you review your options to get the supportive services you need.

Pam Wright, Certified Elder Law Attorney Wright Law

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Five Ways to Keep Your Golden Years Shining

It was Erma Bombeck who said, “He who laughs ... lasts.” Getting organized and making plans can sometimes be stressful. Good news - laughter can counteract the effects of that stress. Give yourself a break and have some fun. Keep laughing and you will improve your health! Share some of that laughter with your family and friends. Keeping in touch with friends and loved ones is another way to improve your health and to protect yourself during your older years. Research shows that the lack of social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If animals make you laugh, that works too. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that having pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. Having a pet can increase your socialization. Generally, a pet can help you be healthier and happier. If you have pets, make sure you think about them in your planning.

The internet seems to be full of messages about how to declutter our lives. It’s true that getting rid of clutter is important for healthier aging. Gail Innis, Michigan State University Extension Services, points

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Pam Wright, Certified Elder Law Attorney Wright Law

Five Ways to Keep Your Golden Years Shining

out that “Clutter can be found in places other than your closet, junk drawer or work desk. Clutter can include too much going on in your head, too many “have-to’s” on your to-do list, family commitments, emails that need responses and unfinished projects. All of this literal, virtual and perceived clutter can weigh you down, make you tired, less efficient and disorganized.” That is so true; but, simplifying your life isn’t easy. If you don’t do anything else, make a list of your health insurance, your monthly bills, your financial accounts and important papers. These worksheets from the UT College of Agriculture Extension Services may help. The Record of Important Papers is a good guide. Think of the information that your health care agent, or the person who is your medical emergency contact, will need. That person can be more helpful, when the time comes, if he or she has this information: a list of the prescription medicines you are currently taking; a list of any medical implants (including those for vision), prosthetics, surgical history and known allergies. Bite the bullet and do some simple planning. Think through a basic plan of what you want to happen in the event of (1) a serious illness and (2) death. Once you have an idea of what you want, you will be ready to discuss these plans and flesh them out with your trusted advisors. Attorneys who practice elder law focus on planning that addresses the possibility of serious illness or long term care. That plan is sometimes called a life care plan, an elder care plan or a disability plan; or, in some instances, a special needs plan. This type of planning is especially important for you, if: • You are responsible for the care of a minor child or a disabled loved one; • You are concerned that the cost of a prolonged illness or nursing home care will deplete family savings, force the sale of your home or endanger your family business; • You have strong concerns as to what medical decisions will be made for you when you are unable to make those decisions yourself; • Your business and financial affairs would require management by another when you are unavailable or incapacitated; • You, a family member or other loved one has a progressive or debilitating disease. What do Jimi Hendrix, Prince and Steve McNair have in common? They are all celebrities who died

Pam Wright, Certified Elder Law Attorney Wright Law

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Five Ways to Keep Your Golden Years Shining

without an estate plan or even a simple will. It’s pretty likely that they had been advised to do something about this; but, it just didn’t happen. Everyone seems to avoid, or at least dread, estate planning. It is estimated that over half of adults in the U.S. die without a will. A will may not be the most important thing you need to do, but having an estate plan in place can be critical if you have others who depend upon you. And,frankly, it can be dangerous to avoid life care planning. When a major medical crisis occurs, the failure to plan can pose a barrier to accessing needed services and threaten your wellbeing. The Wright Law Firm PLLC is ready to help you tackle your planning. We strive to make the experience a positive one and to help you develop a strategy that will meet your unique needs. We want you feel prepared and ready to live life to the fullest.

Pam is certified as a specialist in Elder Law by the Board of Certification of the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). NELF’s Elder Law Certification Program is the only elder law program accredited by the American Bar Association. Pam is listed as a Rule 31 Mediator in Tennessee and can help you with mediation for cases involving elder law or special needs issues. In addition, Pam is an accredited attorney for the preparation of claims for veteran’s benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

wrightlawtn.com | 731-300-7800 180-H W. University Parkway Jackson, TN 38305

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Pam Wright, Certified Elder Law Attorney Wright Law