By Janice Jaicks
The less we do for ourselves now, the less we are able to do for ourselves later. Let’s take a moment to explore the life of retirement versus the retirement home.
Though there are many days that I think I’d love someone to cook my meals for me, do my laundry, organize my bills, and plan out my daily agenda…in reality, I don’t! We often take for granted the pure pleasure of actually putting together a fabulous meal, taking a walk at our leisure, or visiting with family and friends. Having time to relax and do whatever you happen to feel like doing at any given moment is certainly a perk of being retired, but let’s think about what it would be like when those privileges are taken away.
What happens when we can no longer hop in the car and run down to the store for some milk, or go meet a friend for a cup of coffee? Driving is probably one of the biggest sources of independence. My mother recently had to give up her driver’s license, a frustrating and sad day for us all -- but we were glad that she made that decision on her own and we did not have to force her hand. Four months later, she is still upset about it. She used to drive to the grocery store, to the health club to work out, or to pick up her prescriptions. Now she has to depend on someone else to take her to do these errands and activities. She has to do it on “their time,” and does not have the freedom to make that decision on her own. We don’t even think about this type of freedom, do we?
And what about that weekly golf game or lunch outing that the retired life allows you to enjoy? What happens when doctor’s orders require you to stay indoors or ease up on physical activity? Or you just "don’t feel up to it" anymore?
Doing more for yourself NOW, while you are of sound mind and body to do so, is the best advice I can give you. Here are some things that may help you stay more physical and healthier longer, in addition to exercise and a healthy diet:
• Walk up and down stairs more than once to retrieve laundry or items
you need, instead of trying to grab everything in one swoop.
• Park farther away from the store instead of fighting for the closest spot.
• Find a new recipe online or in a cookbook that has several ingredients
and make it for your friends, family or neighbors.
• Try to meet someone new in your neighborhood this week.
• Once it cools down, pick an activity like the zoo, botanical gardens,
dinner theatre, etc. and make a point to go.
• Get a pet! A new dog might be a lot of work, but think about other pets
like a cat, bird or fish. A pet can be a wonderful addition to your life and
help with everything from mood enhancement to getting you up and
Keeping active physically and mentally will help preserve your independence during this “independence” month of July and long into your golden years.