May is Older Americans Month, which was established in 1963, when only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday. Today 46 million people are 65 or older, and that is projected to exceed 98 million, or 24% of the population, by 2060. As our population ages, the need to assure the quality of life for older folks is obviously increasing.
The Administration for Community Living, which leads the observance of Older Americans Month, has themed 2019 as Connect, Create, Contribute – Connect with friends, family, and support services; Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment; Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
These are all worthy endeavors. However, older Americans and their families should also take time to make sure that they have a current estate plan in place, including, at a minimum, a Last Will and Testament, a financial Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. The older population, and indeed their families, should also be planning for unanticipated events, such as illness or even the potential future need for care outside the home.
Thus, as you celebrate Older Americans Month and consider the many contributions older Americans have made and continue to make to our nation, consider visiting an elder law attorney to get an estate plan in place which will provide peace of mind; if you already have estate planning documents, this month would be a good time to review them with an elder law attorney to determine if they continue to meet your needs, or if you need to expand your estate planning as you age.
We as older Americans need to keep our own ship on course; then, we will be able with a clear, untroubled mind to Connect, Create, Contribute.
So, to those who make up our senior population, happy Older Americans Month, and thank you for your contributions, past, present, and future!
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Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.