They don’t call them the golden years for nothing. With the right tools and goals in place, it can be downright enjoyable to kick back and not have to worry about getting up for work anymore.
The big trick to really being able to enjoy those older years is to prioritize protecting three things: your mind, your body, and your finances. It takes a bit of regular maintenance to keep all three at their best. However, the effort is completely worth it.
Protecting Your Mind
Taking care of your mental health as you age might be of the most challenging aspects of reaching golden year goals. Many of us have at least heard about cognitive decline as we age, but that certainly isn’t the only mental health concern for older adults. In fact, the CDC estimates nearly one in five people over the age of 55 experience some sort of mental health issue. By far the most common are anxiety, chronic stress, and depression.
One way to help keep the mind sharp is to incorporate different mind games and brain workouts into your routine. Studies indicate that simple things like reading, writing, doing puzzles, playing games, or playing an instrument can help exercise different parts of the brain. These activities can help retain and keep sharp certain critical thinking skills, information processing speed, planning skills, decision-making, reaction times, and short-term memory.
Perhaps the biggest stem of mental health concerns in seniors has to do with increasing social isolation. Fortunately, it has a relatively simple solution: keep getting out there and socializing. This can mean a lot of different things to different people whether it be volunteering with organizations, taking classes, joining clubs, or getting together to play games and share food. Fortunately, your efforts won’t exist in a vacuum — they’ll help you protect your physical well-being, too.
Protecting Your Body
Some of the best ways to protect the mind also play into protecting the body. Many of the social things that you can do to help protect your mental health will have a physical component to them that benefits the body. Likewise, many of the activities that will help maintain the body will also improve mental health. There is plenty of research linking exercise and an active lifestyle to better mental fitness.
There are oodles of things that older adults can do to remain active, regardless of their physical abilities. Popular exercises to stay active include things like walking clubs, swimming, and doing yoga. Simple things like spending time outside and/or maintaining active hobbies have powerful ways to sustain the body over time. You can even choose to do these activities in a group setting.
Many seniors choose swimming as a hobby and a way to stay fit because it is generally much easier on the joints. Beyond exercise with minimal joint damage, something like swimming can improve heart health, help maintain flexibility, and strengthen and tone muscles. Participation in swimming groups or clubs for seniors also helps you take care of the body and the mind.
Protecting Your Finances
Protecting your finances can seem a little strange as a third goal when living your golden years, but it couldn’t be more imperative. Transitioning from work life — where a regular paycheck keeps coming — to retired life entails a complete reorganization of your financial expectations. Adjusting to a fixed income can be a bit of a lifestyle change, but if you’ve planned well it can be a pretty comfortable one.
One way to ensure that you have enough resources to live off later in life is through passive income. For example, real estate investments can be beneficial when you retire as these types of high-return, low-risk sources of income tend to be inflation-proof, offer a steady stream of income, and can be used for a variety of tax benefits. As with any investment, be sure to do your research ahead of time to make informed decisions.
You should also take steps to safeguard the money you do have from scammers. Unfortunately, many seniors are often the targets of scams to gain access to personal information and finances. These scams can come from anywhere such as everyone’s favorite Nigerian prince reaching out online, or clever Social Security scammers posing as government officials in phone calls. Both have similar goals: to gain access to your personal funds.
Taking steps to protect your finances can be the difference between being able to live comfortably in retirement versus struggling to make ends meet. Some of the best steps to avoid falling for scams or other plots to access your money include things like:
- Ignore unsolicited messages;
- Never share personal information online;
- Refuse to share credit card or Social Security information over the phone;
- Steer well away from uncommon payment methods;
- Making sure you have a plan in place for unexpected twists and turns in life.
Growing older is a natural part of life and one that really can have a lot of perks. It’s a time for a dream vacation, diving deeper into long-forgotten hobbies, or just kicking back and spending time with the grandkids. By taking care of your mind, body, and finances, you can help to ensure your golden years are some of the best ones yet.
Guest Author Bio
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business, technology, and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or getting into the latest tech.