For many of us, retirement may be filled with transitions that can be unsettling and often involves reevaluating and pondering a new approach to daily life.
Preparing financially is the most common topic when talking about retirement. As important as it is to have those ducks in a row, enjoying this time requires thoughtful attention to your well-being too.
Identify Your Vision.
Envision your ideal retirement lifestyle—where you want to live, how much you want to travel, what activities you will engage in, and plan a budget for this vision.
Consider how you’ll stay busy and socially connected.
Loneliness and lack of structure can catch us by surprise when transitioning into retirement. During our working days our jobs provided built-in discipline and focus, as well as social interaction. As you explore the possibilities, consider some of these suggestions:
Volunteer work – Finding an organization or two to get involved with can be an excellent way to contribute your energy and build connections in a way that makes a positive difference in your community.
A great source for finding volunteer opportunities in our area is the Monandnock RSVP Volunteer Center monadnockvolunteercenter.org. Community members can learn about volunteering at Cheshire Medical Center by calling (603) 354-5499.
Hobbies and social events – During your working years, you probably pursued hobbies and social engagements whenever you had the chance. Retirement can offer more time to enjoy these activities.
The Keene Senior Center is a friendly place for connection and great information source for local senior activities and events. thekeeneseniorcenter.org.
Part-time work – Just because you have retired from one career, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to stop working altogether. In fact, many people enjoy the mental and financial benefits of being able to work a reduced schedule.
Continued education – Enroll in classes at a local college or community center. Many of these classes offer discounts to seniors, and you will likely find it enjoyable to study new subjects.
Keene Sate College’s Cheshire Academy for Lifelong Learning (CALL) is an educational program aimed at seniors and/or retired folks with classes led by members, community experts, and Keene State faculty. CALL session information can be found online at keene.edu/academics/conted/call where you can also sign up for the CALL newsletter to receive information about upcoming programs.
Look for ways to combine taking care of your physical health with opportunities for social connection.
Regular exercise and healthy eating are important to your overall health and in retirement, you may find you have more time to combine exercise and dining with social connections.
Combining physical and mental activities is also a great idea. Studies have found that people who take up ballroom dancing, for instance, show improved cognitive abilities. As always, talk with your primary care provider when developing a personal exercise and nutrition plan.
With the Senior Passport Discount Meal Program in the Art Nichols Café at Cheshire Medical Center community members and patients 60 years and older can sign up for a meal card that allows them to purchase an entrée with two sides and a small beverage* for $4.95. For more information and to sign up for a Senior Passport meal card, call (603) 354-5460.
Manage Your Family’s Expectations
It’s important to think about how your retirement will affect your family. This is especially true if you have grandchildren or, at the other end of the spectrum, elderly parents. When it comes to grandchildren, some children just assume that their now-retired parents would love to spend as much time as possible with their grandchildren and will always be “on call” as babysitters. Conversely, some children don’t want to impose on their parents for help with grandchildren, even if the grandparents would like to be more involved. Whatever your preferences, make them known to your children right from the start and revisit the topic as time goes by.
On Thursday, Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Tom Stearns, Ph.D, Cheshire Medical Center Resilient Living Team, will host a two-session talk, Leaning into Retirement: Resilience and Well-being Tools for the Journey, at Cheshire Medical Center’s Auditorium A and B.
Stearns will identify the challenges and core components of resilience and well-being and how they apply to retirement; and develop a well-being plan and identify the resources necessary for successful implementation.
“It will focus on the idea that living, doing and being well can be created at any time in life, including during retirement,” he said. “When you look at who ages well, it’s those whose lives have meaning and purpose. In retirement you have to re-define that purpose and use those skills in a different way.”
Reserve your place by calling (603) 354-5460 or visiting health-wellness.cheshiremed.org/events.