Updated 03 December 2013

Your retirement - a healthy mindset

Arthur Case, retirement living expert and General Manager of Evergreen Lifestyles, shares his views on adopting a positive mindset in retirement.

Arthur Case, retirement living expert and General Manager of Evergreen Lifestyles, provider of a number of award-winning retirement lifestyle villages located throughout South Africa, shares his views on adopting a positive mindset in retirement.

“There is a lot we can learn from those who have made the transition to the retirement lifestyle they’ve always wanted.  Some would call themselves ‘happily retired’, whilst others wouldn’t even admit to being retired at all!  That’s perhaps the point. This next phase of your life can be about living the kind of life that you decide.  The key is: let your lifestyle, and your mindset towards it, be your definition of retirement.”

“Looking at it simply; many of us are likely to live longer, healthier lives than ever before. So the question is: how will you make the most of these years to live a life of fulfillment, contribution and leave a legacy of your choice? “

“Here are some simple keys to assist in developing the right mindset for your retirement years:”

A healthy attitude towards the future
Your ability to be optimistic, open and flexible about the future will dictate how you approach most areas of your future life. It is easy to forget that “getting older” is a physical issue, not a mental one. As Satchel Page once asked, “How old would you be…if you didn’t know how old you are?”

A clear vision for your life ahead
Retirement deserves a more holistic look and plan than simply assuming that you are beginning a thirty-year long weekend. What do you want your life to look like? What changes do you anticipate ? How will you get the most out of each and every day? Those are important questions as you contemplate your move into this next phase of your life.

A healthy approach to mental and physical aging
It is one thing to say that you want to be positive about the future. If that is true for you, then healthy aging will be a major part of your retirement plans and lifestyle. Are you doing something each and every day to nourish your need to use and expand your mind or to honour your body and do what you can to maintain your physical health?

A positive definition of ‘work’
Your work is the thing that you do to contribute your skills, experience, labour or knowledge to society in some way. Even when you leave the traditional workplace, you may still have a need to share your workplace strengths and transferable skills. If you have a positive attitude towards the workplace, then the desire to have a retirement free from any kind of work becomes irrelevant.

Nurturing family and personal relationships
Our close personal relationships define us, provide us with a purpose for living our lives and encourage us to create life goals. We all have a basic need to share our lives, experiences and life journey with those closest to us. In retirement, our friendships and close relationships offer us the validation that we may have received in the workplace. Researchers have found that people in satisfying personal relationships have fewer illnesses and higher levels of good overall mental and physical health. That’s the clinical rationale. In real life terms, having people close to you who will share your life and be there for you will not only add to your overall life enjoyment, but will also add years on to your life!

An active social network
I’ve always noted that successful retirees generally have robust social networks that provide them with friendship, fulfilling activities and life structure. One of the lessons that we can learn about the aging process is that our social networks begin to shrink – if we aren’t continually adding to them. We should all look to work on broadening our social networks and involvement as we age.

A balanced approach to leisure
Leisure is a fundamental human need, used to recharge our batteries, to act as a diversion in our lives, to create excitement, anticipation or simply to rest and contemplate. Things change, however, when leisure becomes the central focus of our lives. Leisure, by its very nature, loses its luster when it is the norm in our life rather than the diversion. For many retirees, the idea of leisure is associated with “not having to do anything”. Successful retirees balance their leisure over many different activities and take the opportunity to do new things and not ‘get into a rut’.

Maintaining ‘financial comfort’
Divide your financial needs into three ‘buckets’. Determine the following: your ‘essentials’ bucket, which will pay for all of your basic needs. Your ‘lifestyle’ bucket, which will fund those fun things that you dream of in retirement. Your ‘nest egg’ bucket, which will fund any emergencies that may arise and provide you with a sense of security.

“At Evergreen Lifestyle villages many of our residents have happily embraced their transitions to this new life chapter, living fulfilling and enjoyable lives in a wide range of supportive and picturesque environments.”


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