Tips for a Happy Retirement by Kent Elliot

I’d like to introduce a new contributor to the Will to Heal Project, Kent Elliot. Kent Elliot is a retired architect with a passion for dogs, DIY,
and universal design. After a stroke left him with mobility issues, he thought he would need to move out of his home and into an assisted living community. But, using his experience as an architect and with a little creativity, he was able to successfully remodel his family home instead. The relief he felt has inspired him to help others do the same. He created to share what he’s learned.


How to Avoid Common Senior Stressors and Keep Smiling in Retirement

For many seniors, getting older holds the promise of golden years. For other seniors, getting to those golden years can involve dealing with a few stressors along the way. While retirement can be a time for relaxation and calm, it can also be a time of worry for some older adults. So, if you’re a senior preparing for retirement, here are some of the most common senior stressors you need to be aware of, as well as positive ways to handle them. 

Caring for Yourself or Your Home 

We tend to take our daily life and all of the trivial tasks involved for granted. As we get older, however, it can become increasingly difficult to carry out even the simplest tasks involved in the care of our homes or ourselves. When downsizing is not enough to resolve these issues, considering independent living may be a reasonable solution. Unlike assisted living facilities, these senior communities are set up so that older adults can leave the stress of caring for a larger home behind, while benefiting from having socialization opportunities with new neighbors. 

Independent living communities are geared toward providing social activities and perks to older adults who can still care for themselves, although each community comes with different amenities and different costs. Nationally, independent living can run from $1,500 to $10,000 per month, so make sure you research and tour your top choices to see which is right for your needs and your budget. Many seniors choose to pay for independent living by selling their homes. How much you earn from a sale will depend on where you live, how much equity you have in your home, and any fees and commissions you’ll have to pay. 

Maintaining a smaller home can leave you with more time to take better care of yourself. This could mean going for a daily walk, preparing nutritious meals, or doing something you enjoy. Meditating can also be a wonderful form of self-care; guided meditations like those from Will to Heal can eliminate negativity from your life and provide you with a greater sense of peace.

Staying Connected to Friends and Family

As you get older, you may find it challenging to feel truly connected to your friends and even your loved ones. Adult children can move away and friends can drift apart as well, which can leave you vulnerable to the effects of senior isolation. More than mere loneliness, isolation can cause feelings of depression and anxiety among seniors, as well as chronic physical health issues. Being isolated from others can also lead to earlier death, so it’s important that you create a plan that will allow you to stay connected to the people who matter the most in your life.

For long-distance children and family members, that could be as easy as downloading video chat apps to your tablet or smartphone. Apps like Skype allow you to talk and see your family and friends, which can help curb feelings of loneliness. You can also seek support via counseling or talk therapy, to help you deal with feelings of depression or anxiety. Fortunately, for those individuals who reside in the United States, Medicare Part B will help cover mental health services such as visits to counselors, clinical psychologists, and psychotherapists.

Maintaining Financial Stability in Retirement

Are you saving enough for retirement? If you’re unsure how much you need to stay comfortable and financially stable during your golden years, you could be setting yourself up for serious stress. You can use online calculators or even a financial advisor to figure out how much you need in your retirement savings, but if you are closer to your goal retirement age, making up any difference can be much more difficult. Financial stress can be a common issue for older adults because it can be so challenging to determine how much to save and how to save for retirement. If you find yourself facing this sort of stress, know that there are ways you can supplement and stretch your retirement income, even if it means finding a part-time job. If you have previous experience, you can easily generate an income by consulting or tutoring. 

You don’t have to let stress and concerns about aging interfere with your retirement, especially if you take the right steps to mitigate those worries ahead of time. Most senior stress is manageable with the right help and resources. Make sure you have yours lined up before you retire so that you can really enjoy your golden years.

Kent Elliot