The ability to maneuver has always been important. Loss of job, illness, lack of education, divorce, death, etc. You always need to be able to maneuver and to change. You need to move on from and existing condition.
It is never so important as in old age. You are faced with physical problems, financial problems and mortality problems; just to mention a few. You have less and less ability to deal with them, so preparing for them and being able to maneuver through the last years of life is a real gift. You are in a maze.
PHYSICAL: We all die. Getting to death can be a painful, or at least an uncomfortable process, requiring thought, planning and action. You must not smoke, must not get too fat, must head off those disabilities that you can. Think, flu shot, etc. Exercise is the most important; especially walking which 99% of us can do; and, it doesn’t take much. This will enable you to maneuver in and out of bed, to get to the store, to remain independent. It will also help to prevent falls.
FINANCIAL: Bills don’t stop in old age. You may have social security and/or a pension and/or some savings, but you still have bills. You need to maneuver around the amount available and the expenditures required. You also need to avoid scammers and family members who have their hands out. You need a clear picture of the end of the tunnel and what you need to get there comfortably, even if it means leaving a little on the table at the end.
EMOTIONAL: Your friends, spouses and family members will die. How will this affect you? They will also develop various mental problems to and including Alzheimer’s. These are tough to deal with and you must be flexible so that you can deal with them.
DEATH: You can prepare for this by letting people know what you want. You want to maneuver yourself into a comfortable position without a lot of pain and a reasonable amount of competence and mobility. There is no point in being propped up in front of a TV for the last few years; you might as well get it over with. You will have to maneuver around a number of well-meaning people; and, some not so well-meaning, but planning can do it. There are more and more end-of-life resources available to old people. Know what they are and how them might be useful to you.
COMPETENCY: This is the tricky one; as you slip into incompetency, whether you call it dementia, senior moment, or whatever, you have more and more difficulty making decisions, remembering things and taking rational actions. This requires advance flexibility. You must have senior algorithms in place to deal with your declining years. If not, you will slip into chaos.
The bottom line is to keep loose, maintain as much flexibility as possible and to the extent possible, as IBM once put it: THINK!