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How to Make the Most Out of Your Retirement

Keys to a good retirement | a group of four happy seniors

What does your ideal retirement look like? For many older adults, a fulfilling retirement likely includes a combination of factors. Although individual preferences may differ, most would agree that good health, a sense of purpose, and overall happiness are key ingredients for a “good retirement.”

Sounds easy enough—until you consider that those things don’t just grow on trees. Even the best-laid retirement plans can go awry without a clear direction for what to do after retirement. Your health, happiness, and sense of purpose all have to be nurtured and tended to regularly.

Fortunately, each person can learn how to foster their purpose, health, and happiness because the rewards are worth it. Regular physical activity boosts brain health, lowers disease risk, and helps manage weight gain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research shows that older adults who have a sense of purpose are happier and healthier, both mentally and physically.

If your next question is, “Where do I begin?” then read on!

Put Your Health First

Your health should always come first on the list. As the old saying goes, “If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.” And no matter how healthy you eat or how much you exercise, there is always room for improvement. But how?

  • Make Exercise Fun Again.
    Go for a walk in nature instead of on a treadmill. Go hiking on a trail instead of on a sidewalk. Listen to music, a podcast, or an audiobook. Consider getting a dog. Dogs need lots of walks, and they’re a great way to meet people. You won’t believe how everyone will want to know your new best friend!
  • Do A Health Check On Your Health Insurance.
    Annually re-evaluate your supplemental Medicare coverage and any other policies you may have. If you have a long-term care policy, make sure you understand its benefits and take advantage of what it has to offer.
  • Cut Out The Stuff You Know Is Bad For You.
    If you smoke, it’s not too late to quit. Reduce the number of alcoholic drinks you consume in a day. 
  • Practice Mindfulness.
    Stress can be a killer—literally—and life can be stressful even in retirement. So consider taking up yoga, tai chi, meditation, or breathing exercises. You can also create a daily gratitude journal to reflect on all the positive things that happened in your day. Adding a daily practice of mindfulness will help boost your overall well-being.

Purposefully Look For Purpose

People who retire can sometimes lose their identities because they were so tied to their careers. They may suddenly feel irrelevant and adrift. They go from waking up one morning to go to work to waking up to… retiree. Here are a few tips on how to overcome identity loss in retirement.      

  • Get A Retirement Coach.
    It’s really no different than seeking out a career coach or a financial planner. What is a retirement coach? A retirement coach assists you in preparing for the transition to your new life stage, guiding you through planning and preparations for the time when your career comes to a close.
  • Or Don’t End Your Career At All.
    Do you love your career field? Don’t leave it. Volunteer instead, cut back to part-time, become a mentor, or embark on a similar job in the same field.
  • Keep Learning For The Fun Of It.
    Did you have a great time in college? Go back to school. Take culinary classes at your local community college. Enroll in courses at a university – many allow nontraditional students to audit a class, which usually costs less, and you don’t have to earn a grade. There are also senior living communities popping up around the country that are located on or near university campuses or that are affiliated with colleges.
  • Learn To Play An Instrument.
    The old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” no longer holds up, according to multiple studies. Learning new things improves brain function. So learn to play the trumpet, try your hand at watercolors or pottery, or learn how to make pasta. If you have curiosity and passion, tap into them. That’s where you’ll find your Ikigai or purpose.

Happy Is As Happy Does

Let’s be honest: Aging can be a challenge. Your health changes, and your friends and family may no longer live close by. Aging is a part of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept it gracefully. The secret is to take control of what you can – and that includes taking control of your own happiness.

  • Stay Socially Connected.
    Humans are social creatures. Being around others will make you happy, and being isolated can lead to anxiety and depression. As David, a Sequoia Living resident, discovered: “When I moved in, the not-so-obvious part to me was ‘community.’ The Sequoias is not just an apartment or a place to live. It is a place to meet with other people and discuss, learn, exchange ideas, and create friendships.” Scheduled a visit to one of our four Bay Area Life Plan Communities to start creating social connections and new friends. 
  • Create Your Legacy.
    This may mean monetarily, such as a scholarship fund, a land donation, or a private foundation, but it can also mean writing your memoir. Knowing you’ve left behind a meaningful, positive legacy for others can bring you a sense of happiness.

    Learn to identify your legacy from TV celebrity Matt Paxton from PBS’s Legacy List. Reserve your spot to attend the live event at The Sequoias San Francisco on April 25th.
  • It’s OK to Look Back
    It’s OK (and healthy) to take a moment and reflect on what you have accomplished in life. Perhaps you have had a satisfying career, raised children who have become happy adults, or left things just a bit better than how you found them. At the same time, it’s equally valuable to look ahead with optimism. Your future holds great potential and exciting possibilities as you enter this new chapter.

Health, Happiness, And Purpose In One Place

You may not realize this, but a Life Plan Community like Sequoia Living communities are ideal places to discover healthy opportunities, find your purpose, and live happily. But you won’t know how much your life could change for the better until you come for a visit and see it for yourself. Meet other retirees and connect with residents. To learn more about a Sequoia Living Bay Area retirement community, select one below or contact us online!

Experience Community and Marin’s Charm

Flourish in a Dynamic Cosmopolitan Lifestyle

Enjoy Elevated Suburban Living Centrally Located

Experience Serene Grounds on a 42-Acre Community