A Model Retirement: Money and Legal

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elders outside of retirement home

Alan and Katharine Jung are truly a model for ideal retirement living. Not only have their retirement living decisions been well thought-out and proactive, but they have also embraced the new opportunities that retirement offers and are fully enjoying what they refer to as a “new season in their life.” The couple can certainly offer helpful advice to others concerning retirement living decisions-right down to the downsizing checklist Katharine devised.

They did just that during a recent presentation for their fellow residents and prospective residents at Carroll Lutheran Village, a continuing care retirement community in Westminster, MD. Their presentation was part of a program about retirement living decisions, which included various senior -serving professionals.

Putting themselves in a position to fully enjoy their senior years has always been on the agenda for these two planners. As Alan relates, “We were kind of in a unique situation in that we always knew that our home-office combination would be the cornerstone of our retirement financially. We always had the mindset in place that is necessary to leave your home. Too many people are tied to their homes, but we really weren’t. We had plenty of time to prepare for the move.” After Alan retired from his dental practice in 1991, the couple began preparing for moving from their spacious home to a one-bedroom apartment, which necessitated a radical downsizing of their possessions.

“Downsizing can be a painful procedure for some people,” admits Katharine. However, Katharine and Alan helped ease the stress of downsizing by utilizing an ingenious inventory checklist. This gave all three of the Jung’s children an opportunity to discuss items with their spouses and decide what they wanted. It also allowed the Jungs to dispose of any unwanted items. Despite the hard work and difficulties involved in the moving process, the Jungs found it to be a rewarding experience: “The process was truly a liberating experience for us, because we came to the understanding of how relatively unimportant ‘things’ are in our life.”

Reducing their baggage allowed the couple to completely change their lifestyle. They moved to a waterfront apartment in Baltimore, which they speak of fondly as “a wonderful place, in a great, urban environment.” Unfortunately, though, the living arrangement wasn’t as secure as the Jungs would have liked. Alan explains, “The landlord and his wife were people that I knew, and we had grown up in the same neighborhood. We were happy living with them, but they were getting older, and I began to wonder from time to time what would happen to us if they died. I just didn’t feel secure for the long haul in that environment, so I began to think of other options. My primary motive was to get Katharine into a position so that I could feel secure that if something happened to me she would be set.”

Alan talked about his apprehensions with Katharine and discovered that she was concerned for his future as well. After discussing it, the couple decided that it was important to ensure that their children did not have to make any retirement-related decisions for them. “I knew what it was like to have to make decisions for aging parents, and I didn’t want our children to have to go through that. These are difficult decisions and can be heart-rending and often the right choice is not really clear. So we thought it was best to eliminate all their potential worries, take care of ourselves, and let them get on with their lives,” recalls Alan.

After some preliminary research, the couple realized that a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) could offer them “the best of all worlds, since it offered comfort, safety, security, and freedom of movement at the Residential Living level. A seamless transfer between various levels of health care would be there too, if the need ever arose.” They started investigating CCRCs on-line and visited several communities in the Baltimore area. When they went to visit Carroll Lutheran Village, they knew they had found their home amidst the beautiful grounds and welcoming residents.

“What’s not to like about this place?,” asks Alan. “We have lived here for two and a half years now, and we couldn’t be happier. Everything we could possibly need or want is right here.” In fact, the two are very involved in the community. Katharine serves on the Hospitality Committee, which is an integral part of the Resident Association. The committee helps new residents settle in by providing them with dinner arrangements and introductions. As Katharine points out, “We want to make sure that we acquaint new residents not only with the physical campus, but also with the people and our way of life here. It’s incredibly important to help people adjust to the move because it can be very traumatic for some people.”

Katharine will have the opportunity to welcome countless new residents once the Village’s new expansion, Wakefield Overlook, is completed. Wakefield Overlook is a premier, full-service community that will include 82 modern apartments, 60 Village homes, and a Mission Square featuring a Wellness Center and Hospitality Center. The expansion project began in the spring of 2004 and, once completed, will nearly double the size of the Village. The project will add countless amenities to the community, including a 25-meter pool, a whirlpool, a spa, an exercise room, and several common areas.

Although Katharine and Alan have no plans to move from their current apartment in the Village, they are looking forward to enjoying the new facilities and to meeting new neighbors. Katharine relates, “The new Overlook is going to be an entirely different complex, and it will have a great community feel. All of the amenities will be available to all of us, and I’m really looking forward to the swimming pool.”

To individuals who may be considering a move, Katharine and Alan suggest, “Don’t Wait!” Katharine advises, “You have no real picture of how wonderful the freedom of living in a retirement community is until you’ve moved. It’s like living in any place, except you have the freedom to come and go as you please. You have all types of amenities available to you and no responsibility for home or ground maintenance.”

With all their plans settled, this couple now spends most of their time volunteering to improve their community and spending time with their children and grandchildren. From the beginning, they had a plan for the future and seeing that plan come to fruition has been very rewarding. Of the completed moves and their new lifestyle, Alan concludes, “Katharine and I have been truly blessed in this new season of our lives.” Katharine adds, “It is very important that people try to look forward to what they have to enjoy later in life.” Katharine and Alan Jung continue to do just that-look forward to their future.

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