Successful Retirement Life

There are eight keys that you should think about as you create this picture of your retirement life. This will give you a structure and foundation to build your plans.

1. Having a positive attitude towards towards your future

Your ability to ‘roll with the punches’ will dictate how you approach most areas of your future life. There are life changes that you can expect in retirement;, both positive and challenging. In fact, sociologists have identified at least six separate “life transitions” that will affect most people as they move through their retirement life (which is why we say that retirement isn’t one long life phase). Perhaps the greatest transition of all is the one that you see each time you look in a mirror and see yourself change . It is easy to forget that “getting older” is a physical issue, not a mental one. . As Satchel Page once asked, “How old would you be…if you didn’t know how old you are?”

2. A clear vision of the kind of life that you want.

When you think of the word ‘retirement’, what vision comes to mind? Is retirement a work issue for you, or maybe a financial and investment plan? Far too many pre retirees make the mistake of thinking that the financial plan and the retirement plan are the same thing–that the life part will take care of itself. This stage of your life deserves a more holistic look and plan than simply assuming that you are beginning a thirty-year long weekend. What do you want your life to look like? What changes do you anticipate along the way? How will you get the most out of each and every day? Those are important questions as you contemplate your move into this next phase of your life.

3. A healthy approach to mental and physical aging

It is one thing to say that you want to be positive about the future. If that is true for you, then healthy aging will be a major part of your retirement plans and lifestyle. Whiel the aging process is normal and affects us all in different ways, there are some things that we can all do to ensure that we “put time on our side” by looking after ourselves. Most people think that being healthy physically is the key to healthy aging. In retirement, healthy mental aging is just as important (and some would say even more so.) How much do you understand about the basic principles of healthy physical and mental aging? Are you doing something each and every day to nourish your need to use and expand your mind or to honor your body and do what you can to maintain your physical health?

4. A positive definition of ‘Work’

Your work is the thing that you do to contribute your skills, experience, labor or knowledge to society in some way. It is also a way for your to “self-actualize” and create positive stress in your life. Even when you leave the traditional workplace, you will still have a need to share your workplace strengths and transferable skills. If you have a positive attitude towards the workplace, then the desire to have a retirement free from any kind of work becomes irrelevant. A wise person once said, “If you love what you do, you never have to work again!” By the way, work doesn’t have to be full-time, it doesn’t have to be something you don’t like to do, and it doesn’t even have to be for pay! Many retirees use volunteering as a way to replace the things that they miss most about their previous work.

5. Nurturing family and personal relationships

Our close personal relationships define us, give us a purpose for living our lives and encourage us to create life goals. We all have a basic need to share our lives, experiences and life journey with those closest to us In retirement our friendships and close relationships may offer us the validation that we may have received in the workplace. Those relationships give us the opportunity to “connect” on many levels with someone close and to share ourselves. Psychologists have identified our desire to share ourselves as a basic human need. This need is often satisfied in the activities that we enjoy with our spouse or partner, friends and family.

Researchers have found that people in satisfying personal relationships have fewer illnesses and higher levels of good overall health. That’s the clinical rationale. In real life terms, having people close to you who will share your life and be there for you will not only add to your overall life enjoyment, but will also add years on to your life!

6. An active social network

As you get older, your social support network becomes increasingly important. You draw your social support network from a much broader social network. Successful retirees generally have robust social networks that provide them with friendship, fulfilling activities and life structure. As part of your retirement plan, you might want to think about the quality of the social network that you have today and your plans to build it. One of the lessons that we can learn about the aging process is that our social networks begin to shrink–if we aren’t continually adding to them. You can join clubs, meet new people and get out of the house to do new things. In retirement you are going to want a lot of people who you can count on and it makes good sense to continue to seek out new opportunities to socialize.

7. A balanced approach to leisure

Leisure is a fundamental human need. We use it to recharge our batteries, to act as a diversion in our lives, to create excitement, anticipation or simply to rest and contemplate. Things change, however, when leisure becomes the central focus of our lives. Leisure, by its very nature, loses its luster when it is the norm in our life rather than the diversion. For many retirees, the idea of leisure is associated with “not having to do anything”. In the end, a lack of stimulation affects our mental and emotional state and then ultimately our physical well being. There is a big difference between “time-filling” activities and “fulfilling” activities that we look forward to. In retirement, leisure activities often replace workplace functions to meet the basic needs that we have. Successful retirees balance their leisure over many different activities and take the opportunity to do new things and not get into a rut.

8. Maintaining ‘financial comfort’

Some retirees feel that a happy retirement is guaranteed by financial security. However, there is no price tag on successful retirement. As someone once said, “having a million dollars is NOT a retirement plan!” Financial comfort refers to being able to manage your life in a satisfying and fulfilling way using the financial resources that you have. If financial discomfort contributes to retirement stress, then your financial plan becomes a negative rather than a positive. The keys to achieving financial comfort are to have a clear understanding of the financial resources you have and the demands on your money that will come from the life you lead (both now and in the future). One good way to look at your financial situation in this next life phase is to think about the three “buckets” that you will have to keep filled in order to achieve financial comfort:

  • Your “essentials” bucket, which will pay for all of your basic needs
  • Your “lifestyle” bucket, which will fund those fun things that you dream of doing in retirement
  • Your “nest egg” bucket, which will fund any emergencies that may arise, provide you with a sense of security through good and challenging times and ultimately will form part of your legacy.

Staying Active as a Senior with Mesothelioma

Staying Active as a Senior with Mesothelioma

Maintaining physical fitness is a challenge for many seniors. Even seniors in good health struggle to keep up with regular exercise, often because life and health events interrupt attempts at maintaining a fitness routine.

Staying active is especially challenging for seniors coping with a serious disease like mesothelioma. This asbestos-related cancer most often grows around the lungs and greatly impairs lung function.

Mesothelioma tumors pressing against a lung cause breathing difficulties, which inhibit a person’s ability to withstand cardiovascular exercise.

The cancer can cause muscle and nerve pain in the arms, shoulder and chest, which can limit the ability to lift weights, use resistance bands and exercise on hard surfaces.

Fatigue and muscle loss are common among seniors with mesothelioma, which can make it difficult to engage in physical activities.

Despite the physical challenges of mesothelioma, seniors can maintain various levels of activity as they live with the cancer and undergo different treatments.

Maintaining physical activity can improve quality of life for people with mesothelioma, and it may improve certain mesothelioma symptoms, such as fatigue.

Tips to Stay Active While Living with Mesothelioma

People who are diagnosed in the early stages of mesothelioma and undergo multimodal treatment often live longer than three years with mesothelioma. Once these patients recover from surgery and chemotherapy, they can slowly begin to increase physical activity.

The majority is diagnosed in stage III or IV, and they live longer than one year. Some late-stage patients are living longer than three years by joining clinical trials to get access to innovative therapies that help to improve their prognosis.

Seniors with mesothelioma who find ways to remain physically active tend to feel better than those who don’t exercise. They often recover from cancer treatments quicker and some experience fewer or reduced side effects.

The following tips may help people with mesothelioma understand the kinds of activity they can safely do and how much is appropriate. It is important to discuss your physical activity with your oncologist to make sure you’re doing a healthy amount of exercise.

  • Strenuous and time-consuming exercise routines are not advised for seniors with mesothelioma.
  • Try gentle activities that focus on range of motion movements such as yoga, qigong and active stretching.
  • Light impact cardio exercise, such as walking, biking and swimming, is generally safe for cancer patients in otherwise good health.
  • If cardio exercise is challenging because of breathing difficulty or another physical limitation, try chair yoga, lifting one- or two-pound weights or a simple range of motion movements.
  • Start with five to 10 minutes of exercise and slowly work your way up to 30 minutes. It’s OK if you can only withstand five or 10 minutes, and don’t progress to 30 minutes. A little exercise is better than none.
  • Gently warm up and cool down your body with simple movements and stretches, or by walking, before and after aerobic exercise.
  • People who are recovering from surgery or chemotherapy can stretch in bed and slowly work their way up to walking around the house.
  • Physical therapy helps patients rehabilitate muscles and bodily function after surgery. The exercises are tailored to each patient’s unique patterns of muscle weakness and tension.

Innovative and targeted therapies are helping people to live longer with mesothelioma than in the past. There is motivation to maintain physical fitness. It will help you feel better in your body, boost energy and will help you recover from anticancer treatment.

If you need help staying active, reach out to family and friends for support. Ask a neighbor to take walks with you, or see if a family member will try yoga with you. Also, consider asking your oncologist about resources at your cancer center because some offer free fitness classes to seniors and cancer patients.

 

Sources:

NIH Senior Health. (n.d.). Exercise: How to stay active. Retrieved from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseandphysicalactivityhowtostayactive/makeexerciseahabit/01.html

NIH Senior Health. (n.d.). Exercise: Exercises to try. Retrieved from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseandphysicalactivityexercisestotry/enduranceexercises/01.html

Gilbert, H. (n.d.). Exercise guidelines for seniors and cancer patients. Retrieved from https://www.caring.com/articles/exercise-guidelines-seniors-cancer-patients

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