As we grow older, we come face to face with several big life decisions. Career transitions, children leaving home, the loss of loved ones, retirement, physical and health challenges, downsizing, the loss of independence and many more.
How we handle and adapt to these changes is a key element to a healthy life beyond our 50’s. What is guaranteed is that there will be periods of both joy and stress. Building resilience and finding ways to cope with challenges will ensure we enjoy the good times and are mentally equipped for the challenges.
We all want and deserve a good life beyond our 50’s, but what does this look like, what are our needs and fears?
Having close contact with family and friends, being healthy and fit, feeling secure both physically and financially, having engagement and respect within our community are all contributing factors for overall happiness and wellbeing. If these areas of our personal life are in balance it will ensure that our 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond are some of the best years of our lives.
Positive Friendships and Family Relationships
Laughter really is the best medicine, therefore staying healthy through humour and play is vital for the body and mind at any age – giving us a sense of balance, energy and wellbeing. Staying connected with the people that bring us the most joy in life can have the most positive impact on our health as we age. Close, trusted relationships with an array of people safeguards against loneliness, depression and hardship especially during loss.
The new friendships that are formed when you move into a retirement community is of huge importance to your mental health. Neighbours and village staff look out for you and there’s always someone’s house you can pop over for a cuppa – it’s a close knit community of like-minded people who support you through thick and thin. Visitors are welcome and it’s not uncommon to see children and grandchildren visiting residents.
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, adopting a ‘person focused’ approach is the biggest factor in community engagement which directly impacts health and wellbeing. Community engagement is a way of ensuring that community members have access to valued social settings and activities. Knowing that we can contribute meaningfully within our community adds to a sense of belonging, connectedness, feeling valued, respected, useful and visible, which are all very real emotional needs as we age and particularly as we find that we have more time on our hands.
Village residents regularly get together for community events. The sense of belonging is what makes lifestyle villages such special places to live and why so many residents say that downsizing into an over 50’s community has been the best decision of their lives.
Find meaning and joy
A key ingredient for healthy aging is the consistent ability to find meaning and joy in life each day. As we encounter big changes such as part or full retirement, the children leaving home, sometimes the loss of a partner, the prospect of downsizing, we are also faced with an opportunity to keep moving ahead in a positive manner towards exciting new adventures.
This may mean re-connecting with a long-neglected hobby or learning something new that we have been dreaming about for a while. Making new friends, volunteering, finding support groups in time of change all can be extremely helpful in keeping a positive outlook through times of big change.
Within lifestyle villages we find that many people pick up a hobby whether its arts and craft or line dancing. These regular social clubs and activities provide a way for people to form new friendships, relax and enjoy their new found free time.
Health and Fitness
Studies show that exercise is the number one contributing factor to longevity, adding years to our lives. We know that exercise helps maintain strength and agility, increases our vitality, improves sleep, is good for our mental health and can be an excellent way to connect with others. The great news is that even if we start regular exercise beyond our 50’s, we can in fact reap all the benefits mentioned above. Residents of villages enjoy a variety of physical activities whether its lawn bowls, swimming or morning strolls around the village.
Feeling Financially Secure
Now that we’ve reached our 50’s it’s a good time to make financial decisions around our future and what we want it to look like. Picking a retirement date; when do we want to stop working? Ramping up your savings, topping up our superannuation, reducing any debts we may have, matching our health care needs around our health care benefits, updating our will and exploring the many downsizing options. Making these decisions with your financial advisor will give you a personal financial road map forward which will provide peace of mind.
One of the many reasons that people chose to live in a land lease community is that it offers a more affordable retirement living option. There are financial savings to be made because there is no stamp duty, council rates or exit fees and government funded rent assistance is available to pensioners to help cover the weekly site fees. The extra cash in the bank from selling your family home and downsizing into a land lease community provides added financial security so you have enough money to comfortably enjoy your retirement.
Middle Swan VIllage is operated by Hampshire Villages – an Australian owned family business with 20 years’ experience operating land lease communities. Our core value as a provider of over 50’s village living is to create a ‘person focused’ approach where our residents thrive in what we consider should be the best years your lives.