When you retire, that’s usually the time when you’re already relieved of most of your expenses. If you own your house, chances are your mortgage is fully paid. The same goes for your car loan. The only bills you have to worry about are home maintenance and utilities. Those are manageable and barely hurt your retirement income.
But there’s one major expense many American seniors can’t escape from: healthcare. U.S. households led by an adult over 65 years old spend $6,833 on healthcare on average. That translates to 13.6% of the overall spending of senior-led households. Following housing and transportation, healthcare is the third-biggest spending category among these households.
The average yearly healthcare spending of all U.S. households is $5,193. Thus, that’s only 8.3% of the overall spending across all households.
Because of the rising costs of healthcare for the elderly, many of them avail retirement financial services to help them manage their finances. But is it really normal for an elder to spend so much on healthcare? Will everyone take maintenance medicines in their old age? If you have to exhaust your resources on medicines and treatments, then our golden years don’t sound so golden anymore.
The good news is that you can still stay healthy as you get older. Old age isn’t a reason for your health to decline. Sure, health is related to age. But if you take care of yourself well in your younger years, you can find yourself still agile and sharp in your 80s.
Living Healthily without Spending Much
People of all ages can live a healthy lifestyle without spending a ton. It’s all in the food you eat and the mindset you adopt. A healthy lifestyle isn’t always expensive, contrary to popular belief. Below are some health tips for seniors on a budget:
Cook your own meals
Cooking is a great way for seniors to stay active. The belief that seniors are unfit to cook because of their decreased mobility is a myth. The truth is, your mobility decreases because you’re not active anymore or because of an injury. But if you’re otherwise healthy, you can keep being active.
Seniors can still go on grocery trips, too. To avoid getting sidetracked by the unhealthy options in the store, list down the ingredients you’d need for a healthy recipe. The list will help you stay focused while grocery shopping. If you make this a routine, your food expenses will significantly drop.
Again, seniors only lose their mobility if they stop being active. As opposed to most claims, aging doesn’t automatically cause your health to decline. Hence, you’re still totally capable of having an active lifestyle. If some athletes in their 70s can still compete at the Olympics and win, you can definitely commit to an exercise routine, too.
Biking, walking, swimming, and other low-impact aerobic activities are popular for seniors. But if you can lift some weights or play a sport, go for it. The important thing is to be careful and not overexert yourself.
Exercise Your Brain
Your body isn’t the only one that should be exercising. Your brain needs to be active, too. An active mind is your weapon against memory loss. There’s another popular belief that seniors are destined to suffer from memory loss eventually. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you don’t have any preexisting conditions, your memory will only become hazy if you don’t keep it sharp.
Read books, do puzzles, and find new hobbies. You can even learn a new skill. Don’t forget to get enough sleep as well. A well-rested brain can prolong its memory function.
Loneliness is a risk factor for mental health problems. Depressed seniors may be more likely to neglect their health. So, stay social even in old age. Interact with your neighbors and spend time with your family and friends. Staying social can help you adapt better to the senior life.
Lastly, keep your happy hormone levels high by inviting happiness to your life. You can pick up a long-forgotten hobby, contact old friends, or learn something new every day. If you can go out, travel and spend time with nature. You’re never too old to create a travel bucket list. If that’s not your cup of tea, consider venturing into the arts or volunteerism — do anything that makes you happy. Taking care of a pet is a perfect source of joy, too.
Happiness can boost health because it motivates you to take care of yourself. Plus, it feeds you the mindset that age is just a number. Old and wrinkly doesn’t mean lonely and ill. Of course, it still helps to get regular checkups. This, along with the right lifestyle choices, can help you prevent serious diseases, memory loss, and decreased mobility. Live your golden years in good health and shape.