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Happy seniors in smart casual looking at camera in park

For many people, the thought of retirement is a very exciting prospect.  Media channels tout the importance of planning for the future, and even encourage options for early retirement based on these investments.  As an overall picture that emerges, the prospect of retirement would appear to be filled with opportunities for self expression that may have been put on hold in intervening years.

Challenges You May Face When Retiring

For a great majority of people, this scenario can be very true, especially when strong family bonds and self motivation are already present.  However, many people also find that once they have been in retirement for a while, they can begin to develop emotional issues regarding this change.  Ultimately, retirement can represent a sense of loss of purpose for many people, especially if their career had been a largely defining factor in the personality.  In these cases, enjoying a healthy retirement may take some effort that will result in overall life enrichment.

1.  Keep Up With Physical Activity

One of the most common occurrences that happens when people go into retirement is that there is a tendency to become more sedentary.  This can largely be a result of simply not needing to meet the physical demands of work any longer, but it can also be a factor of feeling as though purpose is lost.  Although it is a great benefit of retirement to be able to relax, it can also become a negative factor if activity is severely reduced.

Engaging in physical activity not only keeps the body healthy, but it also encourages feelings of positivity and independence for retired individuals as well as healthy eating habits.  In some cases, it can spark a motivation to learn about new activities and how to participate in them, while in other cases the physical activity can also become a social outlet.  Overall, getting out and about is not only healthy, but it also encourages dimensional wellness.

2.  Bond With Pets

Although many retirees may already own family companion animals, taking care of pets can provide an immensely rewarding experience.  From one standpoint, the responsibility for care of the companion animal can renew a sense of purpose in life, and can also help retirees to continue to feel engaged and needed.  Depending on the pets that a person has, this can also factor in to greater physical activity, as daily walks with the dog can become an enriching routine.

Another important point is that studies have indicated that people who care for pets in retirement live an average of 10 years longer than those who do not have pets.  While some of the causality for this is attributed to the factors mentioned above, there is also evidence that the social and emotional bond that is formed provides a better mental outlook and more optimistic and healthy behaviors.

3.  Taking The Time To Travel

The image of retirees enjoying quality time exploring the world is a common one, although the practice is unfortunately less so.  Although the access for the ability to travel is present, retirees who have become complacent in this time may lack the motivation to actually get out, even if the desire is still present.  However, travel enriches life experiences, and also exposes people to new circumstances and cultures.  This alone can greatly enhance mental faculties, as it encourages the brain to learn.

Travel also presents a necessary respite from everyday routines.  For many retirees, the act of traveling can be as exciting as coming home, but for highly positive reasons.  In breaking up sedentary routines, retirees will also find that when they do relax at home, it is with a hopeful outlook to the next vacation they will take.  In this manner, a very important emotional balance for health is established.

Portrait of happy senior couple during trip

4.  The Importance Of Causes/Charity And Learning/Classes

Getting involved in community causes or charity events and learning/classes can also fulfill a number of positive points that lead to a healthy retirement.

  • Committing to a cause creates a sense of purpose and voluntary routine
  • Charity events can present ideal situations for social interactions
  • Taking ownership in advocacy can also benefit personal goals
  • Learning and classes provide mental enrichment and stimulation
  • Classes offer a social aspect, but also keep retirees open to new experiences
  • Adult learning aids in ongoing development and can prevent cognitive deterioration

For these reasons, looking into causes/charity work that is of interest, or taking classes for adult learners can further enhance the quality of life during retirement.

5.  Spending Time With Young People

Although it is understandable that individuals will gravitate to their own peer groups, it can be very important for people who are in retirement to make an effort to spend time with young people.  This can obviously be through contact with grandchildren and younger family members, but it can also involve volunteer opportunities for youth enrichment.

Spending time with young people gives retirees a broader perspective on the modern world, which allows for a continued sense of connection with life.  Further, young people can become very motivational to retirees, just as retirees can become inspirational to youths.  This synergy allows for an alignment with youthful energy that can also enhance quality of retirement.

6.  Maintaining Family Ties

While a variety of life circumstances may result in retirees who live near their children just as much as it can mean a greater physical distance, it is still important to maintain family ties.  Ideally, frequent visits, excursions, and even telephone calls can greatly aid in keeping these connections strong.  With modern technologies, international video calls can also be a means to maintaining family ties.  However, regardless of how the interactions are handled, these connections can remind retirees of the great value of life, and how important caring for loved ones is.

7.  Taking On Community Involvement Within Your Nursing Home

Retirees who are in assisted living facilities may find that some of the suggestions for healthy retirement are more feasible than others, but there are always outlets that can benefit positive lifestyles.  Getting involved with the community within the nursing home is not only vital to keep up motivation and socialization, but it can also provide a sense of purpose and belonging in the newer environment.


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