There’s a multitude of information available online about how to financially prepare for retirement but not nearly enough resources to help older adults prepare physically, emotionally and mentally for this major transition. With these five tips you can feel confident about the next phase in life.
By Delaney Galvin
“The best aging plan is rooted in preparation and making sure that you are equipped to live independently in your home for as long as possible,” says Grants and Communications Director Jimmy Lewis at Chatham County Council on Aging. It is important that you’re mentally ready to head into retirement as well as financially prepared. “Do not let an abundance of time turn into too little time when it comes to being prepared,” Jimmy says.
Join local community clubs and really dive into your hobbies. Older adults tend to isolate as they age, so making sure to have a strong social circle is paramount to a happy retirement. “This is the time to take your hobby or passion to the next level,” Jimmy says. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people both inside and outside your community. It’s proven to boost happiness and is a fulfilling use of your time.
KEEP A HEALTHY DIET
Angela de Muinck, director of activities at Cambridge Hills Assisted Living, stresses the importance of a balanced, healthy diet without a lot of sugar and salt. High blood pressure can be a big issue for some older adults, so eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as drinking a lot of water is important. Limiting sugar and processed foods is also something to pay attention to, though Angela says an occasional sweet treat is OK. We won’t tell if you don’t!
Many older adults find it helpful to begin a meditation practice, says Stephanie Winegar, member services manager at the Duke Center for Living at Fearrington. Meditation is proven to prevent mental deterioration and keep the brain healthy as you age. It is also a great practice to stay centered and reduce anxiety and depression. “Meditation focuses on being aware in the moment, and it can happen in all shapes and forms,” says Taylor Blumenfeld, a colleague of Stephanie’s. The fitness manager notes that “becoming aware in the moment can help you face difficult decisions and situations.”
Taylor and Angela both agree on the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle in retirement and recommend walking. “It’s one of the best exercises there is and can be done anywhere, anytime,” Taylor says, adding that doing it outside is also a great way to boost your mood and productivity. “[It] can help improve vitamin D levels, which keeps our bones strong as we age,” Taylor points out. Retirement looks different for everyone. Now is the time to think ahead and look forward to new experiences. Angela says that many of the Cambridge Hills residents wished that they had traveled more in their lives. You don’t want to have any regrets, so get out there and cross things off your bucket list. Retirement doesn’t have to be intimidating; it can be just as exciting and fun as anything else, as long as you’re prepared.