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Kirkland Elder Law& Associates

Live Your Best Life as You Age

  • Published: June 4, 2019

To age well, you must use sound financial judgment as well as make healthy choices for your body and mind. The goal is to remain as healthy as you can for as long as you can and have a healthy bank account to support those goals. Beyond the obvious, such as choosing the right insurance plan and saving money for retirement, there are other strategies you can implement to further a successful and happy retirement.

Strategy #1:  Identify and Address the Source of Your Stress

Chronic stress is known to worsen health problems and can also accelerate the aging process. Though everyone experiences and handles stress differently, it is important to identify the specific stresses in your life. Relationship, family, and work stress can be treated through meditation and gentle yoga. The more you practice, the more significant the mental and physical benefits you experience.

In the case of financial stress, you need a concrete plan to approach your problem. Develop a budget that will address which debts you need to pay off first and stick to the program. Learn to avoid excessive spending that puts you in a debt cycle. Once you are as debt free as reasonably possible, learn ways to increase your savings.

Strategy #2:  Get Your Body Moving

Thirty minutes of brisk walking five days a week in your neighborhood is excellent for your body and your mind. Take in the outdoors around you and let your mind be free. You can be active doing leg extensions or squats in your own home. You can do several ballet plies while cooking a meal and toe raises while brushing your teeth. Before you get out of bed in the morning move your pillow out of the way and stretch out your spine; arms overhead and extending through your toes. The idea is to connect your daily routine activities to a specific exercise and do it every time you enter into that everyday behavior. If you have physical limitations, talk to your doctor before implementing at home exercises or neighborhood walks.

Strategy #3:  Eat Well

Learn to limit the portions of food you eat. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommend active men over 65 need 2,600 calories daily, while sedentary men require just 2,000; for women it’s 2,000 if active, and 1,600 daily calories if sedentary. By limiting the amount of food you eat, you can maintain a more healthy weight, which in turn can improve your health and longevity, as well as save money.

If you have room in your yard, start a vegetable garden, plant some fruit trees, and involve your friends to share in the workload and the resulting produce. If you don’t have a yard, join a community garden. Growing your food is an excellent way to increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat and has the added benefits of making you physically active and socially engaged. By making a garden a group effort, you can prevent isolation which for many older adults is a risk factor for everything from depression to hypertension.  A fruit and vegetable garden will lower your grocery bill and shift your eating habits to a more healthful plant-based diet.

Strategy #4:  Eliminate Bad Habits

Kick bad habits and start with smoking. Just because you have not already developed lung cancer after decades of smoking does not mean that you won’t.  Quitting smoking will also help prevent other lung problems like emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you drink alcohol on a daily basis or sometimes to excess, consider cutting back or quitting altogether. Alcohol contributes to unsteadiness on your feet and can precipitate you to fall. Do not take more than the prescribed dosage of painkillers or anti-anxiety medications and never mix them with alcohol. Cut back on sugar and fatty foods.

Strategy #5:  Create a Schedule

If your day is not structured, create a schedule. Try to eat at regular times as well as have a predictable bedtime and wake up call. Your body will appreciate the regularity of life. Kicking bad habits to the curb can help you enjoy your retirement years with greater energy and health as well as save you a lot of money on bad habits that are expensive.

There are many techniques for aging well and preserving your bank account. Some methods are simple while others require guidance by trusted counsel. Reduce the financial stresses of your retirement and contact our office today to discuss how we can help you with your planning.