Planning ahead: how to stay healthy and happy in future decades 9



View Profile

The start of retirement can be a wonderful time: a chance to work your entire life around the people and activities we love. But can it continue that way?

While it’s important to live in the moment, it’s always worth taking stock. Could age eventually hold you back from the lifestyle you want? If so, some simple preparations today could go a long, long way.

Prepare your home

Your house may suit your needs perfectly today, but if you plan to remain there at 90, now is a good time to start thinking ahead.

It doesn’t need to be as extreme as installing handrails on the bathroom and stairway (though that may someday be a wise investment). Start by simply making sure your home is safer and more convenient for everybody in the here and now.

Is everything you need on one level? Are there any unnecessary steps or potential tripping hazards? If it’s a risk today, it’s only going to get riskier tomorrow.

If you’re eager to take on a renovation project, this is a fantastic excuse to begin changing your house for future needs. Remove or secure your carpet; give your kitchen and bathroom no-skid tiles; start considering where a second bathroom would be most useful.

Prepare your body

No matter how active and fit you are, some vital functions will naturally decline with age. However, some simple awareness and basic exercises can minimise these risks.

Balance is one of the most vital skills we take for granted. If left unchecked, it can quickly fade, drastically increasing the chances of falling as we age. Thankfully, like any other skill or function, it can be kept strong if it’s regularly used and challenged.

Some low-impact exercises – particularly those in which you bear your own body weight – will help keep your sense of balance strong. Walking, tennis, dancing and tai chi are all extremely effective options. Even gardening qualifies as weight-bearing activity.

These exercises are also essential for keeping your bones healthy. As bone density will decrease past the age of 40, we can become more vulnerable to osteoporosis and fractures. It’s a simple case of “use it or lose it”. The earlier you start preparing, the better.

Prepare your mind

Time and time again, studies have shown a clear link between isolation and depression. As such, an active social life is one of the very best ways to ensure future happiness.

While you may enjoy a lively social life today, it’s worth keeping an eye out for new social groups. The broader your horizons, the stronger your chances of enjoying healthy personal connections in the years to come.

In fact, any new experience can help prepare the brain for a healthy old age. A new language, hobby or field of study will encourage your mind to create new neural pathways, allowing it to adapt and expand at an age people usually associate with decline.

Not only will these small lifestyle adjustments help you live well tomorrow; they’ll also make life more comfortable, lively and rewarding today. It’s never been a better time to start taking stock.

What do you love most about your life today? What steps can you take to ensure it lasts?

This post was sponsored by the Living Well Navigator. It was written as we feel it offers valuable insights into a topic important to the Starts at 60 community. For more information on how to get the most out of your retirement, visit the Living Well Navigator.


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I agree, the things we use to be able to do for many reasons can become more difficult with age, I downsized to a village 6 years ago which has easy access with no stairs or steps and it offers all kinds of activities such as tennis, bowls, bocce, 18 hole golf course, indoor bowls, a fully appointed gym, theatre and snooker room, swimming pool and spa and much much more to assist people to be as active as possible.

    2 REPLY
    • Trish – I am selling and hopefully moving into over 50’s with all activities – excited about it – do you really enjoy it and made many friends?

    • Yes Anne, I have never regretted it for a minute, I have a great circle of friends that I never thought I would have once I left work!

  2. The thing I like most abouty retirement apart from being alive is the amount of time I can spend with friends doing the things we all love

  3. My husband and I moved into our ‘old age’ house about 6 years ago. Lowset brick. All our friends laughed at us and said we were too young. My husband was 61 and I was 53. They are now all building or buying retirement houses. The houses are huge and many are 2 storey. Sheer madness to be buying this style of house in your late 60s. I can see trouble ahead for them.

  4. Our house is the right size but the garage is on a lower level with the workshop.
    The best thing I did was build a lift from there to the back veranda.
    It gives my wife, who is in a wheelchair, complete independent access from the letterbox down to the backyard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *