Three couples, all senior citizens, staying by themselves and all within the periphery of hundred meters from my home. Pandemic, since March 2020, provided many opportunities to assist them. Eternally grateful to the Divine Grace for the blessings. Many learnings in the process. Sharing some of them here, with hope and wish that it is useful to you. No citation of experiences that led to these learnings; however, ready to share, if required.
1. Move to a place near your children only if you are convinced that you will be better than where you are presently staying. Think twice before you move and evaluate the scenario if children move to another town. Will you be able to stay comfortably?
2. Settle down to your place of retirement by age of 55 years. Developing a good network at the place of your stay is very important. Neighbors, friends, medical professionals, pharmacists, grocery shops, vegetable vendors, staff at banks… are key to a peaceful and comfortable stay.
3. If possible, hire a help early who stays with you 24×7. She or he can be also helped by you in various ways so that there is a good healthy relationship. At times, difficult to achieve this but a big bonus, if you do have someone staying with you. All your habits and likes/dislikes are known to such a person and make life that much easier for you as one age.
4. Subscribe to good Health Insurance (cover of INR 10 lacs or more) before you turn 60 years of age. Most of the policies do not increase the cover, even if you wish to, after the age of 60 (Unless you are ready to pay higher premium besides three years of exclusion of existing diseases). Ensure payment of premium each year through proper financial planning.
5. Ensure mobility on road at all times. Hire a driver who can drive you on short notice or appoint a driver on regular salary who comes every day. She or he is another key support who will know your places of visit, including friends and acquaintances, well. Many times, the driver is one who attends to crises and emergencies.
6. Learn to undertake responsibilities of each other. These include withdrawal of cash from ATM, updating passbooks, payment of bills online, cooking food, washing utensils, making tea/coffee, washing clothes, ordering groceries and vegetables through mobile…and more.
7. Ensure a backup plan exists for the unforeseen scenarios when supplies to the door are disrupted or support staff is unable to come. This includes milk, newspaper, potable water, maids, driver, and others in the same category.
8. Identify a couple of people who you can trust and are near your residence. Any support at any time (SOS) can be sought from them. Ideally, such people should have a good network and can seek additional help, if required. These are also the ones who are known to your children or relations, who too can reach out to them.
9. Future is going to be Digital, whether one likes it or not. Generally, trust deficit increases with age, particularly matters related to finance, and it is best to learn basic net-banking skills and to practice them.
10. Maintain a list of contact numbers that is known to both. These are people to call when help is needed (SOS).
The list above is purely based on experiences while providing support to the three families. There are, of course, numerous other aspects in order to achieve graceful living with aging; however, they are excluded here as they are well researched and published.
Stay safe, stay protected, and stay blessed, always.