Top Ten Healthy Habits to Help Seniors Age in Place

Written by James Fleming

If you’ve never really prioritized health before, you may think it’s too late now that you’ve retired or are about to retire. In reality, though, it’s never too late and in fact, your health matters more now than ever before.

The sooner you start implementing healthy habits, the longer you are likely live and the greater your quality of life will be. Even if you’re currently struggling with pain or an illness, these ten habits can help reduce your symptoms and allow you to continue aging in place.

1. Take a Daily Multivitamin
Micronutrient deficiencies are common among senior citizens, and the deficiencies seem to get worse as age increases. A daily multivitamin is a great tool that you can use to avoid the health risks that come from these deficiencies.

A daily multivitamin contributes to one’s overall health and is especially beneficial for days when you under eat or simply don’t eat as healthfully as you’d like.

2. Get an Annual Physical
If you’re relying on Medicare, you’re entitled to a free physical during the first twelve months. After that, you receive a free annual wellness visit.

Be sure to take advantage of these free visits to make sure you’re staying on top of your health. If you are suffering from any illness, you’ll be able to catch it earlier. Your doctor will also be able to let you know if you are at risk of developing any specific diseases.

3. Prioritize Prevention
Preventative care visits — such as health screenings and vaccinations — are almost always covered by Medicare as well. Take advantage of these screenings and vaccines to ensure you’re keeping illness at bay and catching any issues that might be present early on.

4. Let Go of What You Can’t Control
Research shows that the people who live the longest are typically those who do not dwell on the difficulties they may be facing. Being able to manage stress and let go of the things that are out of your control is good for your physical and mental well-being. Mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi are great for helping you improve your ability to stop internalizing things you can’t change.

5. Visit the Dentist Twice a Year
As you age, your risk of cavities increases. Mouth infections have also been linked to a variety of chronic and serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. To prevent these and maintain good oral health, regular dentist visits (every six months) are a good idea.

6. Keep Your Mental Health in Check
Mental health is another essential component of a high quality of life. Many seniors struggle with depression and anxiety. Work on maintaining a positive attitude and try to find friends or family members with whom you can share your worries or problems. Keeping these things bottled up will only make your depression or anxiety worse.

7. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise will also help keep depression and anxiety at bay. It’s also just good for overall health. Seniors who exercise regularly are less likely to experience falls, and, if you struggle with arthritis or chronic pain, you may also find that it helps alleviate your symptoms.

8. Eat a Healthy Diet
Taking a multivitamin is important, but remember that it’s a supplement — it shouldn’t replace your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and high-quality animal products. To maintain your health and age in place, a healthy and balanced diet is essential. Be sure to also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

9. Get Plenty of Sleep
Many seniors struggle with insomnia or poor quality sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool to promote better rest. You can also use natural sleep aids to help you get plenty of shut-eye (prescription sleep aids should be a last resort, as they can cause dizziness and increase your risk of falls).

10. Stay Connected
Finally, make sure you’re spending time with people you love on a regular basis. Friends, children, grandchildren — they all can help you feel connected and make it easier for you to maintain a positive attitude. This, in turn, will lengthen your lifespan and improve your quality of life.

Should You Continue to Invest After Retirement?

Written by Becky Wilcox

How much money is enough for retirement? Although that’s a common enough question, the answer may surprise you. Any number you come up with for your lifestyle will be something of an educated guess. In other words, it’s unlikely to be accurate. While it would be wonderful to establish a figure that defines a comfortable retirement, there is one problem with coming up with anything close to an accurate reckoning: the goal post keeps moving. Some variables that confound any calculation is that the rate of inflation, the cost of living, and confidence in the social security system keeps changing. In addition, with medical science making rapid advances every year, your chances of longevity keeps improving.

It’s unrealistic to simply hope to stockpile enough money to live out your retirement years. Rather than hoping you won’t outlive your money, it makes more sense to continue to generate passive income during your retirement years. Some investment vehicles that would be a good option for continuing to invest in your retirement years include precious metals, real estate investment trusts, dividend-paying stocks, US Treasury notes and bonds and Treasury inflation-protected securities.

Gold Bullion

When you invest in gold bullion, you’ll be joining a trend that has become increasingly popular during the last decade as the US debt has increased at an alarming rate. With the US national debt rising by an average of $3.8 billion a day and government borrowing at the rate of $5 billion every single business day, faith in the stability of the US dollar has been shaken. Consequently, gold is seen as a hedge against hard economic times.

People who are interested in gold bullion find it easy to buy and sell gold and appreciate the accuracy with which gold content can be verified after purchase. They believe that investing in gold has significant upsides in an uncertain economy.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

When you buy Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), you make money as a shareholder. REITs make money by purchasing property and then renting, leasing, and selling them. REITs are made available to the public through IPOs, or initial public offerings. After your purchase, you will be pleased to observe that 90% of a REIT’s taxable income is regularly distributed to shareholders like you.

Dividend-Paying Stocks

When you buy stocks, you will receive dividend payments. The best way to make money from your investments in stocks is to find companies that have developed an excellent reputation for increasing their dividend payments every year. These companies will continue to pump money into your bank account year after year. And, of course, as you add more shares to your portfolio, the more money you’ll make.

Municipal Bonds

When you buy municipal bonds, usually refer to as “munis,” you are lending a government entity money. A muni, then, is a debt obligation issued by a government entity to fund its diverse projects. In exchange for your loan contribution, you will receive a fixed number of interest payouts over a predetermined schedule.

U.S. Treasury Notes and Bonds

When you buy U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, you will be paid interest on a discount bond upon maturity. This is a bond that you can buy for less than its face value. You will then be paid the full value of your bond when it matures.

Treasury Inflated Protected Securities

When you buy Treasury inflated-protected securities, otherwise known as TIPS, you will benefit from inflation protection. The primary disadvantage of TIPS is that you will earn a lower interest rate than if you were to buy other types of government securities or if you were to buy credit securities. In addition, your tax bill will be higher.

In conclusion, you should continue to invest in your retirement years. Although you might expect to only spend a third of your retirement savings to cover your living expenses, this evaluation may not be accurate. In reality, much of your savings will be used to cover costs that you had not anticipated. For instance, the rise in the cost of medical expenses may be much higher than you could have predicted.

There is No Going Back

Fond memories of days gone by are a joy to replay in our mind’s eye. Whether reliving a particularly happy time in our life or recalling a rare perfect confluence of all things good, our past can be a riverbed of precious nuggets waiting to be mined. Occasionally memories might even outshine the life we currently live.Do you ever find yourself tempted to return to that special place packed with special memories to do it all again? It was so perfect – why not go back? You might stay at that same wonderful bed and breakfast, maybe even in the same room. Is that spectacular dining spot still around, perhaps with that identical table and oh-so-memorable view? Maybe you take again that same wandering path through hillside vineyards or find once more the hidden wine shop tucked inconspicuously into an obscure corner of the village. Though memories may be clear, the way back is not always.

About nine years ago my wife and I visited an off-the-beaten-path restaurant in Intragna, Switzerland. Our table was one of about fifteen spread comfortable across one large room. The food was incredible. I swear I can still taste the truffle pasta. Through the window we gazed upon a little valley speckled with brightly painted houses the air resonating with bell-clanging cows while in the distance lurked the ever present snow capped mountains. As the meal unfolded we witnessed the slow progression of a spectacular sunset painting the world a royal red before closing down the day. Service was friendly and nine years later I still remember my first sip of grappa from those foot long bottles they acrobatically poured at meal’s end.

The memory remains crystal clear, like we were just there. Talk about the perfect moment.

Last year we revisited this spot excited to relive our nostalgic experience. I think we were realistic – we did not expect such a perfect moment but were hoping for something close.  It turns out our memories far out shined current day reality. The experience was not bad it just was not a good as before.  The food was not quite as tasty, the service mediocre, and the whole vibe was a bit off. That certain magic was missing despite some near misses.

Messing with perfect memories can be a risky proposition. What are the chances the second time around will be better or even as good? You can safely assume not everything will be the same. And there is always the chance they will be worse, inferior, not worthy of special memory categorization at all. Imperfections might actually pollute that perfect picture painted years ago. Is it worth the risk?

My dad grew up in Sioux City, South Dakota. Over the years he shared many colorful stories of his life adventures, some comical, some heart rending, all near and dear to him. A few years ago he took my mom on a trip to show her his old stomping grounds. You would expect signs of “progress” over the interim fifty-plus years (aka traffic, sprawl, dirt roads converted to highways, all the wonderful ingredients of growth). Not only were most of the familiar landmarks gone, they could not even find where the old farmstead had been. Little was as it had been when dad was growing up. Fortunately they were able to hook up with my dad’s roommate from medical school so the trip was still a success. That said it was not what they had hoped.

Revisiting and attempting to relive a perfect moment is a noble pursuit. What fun it can be to plan and make arrangements to do it all over again. We do all we can to get it right, down to the smallest detail, and hope for the best. If things do not work out exactly as we hope it will not be due to any lack of trying.

Some may choose to play it safe – leave that perfect memory alone and savor it in blissful review. Break out a nice Pinot Noir, bring out those pictures and take an invigorating virtual stroll down memory lane. Ah but those were good times.

But if you decide to play it safe what about those potential new memories that will never be realized? Although our second Intragna excursion was not on par with the first, while on the trip we discovered the beauty of Thun where we took a lovely boat ride around the lake and wandered the historical streets in search of amazing pastries. Other new experiences included walking the castle wall in Lucerne overlooking the city and nearby mountains, a quick ferry across the Rhine in Basel, and a truly amazing walk among the vineyards along Lake Neuchatel. Now we can add these new special memories to our existing database.

Good memories are a wonderful thing. While we are still able to why not make as many of them as possible. Cheers 🙂

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