Most people approaching retirement age look forward to kicking back a gear and enjoying their leisure time without the daily grind of work. But at the back of their head may be that nagging feeling of how long it’ll last as health becomes harder to maintain with age. Things have already begun to slow down through middle age, and there are aches and pains that weren’t there in early adulthood. However, retirement no longer automatically means poor health, especially if you take steps to maintain your health well.
Ease Into Change
Abrupt life changes can be challenging to deal with as your brain struggles to catch up with the new status quo. Recent retirees who had worked full-time until the day they finished often struggled with the sudden lack of routine and stimulus. Easing into retirement by gradually dropping your hours over a couple of years lessens this shock. You have time to get used to having leisure time and learn how to fill that leisure time with hobbies and interests previously neglected.
Changes are a natural part of life, with people coming and going and other circumstances evolving over the years. Unfortunately, as we age, our brains become less elastic, which can make dealing with change more difficult. Many people of retirement age are surprised at this inability, which, coupled with an increase in the loss of peers and an increasingly younger population around them, can cause mental health issues. Taking steps to address these issues, such as engaging a personal therapist, helps seniors overcome these problems and enjoy good mental health.
Develop A Routine
Finding a routine that you’re comfortable with keeps you grounded and makes it easier to transition into retirement. Set the alarm every morning and go at roughly the same time each night. Undertaking regular activities throughout the week, such as classes, appointments, and volunteering, gives you a sense of purpose and stops the days from blurring together.
Staying active is essential to good health at any age, young or old. If you cannot reach the same physical activity levels as you did twenty years ago, it’s time to reassess and adapt. Or if you’ve neglected exercise due to work, now is the perfect time to begin undertaking gentle exercise. Look for senior-specific exercise classes and groups, or explore gentler activities that aren’t as hard on the body.
You’re never too young to learn something new, and exercising the mind slows the rate of decline in cognitive function. Retirement is a wonderful time to study something you’ve always been interested in, such as language or musical instruments. Studying for a qualification without the pressure of getting a job, at the end of it, affords you the luxury to take your time and choose a passion subject. At a lower level, puzzles and word games are also excellent daily workouts for the brain.
A significant factor in the senior decline is loneliness and isolation. Making an effort to keep up with friends and family regularly is an important backbone to maintaining an active social life and support network. Classes and other organized activities aren’t only for physical health; they are a lifeline for bringing people together. If you have limited mobility, consider signing up for befriending or similar services where people come to you.
Get A Pet
Many people choose not to have pets while working full time as they can’t give them the required attention. Now that you’re not out of the house most of the week is the ideal time to bring an animal companion into your life. Pets are beneficial for many reasons, including encouraging exercise, routine, and companionship. And with various animals to choose from, there’s a suitable pet for any lifestyle, from a dog for long walks to a low-maintenance fish you can talk with.
Most people wish to stay in their homes for as long as possible, and with environmental adjustments, this is usually possible. Reduce fall risks by installing rails and ramps in bathrooms and on steps. Rearrange furniture, so rooms are easy to maneuver around as mobility slows down. While adjusting lighting can help with slowing and managing early dementia symptoms.
Accepting that aging is inevitable is sensible, but you don’t have to accept retirement equaling rapidly declining health. Taking care of your mind and body in various ways benefits both physical and mental health and allows you to deal with problems while enjoying your retirement efficiently.