Turning 65 was a happy but frightful time for me. I retired, signed up for Medicare, started to receive Social Security and began to think I was getting old. The thought of sitting at home, doing nothing and aging wasn’t pleasant, so I did some research.
This article will give a unique look into redefining what it means to be old. If you’re curious about leading a great life at the age 65 and beyond, read on.
Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. —Deuteronomy 34:7
Is 65 the New 45?
In 1935 Congress established a national retirement age of 65, Americans had a lifespan of 61.7 years. So now we have a lifespan of 86.7, giving us another 20 years – a long time to achieve and experience things that you didn’t have time for in your younger days.
Today’s retirees are fit, strong, mentally active and have a wealth of experience that far outweighs the younger generation. Many of us are financially stable, giving the luxury of choice and time to spend as we wish. As such, we are able to contribute to society, community, business and family in many valuable, rich and meaningful ways.
The ‘Autumn’ of our lives, starting at age 65 should be our richest season. We have the freedom to choose how to spend our time and we have the power to make it happen. Reinventing yourself is a fabulous and liberating concept. Thinking this way is optimistic but is not always easy. It does require constant planning and belief that your life is far from ‘sitting in a rocking chair’ and it is time to get up and go!
I thought, I need to reinvent myself. I want every day of life to be wonderful, fascinating, interesting, creative. And what am I gonna do to make that happen? —Karen Allen
Consider that, earlier in your life, many of your choices were often made out of necessity or were out of your control. Did you spend your working days cooped up in an office? How about getting involved in outdoor, nature or wild-life adventures. Were you stuck with a technical career when your dream was to create, paint and sketch? Were you a run-off-your-feet Mum whose every minute was spent bringing up your children? Well, they are now grown up and you can choose to do the things that thrill you.
Reinventing yourself is feasible and is both motivating and inspiring. At this age, you are not accountable to anyone – dress as you will, go where you wish, do what you love and don’t let anyone stop you.
At an older age, relocation may be a good idea, especially if you live in difficult circumstances. Very cold climates are not conducive to optimum health, especially for the elderly. Perhaps you could consider moving to a place with a warmer climate. Warmer climates are known to have beneficial effects on many health issues. Do some research and find out which States retirees are choosing. They often have many other benefits like a lower cost of living, more culture, recreational inspired activities, clubs, events and facilities geared towards elderly people.
Changing States is not the only way to relocate. If you still live in your large family home, perhaps it is time to downscale? Don’t see this as a negative move. A new, small home can be more warm, cozy and friendly than a large, unkempt massive abode. A tiny garden is easy to maintain or choose no garden at all if you don’t have green fingers. How about a fabulous high-rise view rather than looking at your neighbor’s untidy backyard. How about a new home that is a short walk or drive away from your favorite library or restaurant? You have a choice.
If you have grown-up children who have moved away, perhaps now is the time to consider moving closer to them. Being with children and grandchildren is the most rewarding way to spend time and keep you active, alert and busy. As one gets older, support systems are needed and your close family is usually the first call.
If you are financially stable and not overly concerned about earning extra money, volunteering is one of the most rewarding activities that you can get involved in. You can choose the charity, business or institute to get involved with. The range is vast and exciting, anything from animals to education, religious activities, non-profit organizations and neighborhood events require volunteers. Volunteers can work indoors or outdoors – choose what you love. These positions are mostly part-time, and you can decide how much time you want to dedicate. Many retirees enjoy volunteering for a political campaign or political action committee for a cause they believe in. In many cases, the costs of travel and refreshments are reimbursed, so you won’t have to fund these activities yourself.
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Volunteering has many benefits, it helps keep you active and in touch with the world. You give back to the community that you have lived in for years. You can learn new skills by choosing to work in an environment that interests you. You can pass on your existing skills to the younger generation at community centers, schools and other educational facilities. Whether you are a desk-bound or an active hands-on person, there is a position for all types of skills.
Surprising, according to a 2015 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study over 11 Million individuals over the age of 65 performed unpaid volunteer activities for an organization.
Volunteering gives you a reason to get up and do something – knowing that there are people out there who are relying on you. And, remember it is not a drudge Monday to Friday job. Most volunteer positions are part-time, perhaps one or two days a week, so you will never feel that you are back in the 9-to-5 rat race.
Consider a Second Careers
Now that you have retired, you wake up and face the day with nothing to do! This can be a daunting and demotivating experience for many, especially those who led an active and pressurized working life. Perhaps you are not financially ready to retire and still need an income.
Considering a second career is a real possibility at age 65. Many companies welcome the experience and knowledge of elderly employees. You could do a course and change careers totally, doing something you only dreamt of in your younger years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) seniors, 55 years and older in the US workforce are increasing.
By 2024, BLS projects that the labor force will grow to about 164 million people. That number includes about 41 million people who will be ages 55 and older—of whom about 13 million are expected to be ages 65 and older.
Approach your local recruitment agency or approach companies directly, it may take a bit of hunting but there are many businesses where your skills will be much appreciated.
A nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project finds that a majority (54%) of workers ages 65 and older say the main reason they work is that they want to. Just 17% say the main reason is that they need the paycheck. An additional 27% say they’re motivated by a mix of desire and need.
A second career can keep you occupied for another five years – more than enough time to earn and save money and get mentally and financially prepared for a relaxing and fulfilling retirement.
Become an Entrepreneur
After spending your life working for a boss, perhaps it now time to work for yourself. Do you have a lifelong dream to open a business that motivates and inspires you? Now is the time to do it. Becoming an entrepreneur at age 65 is perfectly feasible. Do you know that Colonel Sanders of the iconic Kentucky Fried Chicken brand, only started his business at 65 with $87 and became a multi-millionaire? Now, we are not all going to make a fortune but doing something you love leads to positive outcomes.
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” —John A. Shedd
Perhaps you want to start a home baking or sewing business. Perhaps you want to make beautiful furniture or help people fill out their tax forms. Whatever it is, the business is yours to set-up, organize and run. You are the boss! Becoming an entrepreneur is a challenge and a great experience. Start small and give great service. Word of mouth referrals is the best way to get new business and to get known. Hand out business cards at local community events, schools and church groups. People will call when they need your services, helping your business to grow
BLS data show that workers in older age groups have higher rates of self-employment than do workers in younger groups
Habits Affecting Biological Age
Keeping healthy and fit is a key factor when you get to age 65. You really need to pay attention and work at caring for your health. Illness is the most debilitating issue and can dramatically change your retirement years for the worse.
Exercise is a must at all ages and especially when you get older. You can walk, swim or run on your own or with a group. Joining a gym or fitness club is a great idea. You will be given a proper routine and a trainer will ensure that the exercises are done properly so as not to cause damage. If you prefer something like yoga or Pilates, there are many schools that offer classes for the elderly. How about something way out and fun – like belly dancing?
Diet is always important. Eat healthily and live well. Keep a check on your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Your local doctor can do a general check-up and warn you about potential problems. Eating fresh fruit and veggies and cutting down on salt and sugar can only improve your health and keep you biologically younger. There is no reason now to skip meals, make sure you eat three meals a day.
3) Stress Levels
Now that you are out of the rat-race, having a heart attack is not an option and there is no need for stress. Relax and calm down. You have the time and means. Stressing about retiring is the worst thing you can do. Check your blood pressure levels and ensure that they are under control. Do exercise and eat healthily and try to avoid stressful situations where you can. The less stress you have, the happier and younger you feel.
4) Alcohol Consumption
We all know that excessive amounts of alcohol are dangerous at any age. If you don’t drink at all, that is great. If you enjoy having a glass of wine now again – fine. Enjoy a glass of that vintage from the Napa Valley over dinner or sip a great whiskey while watching the sunset. Alcohol in moderation is not a problem.
5) Level of education
Your level of education plays an important factor in biological aging. People who are educated stay mentally young for longer. Studies show that less educated people tend to get lower-paid jobs, work in more tedious or strenuous conditions and generally have more health problems. Keep your mind active and keep learning. There are a plethora of courses for elderly people where you can study any topic that interests you. Keep your mind alert and young and your body will follow.
If you don’t know how to work a computer – now is the time to learn. Keeping in touch with friends and family, exploring and discovering new things online is a great way to keep your mind young, challenged and occupied.
6) Amount of Sleep
Sleeping properly, comfortably and for enough hours per day is a sure way of staying healthy and biologically young. Sleeping 7 hours per night at age 65 plus is adequate and keeps you mentally and physically alert. Make sure you create an environment conducive to sleeping well. Don’t sleep with the TV on. Skip that cup of coffee or glass of wine before bedtime. Ensure that your room is dark and quiet, comfortable and clutter-free.
The great thing about retirement is that you do not need to get up at the crack of dawn with an alarm clock blasting in your ears. So relax and enjoy. If you are having problems sleeping, consult your local GP.
Relationships in old age can become extremely stressful, especially if a loved one passes away or becomes ill. Treasure the time you have with a lifelong spouse and enjoy every moment.
If you are alone, forming friendships is a must. Join a club or local community center where you can interact with people and keep your mind busy. Don’t spend time on forming relationships with people who cause you stress or make you unhappy. You are old enough to know what kind of people you want to associate with.
“We are what we repeatedly do.” – Aristotle.
Pets in old age can become wonderful friends and companions. Many elderly people have beloved dogs and cats, birds and even more exotic creatures that keep them company. Visit your local SPCA and rescue a dog who will become a lifelong friend.
When Does Old Age Really Begin?
Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years. —Ausonius
In a nutshell – Old Age begins when you decide it should. Some people are ancient at 65 and others are starting a new and exciting phase of their lives. There are many octogenarians and even centenarians who are active and living a fun-filled life. It is all in the mind and for you to decide.
Seniors Big Night Out
What age do you start losing height? People typically lose almost one-half inch (about 1 centimeter) every 10 years after age 40.
What age is considered middle age? According to the Oxford English Dictionary middle age is between 45 and 65
What age is considered geriatric? Most people do not need geriatrics care until age 70 or75.
What age is considered over the hill? Urban Dictionary states – Reaching the average mid-point in life, which is age 40.