Charlotte’s Blog

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Questions and Answers to Live Well

Many of you have heard me talk about having a Live Well Blueprint as an anchor component to being prepared for a productive retirement.

It’s not about the money you will need; that’s the domain for investment and financial advisers.  And “blueprint” conjures up some notion about requiring an architect to develop the plan for you.  We can do this without a T-Square.

A group at MIT has distilled what seems to be a rather challenging process into three rather mundane questions that we all have answered already, albeit at younger stages of our lives:

  • Who will change your light bulbs?

No, this is not one of those light bulb jokes.  One of my mentors had his retirement trajectory radically change because he thought that he could still just change his own light bulbs as he had been doing for decades.  The fall broke his back and his plans for life as it had been.  The MIT folks are talking about having contingency plans for everything around the house.  Consider also the cost Boomers should anticipate as demand skyrockets and the supply of caregiving continues to diminish.

  • How will I get an ice cream cone?

You already know where your favorite ice cream parlor is and what that chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cone costs.  But how much will it cost in the future, and the price of gas and a car?  You haven’t probably thought about if you will still be allowed to drive in your eighth decade.  And this is just one of the many life pleasures that may not be easy to access as you enter and progress in your retirement.

  • Who will I have lunch with?

You know with whom you’ll have lunch and pleasant conversation now, but five to ten years from now, how many will be living in Hilton Head…or living at all?  Oh, and your partner for life?  The statistics show that 40 percent of women over age 65 live alone.  As you’re planning your Live Well Blueprint, include time dedicated to making new friends.  Even more important, cultivate intergenerational friendships…KEY… learn to not talk about your medications, your aches and pains or how your doctor must have it wrong.  These are not conversations; they’re complaints.

Next week, we’ll talk about people’s biggest regrets as they age…so that you won’t have to talk about them.  And think about this question in anticipation of your next read:

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia. 


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