Maybe it was the day your grandmother was told she could no longer drive her car, or the moment a sibling took over your parents’ finances. It almost feels inevitable that, someday, you’ll be in the same situation. But after working hard most of your life, you deserve to enjoy every moment of your retirement. Luckily, there are many ways today’s older adults can enjoy independence long into the future.
Focus on Fitness
Fitness is important at every age, but it’s especially imperative for older adults. As we age, we begin losing muscle strength and become more prone to falls — an epidemic that injures more than 2.5 million older people each year. Depending on the severity of the injury, one fall can greatly impact independence.
By engaging in regular, low-impact exercise, such as daily walks, water aerobics, a round of golf or tai chi — and eating a balanced diet — you can reduce muscle loss and stave off disease.
Don’t Skip Medical Appointments
There’s no way around it: Visiting a doctor is a hassle. However, as we age, keeping up with routine checkups is critical to sustained independence and long-term health. Appointments not only help your doctor detect and address any issues, they also allow you the opportunity to ask questions and get professional answers. Developing a good rapport with your healthcare professionals will help ensure you’re taking all the necessary steps to feel great and stay active.
Get Involved in Your Community
Whether you’ve spent your adult years working outside the home, raising a family (or both), chances are retirement can sometimes feel a little, well, slow. Adjusting from your always on-the-go lifestyle to your new laid-back lifestyle takes time.
One of the best ways to ease the transition is to get involved in your community. Options may include:
- Working as a professional mentor. After spending several decades in an industry, you have a lot of knowledge and wisdom to share. Pass it along as a mentor with a business or university.
- Volunteer with a local organization. From helping out in animal shelters to feeding the homeless, working with children to stocking shelves at the library, there is no shortage of spots where your expertise is needed.
- Take on a part-time job. Even if you’re financially prepared for retirement, a part-time job can be a fun and engaging opportunity. You can use the extra income for traveling or financing a new hobby.
Make Use of Connected Technology
You probably already use email, social media and instant messaging to stay engaged with family and friends. But have you explored technology designed to increase safety and convenience? Smart technology can help you improve your home environment in a variety of ways.
For example, consider investing in wireless thermostats, lighting and security systems that connect to your smartphone through easy-to-use apps. This is especially helpful if you or your adult children worry about you returning home alone after dark. With a few taps on your touch screen, you can check the locks, turn on the lights and adjust the temperature from miles away.
Build a Network of Peers
Sometimes the best support system is a good group of friends. They’re there when you need a favor, advice or just a good laugh.
Whether you’re new to the area or simply looking for people who share your same passions and experiences, check online for local meetup groups. You can also look into organizations through your church, neighborhood or community center. Check out the local college or university for discounted courses or look into art classes at nearby DIY stores. From book clubs to happy hours, there’s always an opportunity to broaden your network of friends.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Continuing care programs offer services that help seniors enjoy their independence while simultaneously planning for the future and protecting their assets. By securing long-term care assistance for the future, you can stay independent as you age and enjoy your hard-earned retirement with peace of mind.
Want to learn more about aging in place with a customizable care plan? Check out our FAQs page to discover a new, modern approach to retirement.
(Originally published Feb. 26, 2016; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)