Tuesday, February 4, 2014

4 Must-Haves for the Twilight Years

"Preparation for old age should begin not later than one's teens. A life which is empty of purpose until 65 will not suddenly become filled on retirement." BY Dwight L. Moody

The onset of old age can be a daunting time for many individuals. Typically, there are lot of fears, concerns, apprehensions, uncertainties, questions... about life, future, relationships, finances, meaning and purpose of life...

And yet, there are some people who age gracefully .. embrace this phase .. and are so happy and positive that they enjoy these years the BEST.. And then there are those who find these the HARDEST years of their life

So what are those 4 Must-Haves for Old Age:
1) Purpose of Life
This is probably the single most important dimension to leading a healthy and happy life in the twilight years - "Purpose". Your purpose should be something which makes you want to wake up from bed each day and take on the world with zeal and enthusiasm. It can anything dear to your heart and more importantly, it should translate into a set of activities that you can do on a daily basis to achieve your purpose.

For e.g.: A family friend I know decided at the age of 65 that it was his purpose to do his bit and best for Forest Conservation. His sheer age, the work involved or the investment capital required did not deter him to embark on an entrepreneurial initiative. Today, he is 70 and tells me that the best decision he took in life was this venture. Another family friend always wanted to publish a book. Today, he is working on his first book at the age of 75. And he looks forward to writing everyday! And many grandparents I know take it upon themselves to impart all the knowledge and wisdom of their life to their grandchildren and make it the purpose of their life!
Take-Away: 
If you consider yourself old and don't really have a purpose for life, find one!
If you know someone who is old and does not really have a purpose for life, help them figure one!

2) Social Community Network
An active community network is one of the key differentiators between people who are happier in their old age and the grumpy old people you know. And this community network includes family, friends, neighbors, children, social media.. It can be anyone who you feel like sharing with and who listens to you.. At old age, most people really want a ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and a hug to feel warm and special..
Take-Away: 
If you consider yourself old and don't really have a community of friends and family,invest in one today
If you know someone who is old and does not really have a community of friends and family, give then a ear, a shoulder or a hug ; and brighten their day :)

3) Desire to Learn
Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age.” BY Aristotle
Learning is probably one of the most important catalysts which can take you through the journey of life. And while learning is integral to our life in the initial few years.. As you get older, you think that you know it all.. Actively learning things which you really want to learn is one of the most important aspects to a fulfilling life. And what can you learn at old age - You may wonder? Well anything you want  - I know of people who learned baking at 80, who learned how to operate a computer at 70, who learned how to drive a car at 65, who earned a college degree at 60, who learned how to do stock trading at 67, who learned how to dance at 63, who learned how to show that they care at 70, who learned how to show that they love at 90 :).. So yes! Keep the thirst for learning alive... And let it burn during old age.. And one will be happier and healthier...

Take-Away: 
If you consider yourself old and are not really learning anything new,start today
If you know someone who is old and is not really learning, get them to start today!

4)  Financial Security
Financial Security is an absolute necessity for old age. With inflating costs of living, inflating costs of healthcare and uncertainties of what the future holds in store for you it is worthwhile to plan, save and invest wisely for your old age. Most people live their "today" spending everything they have on the "luxuries and vanities" of life, or spend everything they have on their children / families and friends. While it is good to live well today and provide for your loved one's, it is also essential to think about your own old age and have a financial plan to support you during old age. For many people, financial security came from unplanned unexpected sources (For e.g.: An old investment which appreciated to give significant returns during old age). But it is imperative to think, plan and invest for your own financial security during old age.
Take-Away: 
If you consider yourself old , take stock of your financial portfolio today. Save and Invest in whatever options and avenues are available based on your risk appetite. And do get a medical insurance today (in case you don't have it)
And if you're not old yet - You will get there some day, so now is a good time to start thinking and planning for your financial security during old age !

Originally published here ; Edited and re-published here

1 comment:

  1. Very valid points. I was just thinking about this the other day. I think all the ideas are important for one's well being, but an important one has to be to keep learning. That's the only way they'll stay fresh and be more open minded, unlike some narrow minded seniors we see around us. Such young at heart elders are a pleasure to be around, for kids and adults alike :)

    ReplyDelete