I’ve recently come across the term “Aging Plan” in my reading about those wonderful retirement years. At first glance you might think that an aging plan is all about paperwork, and you would be partially right. An Aging Plan is all about having your will made out, having advance directives filed with your doctors and medical facilities. It’s about where you’ll live should your health fail and so many other proactive measures related to money and possessions and your family’s future. But, guess what? It’s also about how you plan to live the last twenty or thirty years of your life on a personal level.
Somewhere in your fifties you’ll begin to think about retirement and just what that might look like for you. Maybe you’ll be one who wants to work in your chosen career for as many years as you’re able, or maybe, like me, you’ll find that you want to spend those latter years in something entirely new. You get to choose and here are some of the things you can decide for yourself:
Your attitude: How will you face the sagging tummy and the “senior moments” that will surely come your way? Will you suffer in silence or will you develop a healthy sense of humor about the aging process? It’s your choice.
Your spiritual development: Your belief system will affect everything you decide about your latter years. What do you believe? Is there a higher power? Does it matter how you live this life and is there another one after?
Your life mission or purpose: Sometimes when we’re in the busy years of career and child-rearing we lose sight of anything other than paying the mortgage and preparing for the children’s education expenses. But what about your personal goals? How will your life be remembered and what will you give to others that sets you apart from the rest? What are your “life themes” and what causes your heart to race with anticipation? You’ll have time to accomplish these goals if you consider them now.
Grandparenting: What kind of grandparent do you want to be? Will you live just around the corner from the grandkids, be an involved long-distance grandparent or will circumstances limit this important role for you? There are decisions you can make and attitudes you can assume that will determine whether or not you’re a part of your grandkids’ lives.
Your Physical and Mental Fitness: It’s never too late to begin to shape up both physically and emotionally too. Are you a smoker? It’s time to quit before your latter years are minimized by poor health. Are you overweight, depressed, or otherwise unfit to live healthy and vibrant senior years? No one can make you choose wisely, but isn’t it time to make a fresh start?
Your Financial Security: There are many businesses and agencies ready to help you with your estate planning. Even if your income is modest, you’ll want to take a look at your financial picture and make some long-range plans. Having a clear plan will help you avoid unpleasant family situations in the future.
Your final arrangements: You probably know whether you want to be cremated or buried. You may have a clear picture of the way you want your final remembrances carried out. If so, now is the time to put those wishes into writing and convey your thoughts to your family.
I can remember when sixty sounded ancient. Now I’m playing tennis with seventy year olds and we’re all having a great time. We live in a day when our senior years can be active and enjoyable. We can travel, play all kinds of sports, enjoy our families and even take steps to make a difference by spend our time, energy and money on worthwhile causes. So get busy and make your own personalized Aging (make that Anti-aging) Plan. It’s worth doing.