Getting older and what to know
Getting older is tough, but if you know what to expect it can be enjoyable. Do you know what to expect from your retirement years? Think again. Healthy, happy aging is about more than retirement distributions and mobility aids. If you want to make the most of getting older for your senior years, here are seven things you need to know.
If you’re lucky enough to live a long life, getting older is something you’ll have to deal with. That means there’s no point in pretending it’s not going to happen! Make sure you’re prepared to enjoy your senior years by saving for retirement and protecting your health while you’re young. Older adults should also get their legal affairs in order — while writing wills and advance directives isn’t fun, it’s an important step everyone should take.
Becoming eligible for Medicare might be the best thing about turning 65. However, signing up for Medicare involves more than checking a box. You have to choose which type of Medicare plan you want based on your specific health care needs. And to make it all more complicated, certain Medicare plans vary from state to state. The Medicare Plan Finder at Medicare.gov is useful for searching, but if you need additional help, look for online resources that guide you through using the Medicare Plan Finder.
Without a job to rush to and kids to care for, you have more time than ever to cook nutritious, delicious meals. Unfortunately, you don’t always have the motivation. On top of a diminishing sense of taste and disabilities that make kitchen prep uncomfortable, eating alone drives many seniors to opt for convenience over nutrition. However, as Tufts University explains, nutrition matters more than ever when you’re older. For seniors with dementia, it’s even more important to maintain a healthy diet due to lack of appetite.
Find ways to make healthy eating comfortable and convenient. Seniors with dementia should have a close friend or family member help them with their meals; finger foods, a quiet environment, and smaller meals can help with maintaining healthy eating habits. If you need help with buying groceries, have them delivered to you by a service. And if you’re unsure about which diet to choose, ask your doctor, or seek help from Medicare, as it’s important to carefully make this decision.
It’s not just a cliché — falling down is a real health risk for older adults. Falling can cause serious injuries and death. Even if you’ve never suffered a fall, the fear of falling could stop you from living a full life. Thankfully, there’s a lot that seniors can do to mitigate fall risk, including moving to a safer home and staying physically active.
Staying upright isn’t the only reason to exercise in your later years. On top of the many mental and physical health benefits of an active lifestyle, exercise is also a great way to stay social as you age. When you join a walking group, take a senior yoga class, or play pick-up games at the local community center, you meet other people who are dedicated to vibrant, active aging.
Just because you’ve hit retirement age doesn’t mean you have to stop pursuing your passions. In fact, now that you have more free time, it’s the ideal opportunity to enroll in a college course, pick up a new hobby, or finally cross some books off your reading list. And lifelong learning doesn’t only make retirement more interesting — according to Harvard Business Review, learning also staves off the symptoms of cognitive decline.
Can’t decide what to do with all your newfound free time? Why not travel? Traveling is easier when you’re not beholden to a 40-hour work week, and senior travel discounts make getting away super affordable. Travel also offers a lot of valuable benefits to older adults — traveling is known to lower your risk of depression, make you more creative, and increase your overall life satisfaction. If you didn’t get to travel much when you were younger, now is the time to satisfy your wanderlust!
Conclusion about getting older
It’s true that getting older comes with a lot of challenges. Aches and pains grow more frequent, loved ones pass away, and a fixed income tightens your budget. But with the challenges of seniorhood come many joys, like the opportunity to make new friends, learn new things, and explore the world. As long as you take care of your health, retirement can be just as enjoyable as your younger years!
About the author
Ms. Jones is passionate about helping seniors embrace their golden years. Each individual has unique needs when it comes to wellness and vitality. Her website, seniorwellness.info, seeks to help and encourage seniors to live their lives to the fullest.