After all these years of work the time has finally come to retire! And it’s a time you want to make the most of right? We bet you’ve planned some things you’d like to do, you’ve likely saved and done some financial planning, but if you’re like many retirees, you haven’t really planned for your health. We’re not talking about healthcare costs, rather whether your current health habits will empower the retirement lifestyle you want or hinder it. If you’re an independent senior with some unhealthy habits, here’s what you can do to get back on track.

Healthy Habits and Life Expectancy

We all know that smoking, alcohol, exercise and diet are key components to your health. But, you may not realize how much of an effect they can have on your longevity. Research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has shown that projected life expectancy at age 50 increases by 14.0 years for women and 12.2 years for men when you follow all five of these habits:

  • Not smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Keeping a healthy body weight
  • Moderate alcohol consumption

Even if you’re past 50, keep in mind that it’s never too late to start. Healthy habits will always reap benefits.

Hidden Health Hazards

You may not think of spending time alone as a bad thing. And it most cases it isn’t. Spending more time by yourself is often a necessity as you age with approximately 29 percent of adults aged 65 and older living alone according to a 2010 Administration on Aging report.

However, when you become detached physically or psychologically, or are disconnected from family, friends and community it’s known as social isolation. The AARP Foundation states that more than 8 million adults aged 50 and older are affected and calls it a “growing health epidemic” in which the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to the dangers of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Social isolation is rarely caused by one thing, but risk factors include:

  • Living alone
  • Hearing/vision loss
  • Limited mobility
  • Limited transportation options
  • Being a caregiver for someone with a serious condition
  • Chronic health conditions 
  • Psychological or cognitive challenges
  • Life transitions such as retirement or the loss of a spouse

Some of the ways to keep connected are to utilize technology to stay in touch with friends and family when you can’t be together in-person, continuing hobbies, learning something new, volunteering and even reconnecting spiritually with nature, meditation or religion.

Healthy Living in Independent Senior Living

One way that you can make it easier to drop unhealthy habits is to move to independent senior living. We’re not talking a nursing home, rather today’s senior living communities are focused around keeping residents as active, independent and socially connected as possible. They offer monthly calendars filled with clubs, classes, events and outings. Plus, with numerous indoor and outdoor common areas, you still have plenty of space to host friends and family.

What’s more, independent senior living communities are often on sprawling campuses with lush green landscaping, beautifully decorated interiors, comfortable accommodations and amenities such as pools, fitness centers, restaurant-style dining and housekeeping and laundry services. It’s this convenient and carefree lifestyle that has more and more retirees moving to independent senior living while they are completely healthy!

For more information on how you can benefit from retirement in independent senior living, contact us today to schedule a visit →