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Aging Well in Your Golden Years

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The golden years of life should be a time of comfort, fulfillment, and peace. However, new challenges arise as one ages, causing one to question even the smallest things, and worry about maintaining one’s health and vitality, finances, legal documents, and will. These concerns are common and often plague more retired folks, but finding the right answers will help alleviate stress and significantly impact quality of life.

Healthy habits

The significance of maintaining physical and mental well-being in the later years of life cannot be overstated. Engaging in a healthy hobby is a fundamental aspect of this.

Neal Feinberg, founder of Florida Indoor Racquet Club, notes the incredible benefits of tennis, a sport that combines physical activity with social interaction. “The social contact alone of seniors playing in regular weekly groups has been scientifically proven to prolong life,” he explains. “When you add to that the physical health benefits of improved cardiovascular health, increased aerobic stamina, and improved muscle tone, a routine of weekly tennis combines physical, emotional, and social benefits that make it a superpower life extender for seniors.”

Feinberg emphasizes the adaptability of indoor tennis to meet individual physical capabilities, sharing his experience working with seniors facing various mobility challenges, including stroke victims and those with Parkinson’s. “Seniors move only one or two steps for each shot. I can feed 50 or 100 balls to a 90-year-old without ever placing them at risk,” he says. This adaptability makes tennis a viable option for seniors of varying physical abilities.

Moreover, safety and understanding one’s limits are crucial in any physical activity, especially for seniors. Feinberg highlights the importance of controlled exercise and instructor guidance.

“The instructor must carefully control the lesson physically and verbally by feeding within the player’s reach,” Feinberg notes. “If a ball goes too far, say, ‘Let that one go.’ To players, I say, ‘Know your limits!’” This approach ensures a balance between beneficial activity and safety.

However, an often overlooked healthy habit is to consider one’s environment, as maintaining a healthy living environment is critical for seniors. Innovations like those from Ecosense, which specializes in detecting and monitoring radon, are at the forefront of ensuring environmental safety.

“Radon is a harmful and often undetected gas that can pose significant health risks,” says Insoo Park, Founder and CEO of Ecosense, “particularly to the elderly.” Park also explained in a recent article that “DIY radon testing kits offer homeowners a convenient option to assess radon levels, typically employing charcoal canisters that are left exposed to radon concentrations for a few days. After retrieval, these canisters are sent to a lab, and results are typically available in about two weeks. Furthermore, test results using charcoal test kits can only provide one overall average radon reading, regardless of the test period. Most conventional digital monitors also are incapable of real-time tracking of radon fluctuations, and can only provide 24-hour average readings…Homeowners are advised to use both methods—starting with their own testing and continuous monitoring, followed by a professional inspection to confirm results with high-grade detectors. Ongoing monitoring is essential, especially after mitigation, as radon levels can change, highlighting the importance of continuous vigilance for a complete understanding of radon exposure.”

As one ages, health risks become more and more prominent. “The cost of healthcare becomes the largest spending item as a necessity and drives everything else,” says Gloria Kolb, CEO and co-founder of Elitone. “Urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, mobility issues, and muscle weakness all accelerate, but for women, it begins after menopause.”

There are also mental health factors to consider in one’s old age. According to Kolb, “Loneliness, depression, frustration from keeping up with necessary technology, and a lack of income” all weigh in on one’s overall health.

Mental health practitioner and life coach Asha Tarry reaffirms that older adults often face unique mental health challenges. “The regenerative years have shown that statistically, older people have a high chance of experiencing suicidality and chronic mental illness,” she asserts. “The sad thing is it often goes undetected due to multiple factors, including limited and infrequent contact with the outside world and skillful healthcare providers.”

“Adults need to continue to be mentally stimulated as they age, and that comes with learning new skills and socializing with others,” Tarry adds. Tarry suggests that continuing to work (if one’s job is fulfilling or enjoyable) or living in a retirement community are ways for older people to combat some of these feelings of alienation and loneliness, as well as other risk factors for their mental health.

Another important solution to mental health concerns for older adults could be improved sleep. As Dawn Ericson, MD, Chief Medical Officer of AgeRejuvination explains, “Some of the best ways to stay healthy as you age is to get adequate sleep — usually 7-8 hours or at least enough that you don’t feel tired upon waking. Too little sleep can cause fatigue, but too much sleep can as well. Additionally, remaining active doesn’t need to be high-impact, high-energy expenditure exercises, but simply continuous regular movement with a variety of postures and recruitment of many different muscles. Brisk walking, biking, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, stretching, Tai Chi, and the activities of daily living are great examples to start with. Weight-bearing exercises and exercises of the mind are also important in stimulating the brain to form new neural connections, decreasing the risk of conditions like dementia.”

Personal finance

Navigating the financial landscape in one’s later years is a task that requires careful planning and strategic thinking. As seniors often rely on fixed incomes such as pensions, social security, or dividends from past investments, understanding how to manage and grow these resources becomes paramount.

Vijay Marolia is the Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Regal Point Capital Management. Marolia’s extensive experience in hedge fund and private equity investment strategies points to the value of understanding broader economic trends and how they impact different investment sectors. “We all would appreciate it if the cost of living didn’t continue to climb at the same rate that it has been,” he says, “but the solution is not to search for the ‘free lunch’ — no such thing exists, so don’t sign anything after a seminar. It’s tempting to get carried away by visualizing the best-case scenario, but instead of focusing on the rewards, it’s much more helpful to understand the risks by thinking about not only the monetary or quantitative aspects of investing but also the qualitative ones. Your legacy is more than a financial plan — it’s how you will be remembered.”

Further emphasizing the need for a well-rounded approach to investment is Peter Eberle, President and Chief Investment Officer of Castle Funds, who sheds light on the potential of investments in digital currencies. His diverse background in managing finances across various sectors offers a glimpse into the importance of diversification in investment.

“Our approach helps investors spread their investments across different areas to mitigate the risk of loss of purchasing power due to inflation by diversifying investments across non-correlated assets,” Eberle states. “This strategy is particularly crucial for those who no longer have the cushion of a regular salary but instead rely on their nest egg.”

Elderly side hustles

Gone are the days when retirement meant a complete cessation of work. Today, more and more seniors are finding joy and opportunity in pursuing side hustles that supplement their income and keep them engaged and active, with roughly 24 percent of Baby Boomers saying they have a side hustle.

One compelling advocate for this approach is Steve Davis, CEO of Total Wealth Academy. With his extensive experience in real estate and financial education, Davis highlights the viability of real estate investment as a reliable side hustle for seniors.

“Real estate investment, while complex, can offer substantial returns,” Davis says. “However, thorough education and research are key to success in this field.” He emphasizes that real estate is as much a financial venture as it is a learning opportunity, allowing seniors to apply and expand their knowledge and skills.

The appeal of side hustles for the elderly goes beyond mere financial gains, as these ventures can offer a sense of purpose and connection often lost in retirement. Whether transforming a hobby into a small business, offering consultancy services in a field of expertise, or diving into new areas like online tutoring or crafting, the possibilities are diverse and adaptable to individual interests and abilities.

Employment rights and insurance

Navigating the intricacies of employment rights and insurance is a critical aspect of elderly care, especially for those seniors who choose to remain in the workforce or need to understand their insurance options. Lauren Winans, CEO and Principal HR Consultant at Next Level Benefits, brings valuable insights into this arena.

“For seniors who are still working, understanding employment rights is crucial in safeguarding against potential workplace discrimination and ensuring fair treatment and accommodations,” Winans says. “As the workforce landscape evolves, older employees may face unique challenges, and being informed about their rights becomes an empowering tool.”

Insurance, particularly health and retirement insurance, is another critical area in which seniors must be well informed. Understanding the nuances of various insurance policies, including Medicare and supplemental health plans, can significantly impact a senior’s financial and physical well-being.

Winans’ experience in navigating the complexities of these systems sheds light on the importance of making informed decisions regarding insurance coverage. With the proper information and planning, seniors can secure the most comprehensive and cost-effective coverage for their needs.

“We often talk with your clients about the benefits of whole-life coverage,” shares Heidi Moore, an insurance expert. “One of the biggest benefits is the utilization of the cash that accumulates in the account within the policy itself. This is absolutely a living benefit and utilizing it to extend your starting social security, annuitizing the amount in the cash account for a lifelong paycheck, using the built-up cash to pay for long-term care needs, or buying your dream home are all things you can do with it.”

While whole-life coverage is more expensive compared to term life, Moore states, “It’s because of these living benefits and the permanent life insurance coverage that makes it so appealing for so many clients despite how much more expensive it is.”

Wills and estate planning

Legal preparation, including will creation and estate planning, is a crucial aspect of responsible aging. This planning ensures that seniors’ legacies and wishes are honored and that their families are protected from potential legal complications.

John Wood, the founder of Grant Park Legal Advisors LLC, specializes in probate, estate planning, and business law. His expertise underlines the significance of having a well-structured will, regardless of the individual’s financial status or familial circumstances.

“A will isn’t just a document for those with substantial assets,” Wood explains, “it’s a fundamental tool for anyone who wishes to have a say in how their possessions, no matter how modest, are handled after their death.”

Beyond the distribution of assets, a will can also provide clear instructions regarding end-of-life care, funeral arrangements, and the guardianship of dependents, including pets. It’s a comprehensive tool that can ease the burden on family members during a time of grief by removing uncertainties and potential conflicts.

Furthermore, estate planning extends beyond creating a will to include setting up trusts, planning for taxes, and ensuring that beneficiaries are clearly named in policies and accounts. This comprehensive approach not only protects the assets but also helps minimize the legal hurdles and financial burdens that might otherwise fall on the family.

The journey through one’s senior years can be as dynamic and fulfilling as any other stage of life. With the right approach and resources, it can be a time of growth, exploration, and peace.

The insights and advice from various experts in their fields serve as a guide to navigating these years with confidence. The key is to stay informed, proactive, and open to the myriad of possibilities that life continues to offer, ensuring that the golden years are not just a period of looking back but also of looking forward with optimism and grace.

Disclaimer: Investing and Crypto
Investing involves risk and your investment may lose value. Past performance gives no indication of future results. These statements do not constitute and cannot replace investment advice.

Members of the editorial and news staff of Woman's World were not involved in the creation of this content.

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