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Planning Retirement Online

Into retirement: watching your health


November 2013

Retirement should be one of the most fulfilling periods of your life. But while hanging up your work clothes can be a librating experience, there are a few things you should start thinking about when it comes to your health. To give you a head-start we’ve put together a short guide.

Looking forward to retirement
Are you coming up to retirement age? The prospect of packing in work for good can raise a really conflicting range of emotions.

From elation at having all your time to yourself, to trepidation about how you will fill that time, there’s always going to be a lot going on when you think about your post-retirement lifestyle.

But did you know that alongside money worries, health is the thing that worries people most in retirement? And when you think about it this isn’t such a surprise as the ageing process does bring about changes to your body that can cause you problems. The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to prevent, treat or manage these conditions.

 


Common age-related illnesses
There are some conditions which are closely related to getting older, so they should be at the top of the watch-list after you retire. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the main ones:

 

 

  • Dementia: This term covers a whole raft of symptoms that include memory loss, changeable moods, and problems with reasoning and communication. The most common form of the condition is Alzheimer’s disease, which is far more common in older people.

  • Cardiovascular disease: After a long life of hard work, the heart can start to run into problems as you get older. Years of cholesterol can incrementally build up in the blood vessels, making the chances of heart disease increase as time goes by.

  • Osteoarthritis: This is one of the most common problems suffered by people as they get old, and affects around 80% of people aged over 50. It occurs when changes occur to the soft tissue in the joints, causing inflammation and stiffness. The effects it has on a sufferer varies widely from person to person.

  • Osteoporosis: As people age the amount of calcium in their bones can diminish, making them brittle and easier to break. This means that falls and tumbles which might have once been brushed off become more of a worry for people as they move into old age.

  • Type 2 Diabetes: This is a diet-related illness which has been on the rise in older people in recent years. Those suffering from the condition don’t produce enough insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels, which can cause thirst, tiredness, weight loss and other related symptoms.

 

Dealing with age related illness
With that list of potential problems the prospect of retirement could become rather daunting – but it needn’t be. There are steps you can take right now, not to mention when you retire, that can help you fight off the effects of age-related illness.
The first one, and arguably the most important, is staying active. If you can keep yourself fit then you are far less likely to suffer from any of the illnesses listed above – and that doesn’t mean going through gruelling work outs every day.

Take diabetes for example. A recent study revealed that by taking just a 15 minute walk after eating older people could prevent type 2 diabetes. If you can build in this level of low intensity exercise into your daily routine then you can up your fitness and be better prepared for getting older.

Going hand in hand with exercise is diet. Many conditions, including osteoporosis, are linked to the food you eat. Make sure you have a nutritionally balanced diet and you will give your body the fuel it needs to stay healthy throughout your retirement.

 


Coping with illness in retirement
Even if you keep a good diet and stay healthy there is still always a chance of developing one of the age related conditions but again, this is does not have to mean the worst. Medical treatments are getting better and better and conditions which were once severely debilitating can now be managed better than ever.

From community programmes designed to support people with illnesses to care homes which provide intensive treatment there are a range of great options which help people make the most out of their lives in spite of the illness they may be suffering.

Age-related illnesses are a legitimate concern for people as they get older and retire however that need not be the case. With a bit of knowledge, some steps in the right direction and the weight of modern medicine behind you, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a long and full retirement. After all, you’ve earned it.

How do you want to spend your retirement?



 

 


 

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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

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