Everyone knows we are living longer.

Currently “active adulthood” can extend well into our seventies and even later. We are taking better care of ourselves and medical advances indicate that the time we spend in elderhood can still be a time of contribution and fulfillment. However, once we enter into our eighth or ninth decade, our lives will necessarily look and feel different.

What will become of us when the wrinkle cream and Viagra don’t work anymore? Given the statistics, many of us will live long enough to find out. How will we ensure that this time will be spent in some meaningful way—that we can still give something back and maybe even learn to relax enough to appreciate life for itself? As I learned from my recent personal experience of walking both parents through the end of their lives, the less time you have, the more precious it becomes.

Not many of us take an active role in planning for this time of life. We may be forced to slow down or receive assistance. After living an entire life of contributing and planning for other life events, most of us will experience this time by default. We leave it up to our children or other loved ones to negotiate the complicated legal, financial and healthcare challenges that are likely to occur at this time.

Maybe we can open the discussion about planning for the stage of life we will experience after adulthood, making it a time we can look forward to rather than fear. I have spent the last fifteen years as an elder law attorney, helping families plan for and receive the care they need in the best and most cost-effective ways. I can tell you that getting the right information sooner avoids many mistakes and missed opportunities.

My parents were lucky—they had a daughter who does this for a living. But your parents may need some expert advice, too. Through this blog and in my book, “Embracing Elderhood,” I shed some light on the planning process that your family can undertake to make this stage of life as wonderful as every other stage of life has been.

Perhaps we can find a way to look forward to the end of the constant pressures of adulthood, to a time in our lives when our individual wisdom and understanding can take over. It might just be the most rewarding time of our lives, a time when we can finally discover and explore what is important to us. We can do this if we have a plan in place to handle the difficult legal, financial and care questions that will arise. I can help with that and hope you are interested in finding out more. Please feel free to email me at laurie@lauriemenzies.com.