There's more to the picture

The good news is, we’re living longer. Unfortunately for many, that’s also the bad news. 

As life expectancies increase, so do the incidences of chronic and incurable progressive diseases. Medical science can keep us alive, but hasn’t discovered how to keep us healthy if we aren’t willing to care for ourselves.

Many of the health challenges we face today are preventable.

As the ability to treat and cure diseases caused by ageing advance, so does the understanding of the steps needed to prevent them in the first place. 

It’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself, but the earlier you begin, the less painful the experience is likely to be. The older you get, the harder it is to implement changes into your life and the more your body will rebel. 

The four areas on which to focus as we approach or continue in retirement are: 

  • Lifestyle
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Socialization
  • Financial

The actions taken today will pay-off when we need them most: When we are unable to go back and do it again.

Adopt and maintain healthy habits and positive lifestyles

  • Don’t smoke
  • One drink a day
  • Exercise regularly: Weights, cardio and balance activities
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat more natural foods and less packaged stuff: Watch your salt, sugars and fats
  • Get regular check-ups
  • Avoid falls and head injuries (wear your helmet when you bike and ski)
  • Avoid medications that cause confusion

Stay intellectually stimulated, and stay social

  • Continue to pursue your hobbies and interests
  • Strengthen your family relationships
  • Resolve personal conflicts
  • Take courses, keep learning 
  • Know your physical limitations, ask for help
  • Don’t let your limitations define you

Be wise with your money 

  • Plan before you retire
  • Manage your investments and assets with care, don’t speculate 
  • Have adequate insurance coverage
  • Decide in advance what your living arrangements will be in the future

Maintain your dignity and your health

  • Find a doctor whose practice focuses on the care of older adults
  • If relocating, make sure the healthcare system you are adopting is elder-care friendly
  • Tell your family and physicians your health goals
  • Consider long-term care insurance, if you can afford it
  • Have an advance-care directive in writing

Money and directives aside, the foundation to a healthy retirement is built on maintaining your health and taking all the steps you can today to prevent injury and disease in the future. 

It’s no different than your car, if you want your vehicle to last a long time, you need to take the same steps you would with your body: Put good things into it, service it regularly, repair what you can, don’t push it beyond its limits, and don’t take stupid chances.  

The only difference - we can always buy a new car.

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About the Author

Jeff Stathopulos, CIM, CFP, Portfolio Manager

Jeff is an advisor and partner with The Navigation Team at Scotia Wealth Management.

He lives in Kelowna with his wife Tanya, their two university bound daughters and their canine kids.

You can contact Jeff by email at [email protected]

Website:  www.yourlifeyourplan.ca

The Navigation Team

Scotia Wealth Management

This column is for information purposes only. It is recommended that individuals consult with their financial advisor before acting on any information contained in this article. The opinions stated are those of the author and not necessarily those of Scotia Capital Inc. or The Bank of Nova Scotia. ScotiaMcLeod is a division of Scotia Capital Inc., Member Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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