Ageing is something that happens naturally, but if you want to age well it takes some careful planning. There are many decisions you’ll have to face in the final decades of your life. For example, you’ll have to think about funeral plans, changes in resources, and the possible onset of a chronic illness.
Your ultimate aim for your retirement has to be the maintenance of your desired standard of living. To achieve this you need to understand and plan for future expenses which would include unexpected medical costs alongside normal expenses.
You also need to keep yourself informed about possible income sources. These might include:
- Personal retirement savings
- Personal investments
- Public and private pension plans
- Additional financial assistance
Being healthy is key to enjoying your retirement and continued independence. This means you’ve got to stay active and follow a nutritious diet. You also need to exercise regularly if you want to increase your energy levels and reduce the risk of future health problems.
If you eat well, you’re giving your body all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to fight off illness and help you stay healthy. It will also improve your physical and mental well-being.
Regular exercise keeps you strong and agile and helps to prevent broken bones and problems with arthritis. In addition, it reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Regular Screenings and Checkups
As you get older you should visit your doctor regularly and get regular check-ups and tests. Recommendations include mammograms when you reach 40 and colonoscopies when you reach 50 years of age.
For many medical problems, catching them early makes them easier to treat. It also reduces the chance of them becoming chronic issues when you retire.
Keep Good Records
Imagine that you died tomorrow. How easy would your loved ones be able to access your key legal documents? Do you even have the basic legal documents drawn up?
Ideally, you should have multiple copies of key documents plus account information, including online access passwords.
More and more of this information can be kept on a computer, but should also be backed up either on a “cloud” computing backup service or on an external hard drive.
Make sure the appropriate family members know how to access this information. You also have to make sure you regularly update the files to ensure they are always current.
Retaining Your Independence
Elderly people tend to prefer to stay in their own homes, continuing to enjoy their independence. However, to do that, may require some modifications to your home and daily routine.
If you want to keep your independence for as long as possible, you have to assess your home to make sure it’s able to meet your changing needs.
When the time comes that you can no longer live safely in your own home, you’ll need to be aware of the options available in the community.
Planning for the future also includes thinking about what to do when you can no longer drive. Many medical conditions that are common in old age could affect your ability to drive. You need to consider how you’re going to get around when you can’t drive.
Social Support Network
Part of enjoying your retirement is having well-developed relationships. Old age can be a depressing time, with an increased feeling of isolation if you’ve not got friends and social contact.
Social support is available in the form of local groups that share common beliefs and interests. You should also be able to make new friends if you look for volunteering opportunities.
If you can maintain your social connections with other members of your local community it’ll support your mental, physical, and emotional well-being and health.
Your Final Wishes
Making key decisions about the end of your life well in advance can be very helpful. It’s not uncommon for people to be unable to make sound decisions as they near death. They may have mental and physical impairments that make such things impossible.
This means that loved ones may have to make decisions, adding lots of stress to a situation that’s already difficult. Some things you might like to think about include:
- Whether you want to die at home, in a hospital, or a hospice facility
- Do loved ones know your preferences for end-of-life care?
- Do you want to be cremated or buried?
- Do you have a final resting place in mind?
While such thoughts might not rank among your happiest memories, you’ll be providing your family with an invaluable gift. Rather than worrying about how you’d like things handled when you die, they’ll be able to focus on the loving aspects of your life instead.
You must plan ahead of your retirement. How soon you do that is down to you, however, the sooner the better. By making your choices now, you’ll have greater control over your quality of life, independence, and dignity.