Your health in retirement: Asking for help
I saw that show, 50 things to do before you die. I would have thought the obvious one was “Shout for help!” -Jimmy Carr
We have all seen the ads of fit, well off retirees lazing on beaches, sailing the world, golfing or playing with grandchildren. It all looks so secure and idyllic. We have been around long enough to know that life is not always like that.
Shouting for help
The main aspects of retirement and retirement planning that most would benefit from include finances and estate planning, physical and mental health, and positive relationships.
Over 60 percent of men have a retirement financial plan but no plan for health or social networks. Men over 65 have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Depression, anxiety, illness and social isolation mean shout for help! Negativity plus stress creates a downward spiral that diminishes cognitive capacity and can be a difficult recovery and so shout sooner rather than later.
The Vancouver based Canadian Men’s Health Foundation has staggering statistics about men and heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, alcohol-related deaths as well as suicide. Apparently, men avoid professional health care testing, counseling, and regular monitoring of risk factors like cholesterol, for example. No wonder senior-aged widows outnumber widowers four to one. If not going for help, make sure insurance coverage is in place, guys.
Keep moving and shaking
When I interviewed relatively newly retired men about this issue, I got these replies:
“I had a ring around the waist from a sedentary job with too much coffee and too many sugary snacks. Goal one got active and lose the ring. I talked to a fitness instructor who said start slowly and build good habits and routines. I met with a nutritionist who suggested cutting out the sugar altogether for a few months at least and keep meals fresh and under so many calories. I got a Fitbit, started walking with a couple of buddies on the trails, skipped desserts and dropped 10 pounds over the summer. I joined a gym in the fall and it has been paying off big time.”
“I walk downtown, do the shopping, bike rather than drive, and have slowed down the crazy pace of work. I sleep a lot better too. I have a garden now, take tennis lessons and I bought a little kayak last spring. Not sure what I will be up to over the winter but I want to get outside as much as I can.”
“I want to follow some dreams while I am able. I have seen too many men my age sidelined with hip or knee problems. I know there is a best before date. I go for massage regularly and physio when I need a tune-up. “Get at ‘er” is my motto now.”
Women need to shout too
Women, on the whole, do much better with the social support piece as well as the mental and physical health, but often leave the financial and estate planning to someone else or ignore it altogether. Only about 52 percent of women have a financial plan. About 40 percent of women will divorce before their 30th anniversary dropping their incomes as much as 45 percent. Becoming a widow can also result in an income loss. Of women over 65, 45 percent are widows. That is why women need to educate themselves and take charge of their financial futures with a team of trusted advisors.
Any suggestions for ‘shouting for help’?