I don’t need to remind you about the rising costs of medical care. You probably all have depressing tales to tell. So what does that have to do with retirement planning? Well, if you stand a 50% chance of living into your 90’s or even beyond, don’t you want to be as healthy as possible to stave off those medical bills? I would like to chat about a few basic steps you can take to assist.
Everywhere we read that the two main factors are diet and exercise. I worry every time one of my friends laughs off their so-called middle-age spread as something they can do nothing about. There is so much literature on healthy eating these days yet it is confusing – paleo, keto, low-Carb, banting. The centenarians interviewed in the Blue Zones project and the Human longevity film, eat a predominantly plant-based diet, they eat moderate amounts with moderate intake of alcohol. Then the sugar story – everyone says it is best to stay well clear of sugar, but I am so addicted I am really struggling with that one!
Exercise is also essential. I have two dogs that beat the door down each day for a walk and they keep me fit. The gym that I go to has a large membership of over 60’s and many of the classes during the day are very social. Not so easy if you are still working long hours, but some form of healthy, regular exercise will go a long way to keeping you well.
Then the myth about needing less sleep as you age. A myth, that is all it is. I struggle with insomnia and have seen firsthand the deterioration in mental function when I have a “bad” spell. We all need 6-8 hours of uninterrupted, restful of sleep per night to replenish the body’s cells.
The last few I want to talk about are seldom mentioned in this context. The first is attitude. Most of us know someone who tends to see their glass as half empty. They feel victimized, and everyone else has a better life than them. This attitude is very tiring on the cells of the body and can lead to accelerated deterioration. Do you know stories of people who have literally shriveled up and died in retirement because it wasn’t what they expected? It is a matter of controlling what you can (your attitude) and accepting what you cannot control (external factors that you have no control over). I know it sounds far simpler than it is, but awareness is the first step you can take towards filling the glass.
As we grow older most of us feel the need to make a contribution to the world. Be it a single act of kindness as in paying it forward, or continuously helping, by volunteering or helping the less fortunate in your community, we can all find opportunities around up to contribute. For some it is simply wanting to make a difference, for others it is pure altruism and yet others it is the need to leave some form of legacy.
The last is the one I find most difficult – reach out to others when you need help. When I fell and broke my wrist last year I really struggled with the battle between independence and reaching out for help. Sixty-something years of maintaining my independence are not easy to turn around overnight.
I would like to thank Margaret on Sixty&Me for her vlog last week which got me thinking about this topic.
Till next time,