Personal budgets were introduced, and are still being deployed, in England. It is a Social Welfare initiative to help older people who need social care support to stay longer at home in their community.
This Website is about retirement planning. The subject of Social Welfare should not even be discussed here. Adequate retirement planning should provide for reasonable care when you need it.
But what appeals to me most in the above mentioned program is the goal to keep older people longer in their communities as valuable members of that community.
In the volunteer work I do in my community, I rely on the support and help of older members of the community. And most thrive on this opportunity to be visible and of service in our village, but in many cases people just lost that glint in the eye. They lost their self confidence. They lost their dignity.
While we lived in the Italian part of Switzerland I noticed how much effort local communities put into making older members, even with dementia, part of the community.
One regular scene that played for a few weeks in our little village was an elderly gentleman taking his afternoon stroll through the village. He was as immaculately dressed as only Italian gentlemen can do. His nurse followed about five meters behind him flanked unobtrusively by two Polizia Locale clearing the way. A local police car followed to divert any dammed-up traffic in this tiny one-way street.
He would wave salutations to passersby and everybody on the piazza and the locals would call out a friendly greeting. After about five hundred meters he seemed to become unsure of his surroundings. The police and nurse then moved in and escorted him gently to his lodgings.
The compassion of the 'extras' in this play never failed to bring tears to my eyes.
Granted, your retirement planning phase is probably way to early to concern you with such matters. But make the resolve today to remain an active member of your community for as long as you can control it. Budget for personal grooming. Shave or get your hair done. Dress up for even a short public appearance. Retain your dignity.
This last paragraph was really addressed to myself!
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