Keep Feeling Fantastic With a Healthy Lifestyle: 10 Senior Wellness Tips
The elderly population is working longer than ever before in modern history. Retirement without preparation can result in financial and personal stress that was never expected. This is supposed to be one of the best times of your life.
The idea of spending the last 20-30 years of your life vacationing sounds great. The problem is that all that time spent idle can do a real number on your mind, body, and finances. You get bored, you grow disinterested, and unexpected expenses hit hard.
Retirement doesn't have to become a new challenge in life, you can live it to its fullest. The earlier you start planning for retirement, the better. Even if you don't plan on retiring early, there are some steps you can take to make sure it's a good one.
Follow these senior wellness tips to live your very best life during retirement.
Top 10 Senior Wellness Tips
The world is constantly changing and with it comes new challenges. As we mentioned in our introduction, seniors are working longer into their retirement. Some come out of retirement because they need emotional/physical/financial support.
Follow these tips to reduce your risk of retirement burnout.
10. Retirement is Your Reward
How you define retirement will dictate how successful it is. Do you see retirement as a relief or a resignation? This major life transition will provide new challenges; how you frame them makes a big difference.
For example, retirees that need a caregiver may grapple with the reality of their situation. Their attitude towards their caregiver may cause unintended consequences of the caregiver's own health. It is important for retirees to stay grounded and make the most of their situation for all parties involved.
This is a very real scenario for anyone going into retirement. If you aren't prepared for this transition, it can hit you like a ton of bricks. Retirement can turn into a nightmare if you approach it naively or cynically.
9. Plan Your Weekends
Planning for retirement is akin to planning how you want to spend the end of a long work week. You want to strike a balance between making your days productive and ignoring the clock. It's easy to turn retirement planning into a stressful game of micromanagement.
Set the stage for a natural transition by figuring out what sparks joy in your life. How do you want to fill the hours of your retirement days? Do you want to spend your time outside, lounging on beaches at the park?
Being a homebody as a retiree is a recipe for future mental and physical health problems. This leads us to one of the biggest group of senior wellness tips.
8. Prioritizing Mental and Physical Health
Retirement often comes with numerous challenges for senior health. We get older, our mind and body begin to betray us, it happens. Actually, there a number of things you can do prevent or delay said betrayal.
The biggest mental obstacles seniors face when retiring is combating degenerative illnesses and retaining mental sharpness. That old saying "if you don't use, you lose it." applies to the brain, too. You can keep your brain young by playing games, it doesn't have to consist of complex math or science.
Some hobbies are amazing for mental health, including:
- Playing a musical instrument
- Arts and crafts
- Reading/Creative writing
Not all hobbies are seen as a positive activity, however. Things like binge-watching TV shows, most forms of collecting, and gambling are all dangerous. These addictions masquerade as hobbies, leading to unhealthy habits and financial trouble.
If you don't have a passion for any of the hobbies above, consider doing community work. There's always a need for problem-solvers and wisdom from seniors who can contribute more during retirement.
Keeping in Shape
Staying physically active is required if you want to avoid "feeling" old. Retiring to lay back and sip Pina Coladas all day is unrealistic. Besides, you can only stay horizontal for so long until you grow restless.
Plan your retirement with how you'll stay active. If you're not a gym person, you can stay fit by walking, taking up yoga, or tai chi. It's important to do activities that aren't too demanding but still challenging enough for bone health.
When you retire, you'll also need to have a plan for health care. Will you wait until you're eligible to sign up for Medicare at 65? Many retirees try to time their retirement around 65 or older to maximize their Social Security benefits.
7. Working While Retired
The drastic change in lifestyle during retirement is more than maintaining mental and physical health. It's also your emotional wellbeing and pride. This is key for a lot of retirees, especially when they retire from a lifelong career.
When you officially leave the workplace, your need to share your skills and experience follows you. Without an outlet to share your skills and knowledge, retirement can feel like a prison. Research ways to keep doing what you love well after retirement.
Teaching is an easy way to still earn income while keeping your brain active. You could also look into related industries that you could work part-time that are less demanding.
6. Never Too Old for School
There are nearly one-million senior citizens attending college in America. That number continues to grow for a number of reasons. For some, they are doing it to start a new profession. For others, it's primarily for their health and financial aid.
Seniors qualify for a number of grants and scholarships if they decide to go to college. If you can't return to the job you used to make your living before retirement, try something new. You're never too old to learn something new and challenge your worldview.
We should all strive to avoid getting set in our ways. The generational disconnect is partly founded in the perception that seniors don't care about the future. We know this is an unfair stereotype, but it's often true that seniors can reject new viewpoints.
As soon as we accept the fate of retiring to a life of a homestay, we grow distant from the rest of the world. Plus, it's fun to learn new things and surprise family and friends as 'woke' grandma/grandpa.
5. Social Networking
On a related wellness tip for seniors, maintaining healthy relationships is important. Retirement is a reprieve for yourself, yes, but not permanently. You'll eventually grow lonely (even if you don't admit it).
That's why it's important to keep making new friends and meeting new people. Staying connected and engaged socially is also a part of maintaining brain elasticity. Some of us already do a lot of talking, but not a lot of communicating.
You need people around you to challenge you and get you to listen, think, and talk, in that order. Sharing thoughts and feelings is part of what makes us human. Shut-ins struggle with various mental illnesses, even when they check off all of the other boxes discussed in this guide.
Look no further than the infamous "broken heart" syndrome. While the science is a little fuzzy surrounding this condition, it is recognized in the medical field. When life partner passes near end-of-life, it's usually not long before the other half goes.
We can choose to leave this world alone or surrounded by people who care.
4. Run a Business
If you're looking for an outlet for your creativity, skillset, and method to your madness, running a business is great. Transitioning from worker to business owner is a new challenge for those who've mastered their craft. This often preferred to starting over and trying to learn a new trade.
You can leverage established professional contacts, use your experience to your advantage. We don't recommend touching your retirement money unless it's short-term. Basically, don't pour your retirement funds into anything you can't back out of.
Entrepreneurship is stressful, especially if when starting a family-run business. When money is involved, things get complicated and it can put unnecessary stress on relationships. Insist on hiring independent, unrelated, third-parties to help manage your business.
3. Vacation and Traveling
There's a difference between vacationing and traveling. Just like there's a difference between the terms lifeplan and lifecare. On the surface, they can mean the same thing, but the destination isn't the same.
You can vacation anywhere without traveling. When you retire, you should plan to travel, not vacation. Traveling keeps you active and your worldview healthy.
Going out and experiencing new things, hearing new stories, and viewing everything the world has to offer is better than leisure. With services like Air Bnb and Trivago, you can travel cheaply if you plan ahead. Include it in your retirement budget so you don't brush it off.
Traveling will help recharge your batteries and come home with a new level of energy. You may not find the fountain of youth in a bottle or in a lake, but you will find it through connecting with others.
2. Financially 'Ready'
Some experts say you should save 10-15% of your average income to retire comfortably by 65. The reality is that you should save as much as you can without affecting your quality of life. Practicing fiscal responsibility at a young age isn't fun, but it pays off big when you retire.
For those who're already half-way to retirement, don't panic. There are plenty of investment strategies that are geared towards growing your nest egg. At the same time, happiness isn't tied to how much you have for retirement.
Money management is often a blindspot for seniors. They retire thinking they have plenty to live out the rest of their lives, but fall victim of financial drains. Things like overspending during the holidays, on grandchildren, or companies nickle-and-diming quickly add up.
You will need to budget your savings in order of importance. You need one figure that represents your essentials, i.e. food, shelter, medicine. The rest is divided into vacations, luxuries, and comforts.
Always over-budget, so that life's surprises don't leave you tapped out of funds.
1. Spiritual Health Matters
If you didn't grow up religious or place importance on the subconscious, this last tip may come as a surprise. The 'spirit' goes by many names and it doesn't have to pertain to religion. When people describe the 'soul' of something, that's talking about the spirit.
Whatever feeds the soul is what keeps you alive. For some, that's fixing cars, helping others, or cooking good food. To achieve perfect happiness on your way out the door of life, you need to take care of your spirit.
The spirit is closely connected to mental and emotional wellbeing. Doing spiritual activities or rituals is important for maintaining happiness, stability, and fulfilling life. These activities might look like meditation, prayer, or exercise.
It is up to you to decide what a healthy spiritual life means. The important part is taking an active role in feeding your spirit and connecting with your unconscious side of your brain.
Independent Living with Others
Most of these senior wellness tips involve connecting with others. Taming the ego and reaching outside for help gets harder as we grow older. Retirement shouldn't serve as an outlet for escapism.
You can live an independent life with the help of others. Senior living communities provide a lot of resources for retirees, including personal relationships. You should spend less time struggling with chores and living arrangements.
To learn more about these types of retirement communities, watch our video series. We explain everything you get from living at a Continuing Care Retirement Community. Retire in style with world-class service, modern amenities, and access to some of the greatest care providers in the country.