People are living longer and longer these days. That means many are retiring later too, and it also means that many people are experiencing more health problems. The longer you live, the more likely you may be to develop certain illnesses, from cancer to dementia. Looking after your health in your retirement is important. It's a time in your life when you should be able to relax and enjoy your well-earned reward from working for years. But if you're worrying about your health, and your healthcare costs, you might not be able to enjoy your retirement as much as you want to. You need to manage your health so that you can make your retirement as good as it can be.
Think About How to Spend Your Retirement
Before you start specifically planning to manage your health during your retirement, it's worth just giving some thought to how you want to spend your time. A lot of people are excited about finally not having to work, but once retirement arrives, they don't know what to do with themselves. Not having work to keep you occupied can mean you get bored and restless, and then you get miserable. You might end up bothering your friends and family all the time, just for something to do. For many, life still needs to have some kind of purpose. But if it's not work, what is it?
There are all kinds of ways you might spend your retirement. Some people even go back to work part-time or start a small business to help them stay busy. You might choose to travel, volunteer, or just find a few fun social activities to join in with. Maybe you want to spend more time with your children or grandchildren, or with your friends. You could set some goals for your retirement so that you know how you're going to spend it.
Explore Your Insurance Options
One of the most important matters relating to your health is your insurance coverage. When you're not working, you're not going to have insurance from your employer. Medicare is there to cover your medical expenses during retirement, but the primary A and B parts don't cover everything. Some things are left out, such as vision care, dental care and prescription drugs. If you want to make sure you have further coverage, you should look at supplement insurance, which is designed to top up your Medicare. There are a number of different plans to choose from, and you'll have a choice of providers too. Each provider delivers the same cover under the different plans. Depending on the plan you choose, you can ensure you're covered for things like deductibles, co-pays and medical costs when you're traveling abroad.
Manage Your Finances to Meet Healthcare Expenses
Your insurance should help you to meet healthcare costs, particularly those that you would be unable to pay out of pocket. However, you'll still have some expenses to cover, especially if you decide to use a supplementary private insurance plan to top up your Medicare. Being sensible with your finances is vital if you want to make sure you can cover any medical expenses you might have. Even if it's a small amount for a doctor's appointment or a little to refill your prescription, it can all add up. You need to make any medical costs a priority.
It's also worth thinking about later in your retirement when your health might start to decline. In addition to healthcare, you might need extra care to help you complete everyday tasks. It might be necessary to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home or to have someone take care of you at home. It's important to think about the costs of these things before it could be too late.
Manage Your Health Records
Having control over your health records is something that many people want. You should feel that you're able to see your health records when you want to, and they're not some secret thing that doctors are hiding from you. They can be very helpful in a variety of situations, from joining a new doctor to travelling abroad. It's especially useful to be able to access your health records when you want if you're travelling, whether it's at home or you're exploring the world. An easy way to have good access to your medical records at any time is to view them online. You can use a secure system that allows you to view and manage your records, so there's no need to wait for them to be sent to a doctor or to you. It's also a good idea to have a paper copy of some important notes.
Staying active during retirement is a crucial part of staying healthy. It's not always easy, and it's tempting to take the notion of slowing down during retirement a bit too seriously. While you've got much more time to relax, you don't want to relax too much. Even if you have issues that might reduce your mobility, trying to be as active as possible can help to prevent your mobility from deteriorating further. Daily walks can help with balance and strength and are an achievable form of exercise for many people. Of course, there are many other ways you can get active in your retirement if you're able. You might enjoy hiking, cycling, swimming, aerobics or even dancing. It can be a great way to stay social and make sure you have friends during your retirement.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Your diet is important during your retirement too. You might decide to treat yourself more during your later years, but if you want to have a healthy life still ahead of you, you should make sure you watch what you're eating and drinking. A healthy diet can be combined with regular exercise to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. As you get older, you might want to change your diet to boost your health. For example, vitamin D and calcium can help to prevent bone loss, particularly for women, who are more at risk of osteoporosis. If you're not sure if you're getting enough, you can ask your doctor. They can recommend foods to try and might suggest a supplement.
Staying Social for Good Mental Health
It's not just your physical health that's important during your retirement. Your mental and emotional health matter too. Issues like depression and anxiety are fairly common among older adults, but steps can be taken to help prevent them or make them easier to deal with. One of the most important things for older adults is to remain social and prevent isolation. Loneliness is a huge problem among older people. The first thing you can do, particularly while you're still healthy and active, is to be proactive and find ways to socialize with others.
When you retire, you might start to reconnect with friends who are retiring at the same time. However, you could also discover that you don't have much of a social life or even many friends. It's the perfect time to start making some new friends by finding social groups or community groups to join, or perhaps finding somewhere to volunteer. You can use websites like meetup.com to find people who share your interests. Although you might want to see your family all the time, it's important to remember that they have their own lives. Forming your own social networks means you're not completely reliant on your family for social contact.
If you reach a point where it might be difficult for you to leave your home, there are still ways that you can find opportunities to socialize. At this point, you might become a little more reliant on your family to visit or call you. However, remember that there are other ways to stay in contact with people. Some charities and community groups can pick you up for outings or can pair you up with a buddy who can visit or phone you. The internet and phones are both there to make it possible to communicate with people without leaving your home. You can call your friends and join online forums and groups to stay connected to people.
What If You Can No Longer Make Your Own Decisions?
For many people, there is a time in their lives when they are unable to make medical decisions for themselves. This might be due to a condition such as dementia, or it could be due to being unconscious for one reason or another. The question is, if you can't make decisions for yourself, who can make them for you? One option is that you can make decisions for yourself in advance. You can create a living will (advance directive) that sets out your wishes for treatment and care so that you can ensure you get what you want, even if you can't ask for it in the future. You can also consider thinking about appointing a healthcare power of attorney (HCPA), who will make decisions on your behalf. You can choose a person you trust, and you can revoke the privilege whenever you want to.
Your retirement should be an enjoyable time. Make sure you can make the most of it by doing your best to live a healthy lifestyle.