By the year 2030, all Baby Boomers will be age 65 or older. With the impending mass retirement looming over an America already reeling from the economical effects of post-COVID inflation and the war in Ukraine (among other things!), most Boomers and their families are preoccupied with one question: will we have enough to retire comfortably? It’s a reasonable concern. The great retirement is going to cause a huge gap in the workforce and, quite inevitably, more inflation. What’s more, a recent study found that around 27% of Baby Boomers actually have nothing saved for retirement.
Still, economic hardships are just one piece of the retirement puzzle Boomers will face throughout this decade and beyond. Largely overshadowed by fiscal fears, the wellness of our aging population is arguably more vulnerable than ever. A whopping one-fourth of adults ages 65 and over are considered socially isolated, diabetes and heart disease still plague the population, and an astounding 1 in 3 seniors fall each year (1 in 5 resulting in serious injuries).
About 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each month. Let’s get proactive and discuss some essential wellness tips for those who are nearing retirement.
Social wellness is the ability to make and maintain meaningful personal connections as well as having a genuine sense of belonging. Something you may not have fully realized in your earlier years is that our careers tend to largely contribute to our social wellness. But, it makes sense – 40 hours or more every week for a big chunk of our lives is spent interacting with coworkers, clients, and more. So, what happens when we retire? Is all of that just…done?
Not necessarily. That is, if you continue making it a point to keep in touch with friends, neighbors, family, and yes, former coworkers.
It may feel easier said than done – so, here are a few ideas to stay social:
Retiring is a major life change, and along with the benefits, for some retirees, it can also bring about anxiety, stress, or even depression. Instead of feeling relaxed and fulfilled, one might feel bored or have a loss of self-confidence. Many retirees grieve the loss of their old life or simply find it hard to get themselves into a new groove.
Whether you’re already retired and struggling with the changes or nearing retirement and feeling anxious about it all, there are healthy ways you can adjust:
Fostering spiritual wellness means connecting inside and out with your beliefs and values and leading a purpose-driven life. For many, this begins with their faith in God or a higher power. For some, it’s achieving self-transcendence through humility and connecting to that which is greater than oneself. If you’re nearing retirement and finding yourself asking the question, what’s the point of all this?, then here are a few suggestions to boost your spiritual health:
Think for a moment about how you’ve always introduced yourself. It probably sounded something like:
“I’m Joe and I’m an architect.”
Okay, maybe not quite in such a robotic way, but you get the point. The fact of the matter is that on average, 90,000 hours of our lives are spent at work. That means that what we do inevitably becomes a really large part of who we are and how we perceive ourselves. Those thought processes don’t just shut off when retirement rolls around. There is a great deal of personal gratification and enrichment ensued from our work lives and as creatures of habit, we still crave those feelings whether we’re 36, 65, or 95! Here are a couple of ways to foster a work-life-balance when you are no longer working:
Learning and creating should be a lifelong journey. Finding ways to expand knowledge and stay creative are absolutely imperative for mental health. Did you know that learning keeps your brain cells working at optimum levels? According to recent research, continuing to learn new things may actually slow cognitive and memory decline in aging adults. Here are some ways to support your intellectual health and wellness throughout retirement:
It’s no secret that enjoying nutritious meals is important; a good variety of foods in your diet will help reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. And, these days we know mental health is just as important as eating right and exercising. But, sometimes these healthy choices aren’t the easiest or most convenient. Even so, physical wellness remains vital to maintain. How can you age healthily? Here are a couple of tips that you can start working into your routines today:
Clean air and safe drinking water are important to human health. But – that’s not exactly the type of environmental wellness we’re talking about here. Did you know that your personal environment has an effect on your overall mood and behaviors? A clean and positive space for living, working, and playing can reduce stress and promote healthy habits. A few examples Boomers can follow to create and maintain environmental wellness are:
The Senior Resource Podcast Network produces podcasts on the most important topics in retirement and 55+ lifestyle today, including Medicare, senior housing, aging in place, caregiving, and more! Hosts often feature vetted professionals, share tips and tricks, and inspire and challenge listeners to lead thoughtful empowered lives.
Originally published April 20, 2023