Although we all know that aging is a normal process, it’s actually healthy aging that’s the key to being able to feel your very best as you age.
Overall, health is a state of being and is the mental, physical, and social well-being of your body and mind. And wellness means being in good health and enhancing your well-being.
How to Achieve Healthy Retirement?
Healthy aging comes from taking really good care of everything from your body to your mind and soul. That means that enjoyable socialization, a healthy diet, and plenty of physical activity are just the beginning.
There’s much more to staying healthy in retirement. So, here's a list of 20 tips to stay healthy in retirement (followed by some specifics about each one) that we've compiled for you to get you on the right track to a happier and healthier retirement:
- Staying positive
- Avoiding memory loss
- Getting your hearing checked
- Correcting your vision
- Taking control of your diabetes
- Drinking less (or, not at all)
- Quitting smoking
- Checking your blood pressure regularly
- Eating a healthy well-balanced diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Getting enough sleep
- Learning how to prevent falls
- Exercising regularly
- Protecting your head
- Getting an APOE test
- Trying some auto aids to make driving safer and easier
- Getting an FDA-approved over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid (if needed)
- Exercising your mind
- Hanging out with friends
- Winding down gently
Breaking Down the 20 Tips
Let's break down each one of these 20 tips for staying healthy in retirement. Each one can help you but a good combination of several of them could definitely mean the difference between a truly healthy retirement and a decidedly unhealthy one. So, let's get started now,
1. Staying positive
In life, there are too many things that we simply can't change. They include the weather, the time, and certain circumstances. However, the one thing that we do have the ability to change is our attitude and bad habits. Some people are optimists while others are pessimists.
Pessimists expect everything to go wrong and dwell on the negative aspects of life while optimists maximize the positives while minimizing the negatives.
The choice is yours to develop a positive attitude or to simply remain negative. Positivity is beneficial to your self-esteem and can also have a positive influence on others. In fact, the benefits of developing a positive attitude and living in the present are numerous.
2. Avoiding memory loss
Age-related memory loss is not a normal occurrence. It’s also not necessarily a given for seniors. A lot of times, we forget things in our twenties and thirties without thinking twice. But, getting older and forgetting something makes us wonder if we’re getting Alzheimer's.
You’re probably not, however, as it takes a really long time to develop Alzheimer’s.
You can take some simple steps to avoid memory loss as you enter retirement. Start with staying not only physically active every day but also mentally active.
Many retirees find that a good crossword puzzle during their morning coffee is a good start. And, you should also ensure that you're getting plenty of sleep, socializing, good food, and even simply getting organized. They can all help you improve your memory and overall mental well-being.
3. Getting your hearing checked
Hearing loss has been linked to a faster decline in brain health and you definitely don’t want that. In fact, your overall health can be enhanced by getting your hearing checked and addressing any issues that may arise as soon as possible.
Don’t wait until you actually start noticing that you have failing hearing. Instead, be proactive and make an appointment today.
4. Correcting your vision
A routine visit to your optometrist is the simplest way to keep your eyes healthy, especially if you have any visual impairments.
However, you may not be fully covered by your insurance for eyeglasses, and they aren't always free. Even so, you want to make sure your brain receives the best input possible.
So, if you need prescription glasses but can’t afford them, then try ordering them online. Numerous websites sell high-quality, low-cost glasses, often at half the value of what you'd be charged for at your eye doctor’s office. You can get your prescription from your doctor but your glasses at a discount.
5. Taking control of your diabetes
The percentage of American seniors (65 and older) with diabetes compared to other countries is high, at 29.2 percent (both diagnosed and undiagnosed). And, if you’re one of this country’s 16 million seniors who suffer from diabetes, it’s extremely important to know something.
Specifically, it’s the fact that the risk of dementia increases when diabetes is uncontrolled. So, be sure to take your insulin as prescribed, eat a healthy diabetic diet, and follow your doctor's orders.
6. Drinking less (or, not at all)
No alcohol at all is the best option for your brain health, however, if you’re still going to drink, it should be in very small quantities. Alcohol is a caustic substance.
After all, it’s utilized for killing bacteria and viruses on operating tables, so how good could it possibly be for your insides? Think about it the next time you reach for that bottle.
7. Quitting smoking
There’s absolutely no better time for quitting than right now! By now, you’ve got to know that smoking is bad for you.
When you smoke, you increase your risk of vascular problems, which increases your dementia risk (among many other things). And, if the risk of lung or oral cancer doesn't get you to quit, spending the rest of your retirement with dementia should.
8. Checking your blood pressure regularly
Your blood pressure should be less than (or equal to) 120 over 70. And, hypertensive seniors are at increased risk for adverse cardiovascular events. If you have untreated high blood pressure, you’re also at a higher risk for everything from dementia to stroke.
9. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet
You can reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses by eating a variety of foods.
It’s especially beneficial for both your brain health and overall well-being to eat plenty of fruits, nuts, and veggies. And, if you have difficulty cooking for yourself, then you can try one (or more) of the meal delivery services available today.
They offer good healthy food that’s really easy to serve and you also get an excellent variety to make eating less boring and more intriguing and enjoyable.
10. Drinking plenty of water
The importance of drinking enough water simply cannot be overstated. By regulating your body's temperature, keeping your organs healthy, and preventing infection, it helps keep your body healthy. And, drinking water also helps you keep your energy levels up as well.
Several aspects of brain function can be impaired by even mild dehydration, according to Healthline. Have you ever forgotten to drink water during a hot day and felt exhausted by nighttime? Dehydration is why. In addition to improving cognition and mood, staying hydrated boosts energy.
11. Getting enough sleep
You should try to get about six hours or more of sleep each night. When you don't get enough sleep, you'll feel tired and find it difficult to get out of bed. On the other hand, a good night's sleep leaves you feeling stronger, more refreshed, and ready to tackle the day.
You can also re-energize yourself by taking a short nap in the afternoon. Taking a nap for more than 40 minutes, however, could make falling asleep more difficult that night.
12. Learning how to prevent falls
Falling is a major concern for anyone 55+ because the effects of a fall can be severe, requiring months of hospitalization and therapy, as well as the possibility of death.
Many retirees may think that this issue doesn’t apply to them…. until it does. It’s important to know how to properly start assessing and preventing accidents so that you can stay safe and independent for many years to come.
So, to prevent falls, start by learning all about your overall health. Your lower limbs, joints, and even your balance can be affected by osteoporosis, arthritis, or diabetic neuropathy, just to name a few.
Then, clear the clutter in your home, improve the lighting, and consider some home improvements to make it more fall-proof.
13. Exercising regularly
When you exercise, endorphins are released that reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and reduce depression risks. That's why staying active and exercising regularly are so important to live a happy retirement. You'll feel better and both your body and mind will thank you for it.
14. Protecting your head
There are numerous reasons to protect your head, of course, but especially if you’re genetically predisposed to developing toxic amyloidosis. Hitting your head could accelerate that process. The signs and symptoms of amyloidosis can include:
- Diarrhea, possibly with constipation or blood.
- Enlarged tongue.
- Numbness, pain, or tingling in your hands or feet.
- Severe weakness and fatigue.
- Shortness of breath.
- Swelling of your legs and ankles.
So, whether you worry about amyloidosis or any other head injury issues, then you should definitely hire somebody else to clean your gutters or perform any other task that requires climbing a ladder.
Also, if you love bike riding, then don’t forget to wear your helmet. Always protect your head no matter what you’re doing.
15. Getting an APOE test
What is an APOE test? It’s a test for evaluating your DNA for the purpose of detecting any presence of what’s known as “the APOE4 variant”. This variant is associated with dementia and specifically Alzheimer’s.
Early detection can give you the time you need for working with your doctor on the development of some necessary proactive health choices.
16. Trying some auto aids to make driving safer and easier
When it comes to helping keep senior drivers safe and extending their driving years, there are numerous inexpensive products that you can get for your vehicle. They’re generally easy to install and can help you with a wide range of different driving needs like these popular auto aids:
A. There are some special exit and entry aids designed for mobility-challenged seniors. If you have difficulty entering and exiting your vehicle, this could be a safe option for you.
This is especially helpful if you have a car that’s low to the ground or you drive (or ride in as a passenger) an SUV or a pickup truck. There’s a wide range of special seat cushions and support handles that can be very helpful.
B. Rear vision improvements can help you if you suffer from back and neck range of motion issues. This problem can make looking over your shoulder to merge into traffic or backing up extremely difficult. Back-up cameras and special mirrors can really help and are usually fairly easy to install.
C. Available seat belt extensions can make buckling up much easier for you if you have mobility issues or are plus-sized. In addition to DIY seat belt extenders, there’s also a wide range of driving equipment that is adaptive and can be professionally installed in your vehicle.
They include hand controls, pedal extenders, and seats that not only swivel but also swing out for helping with various disabilities.
17. Getting an FDA-approved over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid (if needed)
Approximately ⅓ of seniors 65 to 74 plus ½ half of them over 75 suffer from hearing loss that affects their daily lives. However, only around 80 percent of those who could easily benefit from wearing hearing aids simply don’t.
That’s due to their hefty price tag, according to the National Institutes of Health. But, that should soon change.
The over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids that have recently been FDA-approved are a genuine game-changer for around 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss.
If you suffer from impaired hearing, now you can simply walk in and obtain hearing aids at big box stores, consumer electronics stores, local pharmacies, or even online. And there’s no prescription or audiologist consultation needed.
They’re now available at lower costs as well. In fact, traditional hearing aids that you once had to order from an audiologist used to cost from $1,000 to $7,000 a pair.
And, unfortunately, they aren’t even covered by Medicare or the majority of private insurers. On the other hand, the new OTC hearing aids only cost from $200 to $3,000.
18. Exercising your mind
Did you know that government studies show that learning in your later years can help you to stay independent? So, why not utilize some of your newfound time for challenging yourself mentally?
Whether you choose to learn how to play an instrument, master another language, or get a qualification, it’ll be well worth your while when it comes to effectively exercising your mind.
In addition, playing games like Chess, crossword puzzles, or Scrabble are excellent ways to keep your mind active and be happier while enjoying your retirement time. And, you can have lots of fun while boosting your cognitive abilities at the same time!
19. Hanging out with friends
Why are friendships even more important when you retire? Because retiring shouldn’t mean losing touch with the group of friends that you made at work.
Why not start making arrangements for regularly catching up? Or, how about using some of your newfound leisure time for catching up with some old friends who you haven’t seen in quite a while?
Then again, if you’re one of those seniors who love party planning, you could simply come up with an excuse for getting everybody together and having fun. You could arrange the perfect dinner party for an anniversary celebration or any other special occasion like a retirement party.
And, friends don’t necessarily need to be two-legged either. Could you possibly take in a rescue dog or cat who needs a new home? Research has actually shown that a furry friend can have a really positive effect on your health and well-being.
Research has shown that retirees who have pets are generally less lonely, more trusting, and happier overall than seniors who don't have any pets. They also tend to need to visit their doctor less often.
20. Winding down gently
When you wind down gently when starting your retirement, you’re ensuring a smoother transition. In fact, you might even want to start retiring in stages, easing off from your workload over a few years.
That can help you to get used to the idea gradually. Another way of doing that is by filling up your time with volunteer work, an encore career, or some fulfilling part-time work. Read our 3 types of retirement guide to know more.
No matter what you choose for this transition, don’t just stop doing everything abruptly as it could leave you feeling lonely or lost. And should poor health or relationship changes temporarily derail your plans, just accept that it happened and activate a backup plan.
Most importantly, keep thinking positively and if you have any concerns, be sure to share them with others.