As Baby Boomers reach retirement age and Gen Xers hit their 50s, it’s not too early for middle-aged and older adults to start making lifestyle choices that support successful aging. If the growing number of seniors live as long as they are expected to, perhaps to 100 and beyond, individuals, families and governments all stand to benefit from protecting the health and well-being of older adults.
In addition to eating a healthy diet, not smoking and staying physically active, research tells us that having a purpose, staying socially engaged and learning new things helps older adults remain vital and thriving. By making time to nurture relationships, contribute to their community and fulfill lifelong dreams, middle-aged adults can start now to prepare for a healthier and more meaningful older age.
For some, delaying retirement or taking the plunge into a second-act career is fulfilling while others may discover volunteerism offers an opportunity to share knowledge and connect socially with a wide range of people. Or perhaps travel or training to run the NYE Marathon floats your particular boat. According to a recent report in the Montreal Gazette, as growing numbers of people reach middle and retirement age, the shift is turning away from trying to prevent aging toward achieving a better quality of life in old age which in turn lessens the burden on public and private resources.
As well as staying mentally, physically and socially active, middle-aged and older people also must plan financially for an increasingly longer retirement. Some choose to downsize their homes and live a more spartan existence that can be sustained for many years. Others seek employment that helps support their chosen lifestyle. Of course, it’s important to talk with a (fee-only) financial planner to ensure income in retirement.
Learn more about preparing for greater longevity successfully by following this link to a recent editorial by Philip Pizzo, MD, Department of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University, published in the JAMA.