Sooner than you realize, you will join the ranks of retired persons. What are you doing to ensure the best possible retirement for yourself?
"Retirement" is not an unfamiliar term to most of you in gerontological nursing. You often help clients adapt to changes that occur in their retirement years. Less often, perhaps, do you think of your own aging and subsequent retirement; and yet by planning, you can enhance the quality of your retirement life. Most events in life don't just happen, they result from action taken by people - yourself and others.
What would you like to have happen in the major areas of your life when you retire? Relationships, fiancés, living arrangements, health concerns, and leisure time are not completely new areas of concern, but what you do about them in retirement may be completely different because of the changes of aging.
Relationships change as you lose contact with colleagues in the workplace, and with family and friends due to geographical location and death. How will you go about developing new friendships to offset these losses?
Financial planning for retirement should be started by the age of 40, however, options are still available if you are over 40. Perhaps the best way to start financial planning is to request a statement of your social security earnings from the Social Security Administration. A booklet is available for estimating your social security income. At age 60, you can request an estimate of your social security benefits that is fairly accurate and helpful for more specific planning. Also determine what retirement income you may be entitled to through your place of employment. Tax-sheltered savings, such as an individual retirement account (IRAJ, may be important for your financial planning. Borrowing money to open an IRA may be advisable. Certificates of deposit are an additional means of building retirement income. Cumulative interest on these certificates can add to your savings and eventually to retirement income. Seek advice, if necessary, on financial planning. Implementing a systematic plan of savings can add substantially to a financial base for retirement income.
What kind of insurance do you have? Will insurance coverage be available through your employer when you retire? If so, who will pay the premiums? Will you need additional insurance, if so, what type and how much? Older persons can be sources of information about insurance coverage. Investigating insurance options can help you make informed decisions about your particular needs for your later years.
Your level of wellness will become an ever more important stewardship as you grow older. What changes in lifestyle, such as stopping smoking, eating a balanced diet, and exercising, might contribute toward a higher level of wellness for you? What specific objectives can you establish to help you achieve your goal of improving your health?
Have you thought about living arrangements for retirement? What type of housing are you likely to need? Do you plan to continue living in your present location, or do you expect to relocate? If you plan to relocate, what type of services will you need- health care, transportation, social outlets? Will these services be available in the area you have selected? If you plan to relocate, how will you establish a viable social network?
You are likely to have more leisure time in retirement than you are accustomed to; how do you plan to use the time? Keep in mind that exercising the mind is as important as exercising the body. Developing an interest in passive and active types of hobbies is a good idea for the later years. Crossword and jigsaw puzzles are passive types of activities. Self-education projects, continuing education programs, and elderhostel programs are good outlets. Walking is one of the more active types of activity. Swimming and golfing are also active types of leisure time hobbies.
One of the questions you are likely to ask yourself in retirement is "Why am I here?" Purpose in life is essential to well-being. Continuing formulation of your philosophy of life may help you gain perspective on and direction for life in the later years.
Gerontological nurses, like their clients, grow older. It is important that those of you in this area of nursing take some thought of your own future. You can begin to shape your dreams of the future. Don't delay act today Make it happen!