How to prepare for a healthy and happy old age

To get the most out of life, a lot of people compile a bucket list of must-do experiences to achieve during their lifespan. This might be dream experiences such as bungy jumping or seeing the Taj Mahal, or more general life achievements like building your dream career or having a family. However, one thing that is often far from most people’s minds when planning for the future is old age. With a bit of extra preparation and an honest assessment of what your future needs might be, it is possible to continue to have a fun and enjoyable life in your twilight years. To help you out, here are some things to consider to help you prepare for a healthy and happy old age.

Assess potential future health needs

One of the biggest challenges of old age is managing the health issues that inevitably come with growing older. A lot of these are simply maintenance issues as your body ages, however, some can be the result of lifestyle choices. Why not take the opportunity to assess your health and lifestyle to get an idea of what you might have to deal with in old age, and make some alterations? Consider your family history to see what health issues might be genetic; for example, if your parents and grandparents all suffered from arthritis, the chances are you will also be susceptible to arthritis as you age. Some conditions, however, are exacerbated by lifestyle choices; heart disease, for instance, has been linked to a poor diet and lack of exercise, and you might like to try implementing lifestyle changes to lessen your risk. 

Ensure you have adequate health insurance

Due to an increased need for medical care to manage conditions associated with aging, many seniors regularly pay hundreds of dollars in health care. However, with incomes shrinking due to retirement, a lot of older people also struggle to afford their rising health care bills. Make sure that you have organized adequate health insurance to help you with these costs when you enter old age. Medicare, for instance, is the federal government’s health insurance program for people aged 65 and over, and covers everything from hospitalization and hospice care to prescription drugs. 

Investigate senior living options 

As you age, you might need a bit more help in carrying out daily chores that were previously completed without a second thought, and your current home might not be the safest place for you to live. This is especially the case if you are recuperating from a medical procedure or illness that has weakened the body. There is a range of senior living options for you to investigate on sites such as that can provide you with a little more support while ensuring that you retain your independence. For instance, an assisted living complex will provide you with a private apartment so that you can continue to lead an independent life, while also having experienced care professionals close at hand should you need any assistance. Another benefit of moving to an assisted living complex is that you have a ready-made community of other residents, meaning that you can have a full social life. 

Maximize your pension arrangements

If you’re busy dealing with the daily chaos of the nine to five routine, you might not have spent much time thinking about your retirement plans. However, it is important that you have pension arrangements in place so that you have enough money to live comfortably on when you are no longer earning a regular wage. In addition to this, many people save up for their retirement so that they can do all the things they were unable to do while working, such as touring coast to coast in an RV. In addition to a pension plan, you will also receive social security from the federal government when you have retired. 

Put your legal affairs in order

As you grow older, you might naturally start to think about your death and what that will mean for your family. There are certain legal steps you can take in your twilight years to help make this emotional time easier when the inevitable happens. Most obviously, make sure you have your will organized legally. It might be an idea to discuss its contents with the beneficiaries – particularly if they are your children – to make sure that your effects are distributed fairly and there are no nasty surprises in store for anyone. It’s worth considering also drawing up a living will. This is a legal document specifically documenting your end of life care wishes, and includes points such as whether you want your organs to be donated following your death, and how much medical intervention you want should you fall into an unresponsive state. Drawing up a living will may sound morbid; however, it will help your family greatly at a difficult time to have a firm set of instructions to follow. 

Lead as active a lifestyle as possible   

Drawing up a will and living will can naturally leave you feeling a bit despondent – you are after all making plans for your death and you will no doubt be reminded that your time is rapidly running out. However, it’s important to continue to lead as active a lifestyle as possible to avoid falling into a depression. This might include gentle exercise that is suitable for your level of fitness and health, such as stretching exercises specifically designed for seniors to help improve balance and flexibility. It’s important to continue exercising your brain as you get older, which can help to reduce the chances of developing dementia. Try regularly completing a brain teaser puzzle such as sudokus and crossword puzzles, which have been proven to help with brain training and memory. You should also incorporate a vibrant social life into your lifestyle as an older person. Spending time with friends and family is a huge mood booster, ensuring that you enjoy life to the full whatever your age.