July is when we celebrate Independence Day, otherwise known as the Fourth of July. Fireworks and picnics seem faraway this year, but Independence Day is more important than ever. As you know, Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia. We celebrate this day because it represents our establishment as a sovereign nation and release from the burden of oppressive taxation. (One hundred and forty-three years later, we have oppressive taxation and overbearing government regulation that would make our Founding Fathers roll over in their graves. But that is not the subject of this article.) What I want to talk about today is independence with a small “i”. Not in the political sense, but in the everyday sense. We all like to make our own decisions about our day to day lives. Our ability to make our own decisions and live independently can diminish with age if we do not take steps to protect and preserve our independence. Like all liberties, our ability to live independently throughout the course of our life will erode if not safeguarded.

            What kinds of liberties am I talking about and how can they be safeguarded? For starters, a home that will be safe and accessible even in the face of mobility challenges will allow us to physically remain in our home as long as we choose to. Having the proper legal documents in place is vital. This ensures that our wishes will be carried out in case we are not able to communicate. I am a strong advocate of planning early so that our later years can be relaxing rather than stressful. Having trusted resources for caregiving, transportation, and other needs preselected before they are needed leads to less stress and a better outcome. Having the financial resources in place to pay for all these needs is very important as well. Of all these areas, financial planning is the one area that most people recognize the need for. I am looking forward to the day that people plan for their housing, healthcare, transportation, and social and community interaction needs in retirement as well as they plan for their financial needs.

            If this kind of planning to preserve your independence makes sense to you and you would be interested in receiving a free resource to get you started, please give me a call at 540-384-2064. I would like to get you a copy of the planning guide put out by the National Aging in Place Council. This 24-page guide walks you through the process of assessing your needs, prioritizing them, and creating a plan to live a better later life. If you think you are too young to be making these kinds of decisions, remember if you don’t make these decisions regarding your retirement, someone else will make them for you. If you cherish your independence, you must work and plan to keep it.

            So, enjoy your summer and your Independence Day celebrations. Spend some time with family and friends. Just don’t forget to take time to make plans to preserve your independence throughout the course of your life. A few minutes spent planning for your future now can change the course of your life in years to come. If I can be of service to you or a loved one to help make your home safe, accessible, and beautifully for you to enjoy independently throughout the course of your life please give me a call. You can reach me at 540-384-2064. Happy Fourth of July and thank you for reading Housing Matters!

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DEDICATION: TO SUSANNA