The 80 Percent Rule in Retirement

If you do yoga, you might sometimes feel the urge to push yourself beyond what you find comfortable. You probably remember being able to easily complete a pose and hold it indefinitely not that long ago. Now when you attempt it, you may be surprised to feel an unfamiliar tightness or pain.

This is the time to listen to your body rather than a well-intentioned instructor who may try to push you too far. For those of us getting along in years, we may want to change our fitness mantra from “no pain, no gain” to “don’t overdo it.” Instead of pushing at 100 percent effort, we may now want to take it down a notch to 80 percent.

As we age it becomes important to accept we may not always be able to do everything we could when we were younger. What was easy at 20 can be challenging and sometimes even risky to attempt at 70. There will always be daredevils of all ages who push the limits of safety and sometimes common sense. But as a whole, along with aging comes an increased awareness and hopefully respect for the limitations that begin to creep into our lives.

The 80 percent rule can apply to more than just yoga. Here are some situations when it makes sense to slow down in retirement:

Exercise. During our second act, we are no longer the same 20-something who pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion during workouts. But we can still live full, exciting and eventful lives in retirement. By realizing we cannot do all we used to, we can still grab for life’s possibilities and avoid hurting ourselves.

Sports. Accepting limitations can be particularly difficult for ex-athletes. You can probably still picture yourself in your prime. Back then, you probably could have held your own in today’s world of insanity workouts. But today, unless you exhibit a bit more caution and restraint, it is not uncommon to go too far and hurt yourself. Equally bad, the recovery period for older physiques can stretch on far beyond what it took when younger.

Travel. Imagine finding yourself in a wonderful new international city with tourist attractions galore, but you only have two days before your itinerary takes you to your next destination. Rather than run yourself ragged, you may want to temper your pace. Pick a few of the sites you most want to visit and build your day around that. Throw in some time in a local cafe, maybe enjoy some time on a park bench admiring the flowers in bloom and walk the neighborhoods to experience their personality and local flavor, appreciating all they have to offer at a slower pace. You do not need to race around at 100 percent all the time to make the most of your travel experience.

Time commitment. Now that you have free time in retirement, you may find your presence in demand from family and friends. But if you commit every free moment to some activity or social event, you may find your days beginning to blur together. Making time to pursue your individual passions and interests can be an important ingredient to a successful retirement. Whether you decide the appropriate mix for you is 80 percent helping others and 20 percent relaxing or some other proportion, some formula that helps balance your time in retirement can add to the satisfaction you realize.

Work. Some retirees continue to find meaning and genuine satisfaction in the work they do. These lucky folks may choose to include work as part of their retirement life. However, for most retirees the ideal work arrangement is not a full-time endeavor. Consider cutting back your work hours or only taking on the projects you truly want to be part of.

From my blog for US News & World. Dave Bernard is the author of “I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be“. Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.

The 80 Percent Rule for Retirement

If you do yoga, you might sometimes feel the urge to push yourself beyond what you find comfortable. You probably remember being able to easily complete a pose and hold it indefinitely not that long ago. Now when you attempt it, you may be surprised to feel an unfamiliar tightness or pain.

This is the time to listen to your body rather than a well-intentioned instructor who may try to push you too far. For those of us getting along in years, we may want to change our fitness mantra from “no pain, no gain” to “don’t overdo it.” Instead of pushing at 100 percent effort, we may now want to take it down a notch to 80 percent.

As we age it becomes important to accept we may not always be able to do everything we could when we were younger. What was easy at 20 can be challenging and sometimes even risky to attempt at 70. There will always be daredevils of all ages who push the limits of safety and sometimes common sense. But as a whole, along with aging comes an increased awareness and hopefully respect for the limitations that begin to creep into our lives.

The 80 percent rule can apply to more than just yoga. Here are some situations when it makes sense to slow down in retirement:

Exercise. During our second act, we are no longer the same 20-something who pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion during workouts. But we can still live full, exciting and eventful lives in retirement. By realizing we cannot do all we used to, we can still grab for
life’s possibilities and avoid hurting ourselves.

Sports. Accepting limitations can be particularly difficult for ex-athletes. You can probably still picture yourself in your prime. Back then, you probably could have held your own in today’s world of insanity workouts. But today, unless you exhibit a bit more caution and restraint, it is not uncommon to go too far and hurt yourself. Equally bad, the recovery period for older physiques can stretch on far beyond what it took when younger.

Travel. Imagine finding yourself in a wonderful new international city with tourist attractions galore, but you only have two days before your itinerary takes you to your next destination. Rather than run yourself ragged, you may want to temper your pace. Pick a few of the sites you most want to visit and build your day around that. Throw in some time in a local cafe, maybe enjoy some time on a park bench admiring the flowers in bloom and walk the neighborhoods to experience their personality and local flavor, appreciating all they have to offer at a slower pace. You do not need to race around at 100 percent all the time to make the most of your travel experience.

Time commitment. Now that you have free time in retirement, you may find your presence in demand from family and friends. But if you commit every free moment to some activity or social event, you may find your days beginning to blur together. Making time to pursue your individual passions and interests can be an important ingredient to a successful retirement. Whether you decide the appropriate mix for you is 80 percent helping others and 20 percent relaxing or some other proportion, some formula that helps balance your time in retirement can add to the satisfaction you realize.

Work. Some retirees continue to find meaning and genuine satisfaction in the work they do. These lucky folks may choose to include work as part of their retirement life. However, for most retirees the ideal work arrangement is not a full-time endeavor. Consider cutting back your work hours or only taking on the projects you truly want to be part of.

From my blog on US News & World. Dave Bernard is the author of “I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be“. Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.

Where Will Boomers Spend Their Golden Years?

Post by Kate Antheil Boyd, VP of Content, Caring.com

Today in the U.S., there are 1.7 million nursing home beds — and about 76 million baby boomers. Even if boomers wanted to age in nursing homes (they don’t), there wouldn’t be enough room.

Then consider this generation’s growing life expectancy. First-wave boomers are 67 years old today and will likely reach age 82 to 85 (men and women, respectively).

We need more options.

Senior Living Redefined

Boomers dread nursing homes, it’s true. But senior living communities are another story. People are attracted to independent living, assisted living, and continuing care retirement communities because they’re ready to give up shoveling snow, cleaning gutters, and changing light bulbs. They want amenities: fine dining, social activities, interesting outings. They’re also eager for nearby help — assistance with health issues or activities of daily living — as their needs develop. If this appeals to you, start planning; it’s best to move in when you’re healthy and mobile enough to make friends and enjoy all the offerings.

Staying Home as Long as Possible

If senior living doesn’t interest you, new are trends emerging for those who want to stay home.

Universal Design

In years past, making a home more accessible to seniors meant adding a lot of clunky, ugly stuff. Universal design is changing all that. Instead of thinking about what some residents can’t do, universal design emphasizes simplicity and beauty for everyone.

Hallways and doors, for example: Yes, a wider hallway means a wheelchair can pass through. But the wider hallway is also helpful to the harried mom pushing a stroller. A push button pocket door means someone in a wheelchair won’t have to struggle with opening and closing the door; it’s also really handy if both your arms are full of groceries.

If you plan to stay in your home for years to come, look into the universal design options available for bathrooms, kitchens, and elsewhere. You’ll make your home more senior-friendly — and more beautiful.

Gadgets, Gizmos, and Services

You’d be amazed to learn of all the inventors out there, hard at work on new gadgets and gizmos to help you age in place. For example:

* Adaptable clothing that’s easy to get on and off, even if you have arthritis

* Remote controls with simpler buttons

* Medication reminders

* Home telephones with amplification systems

* Printers that don’t need a computer to print your e-mail

* Home-monitoring sensors that track every time you open a cabinet door, walk into a room, open a medicine bottle, or even sit on the toilet — and that report to your loved ones if your daily habits go awry

* Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) that let you call for help with the push of a button

* Canes and bifocals that are as much fashion statements as functional tools

* Meal services that bring you a weekly batch of *fresh*, delicious, nutritious prepared meals

The list could go on; the point is, great gadgets are here and more are coming. If you can imagine a way to more easily go about your daily business, Google it and see what’s been invented. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Care Co-Ops

Just because you’re home alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone. In more and more cities across the U.S., seniors are forming co-ops to coordinate aging-related services. For example, in the Beacon Hill Village of Boston, members enjoy discounts; organized outings; transportation; exercise classes; and a network of approved handymen, dog walkers, housekeepers, and home care providers.

In-Home Care Help

Home care services are another area of rapid growth. Many agencies move beyond medical care to offer companions who help with daily activities ranging from driving you to doctor appointments to helping with grocery shopping, preparing meals, and light housekeeping. Personal care assistants are another option — they typically have more training and can help with daily activities that require physical contact, like brushing teeth or shaving. If you’re in pretty good health but need occasional help, it’s an option worth considering.

We’re in for an interesting ride as this giant generation moves through the next chapter. Keep an eye out for new ideas to make aging easier for all.

Kate Antheil Boyd is VP of Content for Caring.com, the leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. To learn more about what makes a great assisted living community see: Top Assisted Living Trends; What You Can Expect From a Great Assisted Living Community.