Living the Retirement Life You Have Always Wanted
If you’re like most people, you’ve anticipated and dreamt about your retirement more than you’d care to admit. And now that it’s here, you have decades of free time to fulfill each of those dreams. Instead of wandering aimlessly through retirement, take time to analyze what you find most important, whether it means pursuing hobbies, contributing to a community or cause, socializing, leisure or continuing to work. Take time to plan for and work towards making your retirement years the best they can be – determine for yourself what it means to live the retirement lifestyle you’ve always wanted and make plans to fulfill your dreams.
Stay Physically Active
As you get older, it’s important to remain physically active so that you have the strength and endurance to enjoy the activities you choose to pursue now and for many years to come. Physical activity doesn’t mean you have to pound the pavement mile after mile or bench press hundreds of pounds, although if you enjoy those activities and your body is able, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing those activities. Regular exercise is an important component to successful aging, helping to control blood pressure, controlling weight and numerous other health aspects.
For some communities, such as The Brielle, wellness is integrated throughout the community. In fact, The Brielle’s trademarked wellness philosophy provides many ways to keep you moving, learning, connected and having fun. The Brielle provides a fully equipped therapy gym and offers a variety of rehabilitation services. Working out in a gym is only one of the many activities you can take part in to maintain physical fitness.
- Walking doesn’t require any special equipment other than a good pair of walking shoes and it offers numerous health benefits. New York has many parks that make a great place to enjoy a stroll.
- Tai Chi and Qi Gong are ancient Chinese practices that combine slow, deliberate movements and breathing exercises. They help with muscle strength, flexibility, balance and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. According to Harvard Health, Tai Chi is a great activity to enjoy for the rest of your life. Various Tai Chi and Qi Gong routines are available on YouTube, such as this routine.
- Yoga and Pilates are both great exercises for the older adult. Yoga is gentle with no jerky movements and Pilates strengthens your core while promoting flexibility. Although these can be learned using videos, form is very important and might best be learned with an instructor for best results and to prevent injury.
- Low impact aerobics routines are also great. Regular routines, such as this one, are readily available on YouTube, as well as chair aerobics routines.
- For those with joint issues, swimming and water aerobics are great because of the buoyancy that water provides, reducing the stress on load-bearing joints
Stay Mentally Active
Just as it’s important to stay physically active, it’s also important to maintain cognitive fitness. Cognitive stimulation keeps your brain fit, helping you to think more clearly and enabling you to express yourself clearly and concisely. It might even stave off dementia.
There are many things you can do to keep your brain fit. Our blog post, Increase Your Brain Power this Winter with These Exercises, offers a multitude of activities to keep your brain fit. Some activities for brain fitness include:
- Brain game activities, such as Picture Cross (also called PICROSS, nanograms, Hanjie and griddlers), Sudoku and Kakuro, can be done almost anywhere. Apps are available for use on phones, tablets and computers. Printed versions can also be used.
- Brain game websites abound on the internet. Examples include paid sites such as Lumosity and CogniFit as well as free sites such as MyHAPPYneuron, MindDabble and BrainMetrix.
- Learning a new language is particularly beneficial to the brain. Bilingualism has shown to increase analytical skills and cognitive function. There are many online programs available to help you learn a new language including Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Babbel.
Here at The Brielle, we understand the importance of brain health. It’s a key component of our wellness philosophy. Additionally, our memory care programming’s mission is adapted specifically to help residents with memory impairments thrive.
Never Stop Learning
Becoming a lifelong learner will constantly give your brain a workout while enjoying the journey of living and learning. There are so many ways you can pursue the love of learning. As mentioned previously, you can learn a new language. Even learning new hobbies, discussed later, will help you to keep your brain sharp. But there are many other ways as well. Some of them include:
- Purchase courses through Great Courses or sign up for their Plus program and get unlimited access to hundreds of courses and videos. They offer a wide selection of topics.
- There are Lifelong Learning Institutes throughout the country, all designed for persons over the age of 50
- The Open Education Database offers thousands of free courses. Although some are audio or video lectures only, others are full courses with a certificate of completion provided (no college credit, however). MIT and Yale both allow students to audit their classes online. Some classes are in real time while others are archived.
For many, retirement dreams include travel. Other than the traditional (with help from a travel agent) type of travel, many other modes are available. Some include:
- Adult camps, geared to the older adult, may include the traditional camp activities, but they don’t have to. Adult camps can include such activities as wine tasting and bird watching. Fantasy camps indulge the inner child, letting you be a cowboy or train for spaceflight. Some camps are adult only, while others can be shared with younger family members.
- Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) offers educational travel adventures all over the world. Road Scholar is not just for sightseeing. Travelers are encouraged to learn and interact with the locals. Some trips (indicated in their info) can involve strenuous activities and may not be applicable to people with limited mobility.
- ElderTreks offers small group exotic adventures for travelers aged 50 plus. ElderTreks offer tours all over the world, both land and sea adventures. Check out their Last Minute Departures and Discounted Departures for possible trip savings.
Work and Work-Related Activities
Many people who have retired do return to the workforce for one reason or another. Fortunately, there are lots of great jobs for retirees, both part- and full-time. RetirementJobs, a database of jobs geared to persons over the age of 50, may be just the place to locate your next job adventure. Perhaps you’d like to use your experience to help others. Encore helps plug retirees into nonprofit organizations, giving them meaningful work through an “encore” second career that gives back to the community.
Retirement can be the perfect time to pursue dreams of starting your own business. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to turn a hobby into a business, or you’ve had an idea for a product or service. Since it’s no longer your sole source of income, you can choose to follow your passion and see where it takes you. 10 Tips to Turn Your Hobby into a Business, on LegalZoom, offers advice that may be helpful. Beware of investing too much capital and try to get advice from someone whose business judgment you trust.
There are other work and work-related activities a retired person can pursue to fill the gap. Some of these include:
- Work as a consultant: Use your experience, skills and knowledge to your advantage. As a consultant, you sell these assets and abilities to individuals or companies. Consulting provides plenty of flexibility and free time but does require some skill in marketing. If you think this might be your cup of tea, LegalZoom offers some tips in their article, 5 Steps to Starting a Consulting Business, that may help you get started. Udemy offers many business courses including marketing.
- Start a ‘Mastermind Group’: In a mastermind group, peer-to-peer mentoring helps members solve problems. It’s a great asset to have as you begin a new business venture. Look through your address book and locate other intelligent and ingenious retirees to form your own mastermind group. Passion for Business offers great tips for creating and running a Mastermind group.
- Become a SCORE advisor: SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives) advisors offer advice to persons starting small businesses. Volunteers mentor by phone or in person, lead workshops and teach skills.
- Work with kids: Public schools offer many opportunities to retirees, even those without teaching degrees, such as crossing guards, bus drivers, teaching assistants and tutors. You can even set up your own tutoring business. Working with younger generations just might put a little spring into your step … after all, you have to keep up with them. Additionally, kids have a way of helping you see things differently.
- Get involved in local politics: You may not have had time when you were working, but as a retired person, you have a new opportunity to get involved. Local commissions, town councils and school boards are generally good places to start. The article 25 ways to be politically active should give you a few ideas.
Many retirees pursue volunteer opportunities. From reading to children to teaching English as a second language to helping build or repair a home, you’re sure to find a volunteer activity that interests you. Consider your interests or which organizations you’d like to help. VolunteerMatch and Idealist can help you find the volunteer activity that suits you. If you’re interested in helping Habitat for Humanity, they have one- or two-week stints in locations all over the world.
Retirement gives you more time to pursue hobbies, new and old. Whether you want to try quilting or knitting, play bridge or mah-jongg, enjoy a bit of gardening or woodworking, look for activities you enjoy and can get excited about. Hobbies provide enjoyment and give you a venue to share your passion with others. There is no way every single hobby could be mentioned, but some you may enjoy include:
- Playing a musical instrument, maybe even playing at open mic nights or performing gigs. Learn to play the guitar or piano. Udemy offers several classes.
- Take up writing. Writing is something that even people who are disabled or dealing with illness can take part in. Even those who find it difficult to write or type can take advantage of voice recognition software. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Sites, such as The Write Life, continuing education classes and workshops can help. In addition, The Great Courses offers several writing courses.
- Rediscover art. Take up drawing or painting. There are free lessons online at Craftsy and in the Google Play Store. Consider taking a class at a community college. Senior tuition waivers may be available to lower the cost of tuition. The Great Courses also offers a Learn to Draw course.
- How about photography? Sites like PhotographyCourse and Udemy can help you learn more. Photo and camera clubs are other great places to learn and to mingle with other photographers.
Retirement gives you the freedom to pursue whatever you desire. Here are a couple additional activities to consider:
- Create a family cookbook and pass your favorite recipes down to your grandkids. As you share the recipes, also document family memories. Print them out and have them bound at your local copy center to create a lasting memento for family members.
- Create your family tree. The National Genealogical Society offers tips on bringing family artifacts and historical documents into the tree to make it more meaningful. They also provide information where you can go to find information that goes back further than any living member can recall.
Retirement at The Brielle
Many people don’t “dream” about what they want for their everyday life during retirement, but they should. It’s everyday life that sets the tone for the best retirement, and that’s where The Brielle shines. The Brielle makes the everyday extraordinary. From our amenities and services, programs and recreation and multiple floor plan options, life at The Brielle is everything a person could want. We offer full service assisted living and memory care in a natural wooded oasis on Staten Island. Our wellness philosophy brings a holistic view to wellness and successful aging, helping residents live in a supportive environment while enjoying a balance of independence and assistance. Contact us to learn more.