You may look to your retirement with excitement, nervousness or apathy. Whatever you are feeling, here are 12 tips to help you prepare for retirement and make sure you enjoy your time off after years of working.
Ensure your finances are in order
One of the biggest worries around retiring is around affordability. Will you have enough to live comfortably? Will you be able to do all of the things you want to? What might you have to sacrifice?
Having a good understanding of your finances is vital and allows you to budget and plan accordingly. It is often a good idea to seek financial advice so that you can arrange your assets in a way that will benefit you the most.
Know what help and support is available for when you need it
Even if you won’t need it for a while, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the different aged care options available to you. Applying for aged care help can be a long process, so preparing in advance means that you’ll have support ready when you need it.
We highly recommend applying for a Home Care Package as soon as you are eligible. Check your eligibility for a Home Care Package here.
Movement keeps you young and healthy! Regular exercise can slow the ageing process by keeping muscles strong and joints mobile. Once you stop, it can be hard to get going again so doing a little bit every day is much better than doing a lot every once in a while.
Low activity levels are directly related to an increased risk of mortality in those over 65 years of age. Around 3.2 million deaths each year are attributed to a lack of physical activity.
As we age, our bodies may absorb and react to nutrients a little differently than they used to. Reduced production of stomach acid and changes to gut microbia can mean that foods are not digested as well, and therefore the nutrients aren’t broken down to be readily available for absorption.
Older adults are at increased risk of malnutrition due to the fact that there is a decreased need for calories, yet a higher need for nutrients. This can mean that you are less hungry and eat less as a result, causing a lack of nutrients.
Make sure you’re providing your body with all of the nutrients it needs to stay strong and healthy! If you’re not sure what you should be eating and how much, a visit to a dietician or nutritionist may be a good idea.
Once you retire, you’ll no longer head into a workplace and see colleagues on a daily basis. For many, losing social and community connections can be a common result of retiring and can lead to loneliness and isolation.
Stay in touch with your old colleagues and organise to catch up with them on a regular basis. Use the extra hours in your day to visit friends and family, or to join group activities where you can make new connections.
Develop a routine
Creating a weekly routine can help you to manage your time well and ensures you don’t feel like you’re wasting your days.
Make sure your home is safe
Once you’ve made the decision to retire, it’s a good idea to get your home in order. Whether you’re downsizing or staying where you are, clearing out any clutter can help to improve the safety and functionality of your home – not to mention the enjoyability!
If your home has the potential to be unsafe now or in future, modifying it to improve accessibility is important. Modifying your home can be as simple as installing some grab rails in the bathroom, or fixing up an uneven garden path that could pose a trip hazard.
The Commonwealth Home Support Program, or a government-subsidised Home Care Package can pay for home modifications. Learn more about these Home Care programs.
Get a pet
Pets can be fantastic companions, and now that you are retired, you have the time to train and give a new pet the attention they deserve.
Caring for a pet can reduce blood pressure and stress, and improves your overall wellbeing. Pets can also improve your fitness, as you are likely to be more active if you have a pet. Dog owners are especially likely to get out and about, walking their dog on a daily basis.
Take up projects/hobbies
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but just haven’t had the time? Or perhaps there’s a project that you’ve been meaning to undertake? There’s no better time than now!
Having something on the go will keep your mind and/or body active and means that you won’t get bored. A hobby or project will give you a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
Keep your mind active
An active mind is a healthy mind! Exercising your mind can help you to prevent cognitive decline and reduce your risk of dementia. We’ve put together a list of the best mind games and online puzzles that can help to keep your mind stimulated.
Volunteering can be the perfect way to get out into the community, give you a sense of purpose, help others and allow you to meet new people. In fact, studies have shown that people who volunteer have a significantly lower mortality rate than those who do not.
Travel gets you out of the house, builds confidence and can expand your comfort zone! People who travel regularly have been found to have lower levels of stress and reduce risk of heart disease.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out our favourite local getaways for over 65’s.