The topics addressed at Active Aging have new meaning to me this year.

A year ago, we moved my 101-year-old grandmother into our home and cared for her until her death at the end of November. Millie was fiercely independent and insisted she wouldn’t leave her house in Connecticut. “Just carry me out on a stretcher,” she said. Until a few months before her death, she was active and healthy. A card shark, she played triple-deck pinochle at the senior center several times a week, got two newspapers each day and did both crossword puzzles by 10 a.m. But when her health failed, and it happened quickly, we weren’t ready. We knew we could not honor her wish to stay at home, so she came to New Hampshire and we were fortunate to share her final weeks. In the months since, I’ve served as executor of her estate. She had a basic will in place, but it hadn’t been reviewed in years. Even with a very simple and modest estate, we’ve hit some snags that have created delays and added legal expense.

My parents turn 79 and 80 next year. They are not healthy, and we’re not ready. The experience of the last year has inspired me to talk with my siblings and parents about what’s next, but denial is a powerful emotion. I know we’ll need help, and we need to get a plan in place. I’ve attended Active Aging for three years and know some of what is needed. But there’s a difference between knowing and doing.

I know I’m not alone. Many of you can tell your own version of this.

Our choices can make a difference in our later years. Regardless of where you or loved ones are in the process of navigating the sometimes difficult decisions that come with aging, there’s always more to learn. Join me at this year’s Active Aging events in Concord and Peterborough for a day of education, inspiration and access to experts. We have speakers sharing knowledge on a variety of topics, from the benefits of music and dance, to the benefits of long-term care insurance. We’ll hear about legal and financial aspects to consider, options available for living as we need more care and ways we can stay active, involved and engaged.

We thank our sponsors for their support, and thank our speakers and exhibitors for their time and knowledge.

Experience shapes our perspectives and priorities. I’ve renewed my conviction to get my affairs in order. Join me. Please register at

Heather McKernan