Better with Age: Plan the Post-Retirement Life You Want
Do you have a plan for the future? It’s never too early to think about how you want your post-retirement years to look. We all have practical, social, physical and emotional needs, as unique to each of us as our fingerprints. Maybe you have a clear vision of your golden years – or maybe it’s more like a fuzzy notion of where you might live and how you’ll pay for it. Instead of leaving your plans to chance, you can actively shape them. Here are some things to consider, along with steps you can take to set yourself up for a healthy future.
- Plan to age in place: Most Canadians want to keep living independently, rather than move to a seniors’ facility or live with family members, but many don’t take the steps to make this feasible. Aging in place could mean staying in the family home, or it could mean downsizing to a smaller apartment, moving to a retirement community, or co-housing with other older adults. All of these options require planning – the earlier, the better. Learn more about senior housing and related services such as home health care.
- Get a financial check-up: One in four Canadians aged 60 and older is concerned about running out of money before they die, according to a survey commissioned by FP Canada and Credit Canada. The survey also found that one in four respondents is worried about paying for long-term care. If you need money advice or you don’t have a clear picture of your finances, talk to a certified financial planner.
- Maintain your social connections: Consider your social network when making plans for the future, including where to live. As we get older, our social circles tend to shrink, for various reasons including retirement, bereavement, reduced mobility, health problems and financial issues. However, we should strive to stay socially active and interact regularly with family, friends and people in our communities. It’s good for our physical and mental well-being, and staying socially engaged helps to prevent loneliness and isolation – both major problems among Canadian seniors.
- Stay physically active: Aging brings with it many . We can’t prevent all of them, but we can optimize our health by doing regular exercise – including strength training to slow down age-related muscle and bone loss – and practising self-care. Yoga is also excellent for older adults. As you plan for the future, think about how you’ll stay active and what facilities (community centres, swimming pools, gyms, tennis courts, etc.) are important to you.
- Eat a nutritious diet: As we age, our dietary needs change. To maintain optimal health, we should update our eating habits accordingly. Our bodies require more of certain nutrients, and some older adults have trouble eating due to decreased appetite, oral health problems, difficulty with chewing or swallowing, or medication side effects. If you need nutrition advice, don’t wait – talk to your physician or a registered dietitian. Read tips for older adults about eating well.
- Keep your brain healthy: The brain undergoes physical changes as we get older. We can help slow down age-related cognitive changes by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep and being socially active. Lifelong learning – such as playing mentally stimulating games or learning a new language – also helps us stay sharp. Learn more about keeping your brain healthy.
- Pursue your goals: More than half of Canadians have a bucket list of things they want to see and do. Goals and dreams can be part of your post-retirement plans. Putting your desires in writing can help inspire and motivate you to make things happen, whether it’s learning to paint, moving closer to your grandkids or taking a trip to Europe (when it’s safe to go, of course).
- Prepare for disasters: Due to the effects of climate change, we’re likely to see more extreme weather, including heat waves, floods, hurricanes and ice storms, and related problems such as power outages. These events are very hazardous for seniors, so it’s important to prepare for emergencies. Learn about disaster planning and preventing heat-related illnesses.
- Plan your estate: Estate planning helps you ensure that when you die, your assets and property will be distributed according to your wishes, while minimizing the amount of tax your estate will pay. Having a properly structured estate plan with a valid will avoids uncertainty and family conflicts, and it minimizes delays in transferring your assets to your heirs and beneficiaries. If you haven’t planned your estate, or if you’ve been meaning to update your will, make an appointment with your financial advisor or lawyer. Learn more about estate planning.
- Make your wishes known: Discussing illness, disability and death is uncomfortable for many people, but it’s a good idea to do so while you’re still healthy and capable of making decisions. Imagine if you suddenly lost the ability to communicate or take care of yourself – would your loved ones know what you want? In Canada, we have legal documents that state a person’s wishes concerning medical care and property. Learn more about advance directives, powers of attorney and wills.
Bayshore Home Health offers a wide range of home care services to help Canadians live independently for as long as possible. Contact us at 1-877-289-3997 for details.