Lifestyles Change as we Age! Are You Prepared?

Ten years ago my husband, Steve, and I were employed full time. I was only 47 years old and Steve was 52 years old. We had full benefits and a retirement plan. We realized the wisdom of planning for our retirement. The first step was to use a financial advisor. Next step was to buy long-term care insurance. To avoid our children fighting over our estate, we set up a living will, trust accounts and last will & testament with an elder care attorney. Many families become too busy to plan for a lifestyle change. Do you believe there is time later?

Last year. at age 55, my lifestyle changed. I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a slowly progressive retina disease. I was considered “Legally Blind” and told to “get out of the driver’s seat”. It was difficult at first. I enjoyed the freedom to get in the car and go anywhere at anytime. This meant losing my independence. My priorities changed with no notice.

Steve, at 60, retired as planned. Steve will become my “bus service”. However, this also takes away my independence. Steve takes me shopping, to my clients across town and Sunday obligations. I try to consider the bus first, if a route is available. It provides peace of mind to know Steve backs me up.

What other options do I have? I called my city senior center. They can pick me up at my door and take me anywhere within the city for $2.00 each way. Problem: I must plan three days ahead of time. Some mornings I need to get out of the home to enjoy shopping, lunch with friends or a movie (last minute decisions).

Would you believe there are SMART buses that pick me up at the corner of Orchard Lake and Maple Roads? The #780 bus route takes me through Birmingham, Somerset Mall, Oakland Mall and Macomb Mall for just $1.50 each way. This bus comes every hour. I am in no rush and it means having independence. I use the city door-to-door service in the winter season.

One day while riding the bus, I met a lovely lady who lives at the Meir senior apartments in the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center. Joan uses the bus to see her sister in a Troy nursing home. You can do this too.

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