Retirement Planning – Challenges for Seniors

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by Adnil Ekkerb

Boy, if you thought there were challenges facing you after your senior year of high school or even college, you haven’t seen anything yet. You have lived long enough to have experienced a series of life changing adversities and you undoubtedly carry around a bit of emotional baggage, but now is the time to let it go and come to terms with the rest of your life.

Numerous changes can alter your life plans and making adjustments isn’t as easy as you might have thought. At some point you may have to face a loss of independence, decreased stamina, decreased mobility and the fact that you might not be able to take care of yourself. In addition to all of these blockbusters you have to adjust to your changing looks, chronic diseases, decreasing visual and hearing acuity, and memory loss issues. Getting older is not for sissies, but it can still be a long and satisfying journey if you are willing to put in some hard work. Health maintenance and retirement planning can help you work through most of these issues.

Aging and retirement are inevitable but it is never too late to learn how to be a survivor. You can’t hide behind Botox and denial forever. You need to acknowledge that your life will change and develop a realistic attitude in order to handle it with grace and dignity. I like that word dignity, but what does it mean? Self respect and self worth are definitions offered in the dictionary but I think I like the spin given it by Dr House in the popular television series better. House tells his patient who wants to be allowed to die with dignity that there is no dignity in death. There is dignity in life. The dignity is in learning how to cope because this is as good as it gets.

In the excellent book “Retirement Rx,” by Frederick Fraunfelder M.D. The doctor offers a prescription for living a happy, fulfilling rest of your life. His formula revolves around developing and maintaining an independent spirit, cultivating insight, getting help, reframing your life experiences and creating a life plan. That almost sounds like going back to school doesn’t it?

What does that mean? Even if surrounded by family and friends, you need to develop your own sense of self determination and self sufficiency. Resilient people can take care of themselves. Learn how to enjoy your own company, take responsibility for your actions, and resist letting others do thing for you if you can do them yourself. Be in charge of your own life. Do not waste precious time mulling over things that you don’t have any control over. You are still “you” and your spirit is still strong, even if your body teeters on the edge at times.

Cultivate insight? Sounds very profound doesn’t it? What it means is stop being so self-centered. Stop moaning “why me,” and stop thinking that everyone is against you. Once you stop feeling that everything is about you, you can regain some control and this will give you more important things to focus on.

Get help? It is good that you are focusing on remaining independent but that doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for help. This isn’t the same as leaning on others in a needy fashion. Strong people are not afraid to talk about personal challenges with friends or with a professional who can help them think things through.

Reframe your life experiences. Look at your strength and achievements with an objective eye. You made it this far so you must have something good going for you. Make a list of your interests and accomplishments and use them to create a new life plan.

Make that life plan and refer to it often. Focus on your strengths and your own uniqueness. It is time to come out from under the shadow of others and become your own person. You have spent your whole life doing for others; perhaps now it is time to formulate a plan that is about you, and what you want to do with the rest of your life.

The best advice is to concentrate on simplifying your life. Ignore stressful tasks, annoying chores, and doing things that you don’t really like to do. Associate with people who you enjoy and who make you feel great. You are great. Please visit me at my Smart Senior blog and share your experiences and ideas for becoming the person you want to be. These could very well be the best years of your life.

The author blogs at Smart Senior, a site that reviews products and ideas to make independent living safer and easier. She also maintains Fitness After 50.

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One Response to Retirement Planning – Challenges for Seniors

  1. Mary says:

    Great advice. I plan to look for “Retirement Rx”. It sounds like it might be a good read.

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