The EML definition of Frail Old Age is less scientific then some…

Frail Old Age begins when ‘whatever is going to get you in the end’ emerges.

Over the last 50 years human life expectancy has increased by 50% yet that final stage – the run up to the end – remains between 1 to 3 years with an average of 18 months. The good news is that while we undoubtedly slow down as we get older, the extra years we have acquired are largely active.

The transition from old age to frail old age can be brutal. Often it’s a diagnosis followed by a time frame – and that is when panic sets in. Most of us simply don’t think about our mortality and work on the basis that we will live forever. Being told that you only have months focuses the mind like nothing else. Here are some harsh realities:

– Your day dreams of ‘one day I will…’ all disappear – suddenly every moment matters
– Your ‘prudent savings’ will shortly be paid away – and you will have no say
– Those things you’ve kept ‘just in case’ are all destined for the bin
– The places you planned to visit remain uncharted
– The friends you planned to contact won’t know that you cared
– The bridges you hoped to build will remain good intentions

Yet it’s not too late. Even once the clock has started there is still plenty you can do to make a huge difference to those you leave behind. While effective tax planning needs seven years to become effective there are many tactical steps you can take that can make all the difference to those charged with sorting your affairs.

My best advice – start now – however long you have left – make the most of every day!