Session 15 – Professor Sharona Hoffman

Recap and Highlights

·         The book was inspired by her own experiences of having to care for her parents and having to confront more personal health issues.

·         The book is intended for 2 audiences: 1) Middle-aged people who have to care for an elderly parent; and 2) people who need to start planning for their own eventual old age.

·         Why it is important to plan.

·         Professor Hoffman provides an example of a family who did not plan (which made things very difficult when catastrophe struck) and one who did plan.

·         One of the key challenges of aging in your own home is the risk of social isolation which leads to loneliness, depression and health issues.

·         If you do not plan ahead, you may not have a choice when a health crisis occurs.

·         Professor Hoffman talks about some of the retirement communities that are available including 55+ and CCRCs.

·         She explains how to use her book which contains discreet chapters and a checklist at the end to facilitate planning. There is a summary checklist at the end of the book.

·         Key take-aways include the importance of social interaction, the need to identify trusted decision makers who you can delegate to, the need for health and legal Durable Powers of Attorney, becoming a member of your own health team and how to deal with someone who should no longer be driving.

·         The importance of estate planning and communicating those plans and other personal data to your trusted decision makers, legal and medical representatives.

Links and References



·         Aging With a Plan

·         Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

·         The New Old Age website by NY Times writer Paula Span