Retirement and Healthy Aging

The following information is provided by  Magellan Health Services, provider of SMU’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Prepare for an active, healthy retirement

37739777.thbIf you’re nearing retirement, do you have a well-defined plan for your retired life? Today the average American spends nearly 20 years in retirement, so it’s important to prepare a life plan that closely fits your situation and needs.
As you’re nearing retirement, it’s good to consider how certain key realms of your retired life will look. Things to define include your overall mission in life, daily activities, health and wellness strategies, financial plans, social supports, and your travel wish list.

Your answers to the following questions can help you sketch your high-level retirement map.
• What is most important to you in life?
• What would you like to accomplish in the years ahead?
• What achievements have been missing from your life to date?
• How could you best use the skills you’ve acquired to make a difference for others?

Log on and learn! Look for Retirement and Healthy Aging on the Magellan member website under the In the Spotlight section on the welcome page.

To learn about other services provided by the EAP, visit the HR webpage.

Focusing on your future

futureHere are ideas for some potential new challenges to consider as you plan your future.
• Be active! With more time to yourself in retirement, be sure to get outside in the fresh air to walk, jog, hike, ride or canoe. Find buddies with whom to exercise!
• Pick a favorite cause, and volunteer some of your time. It’s a great way to help others while meeting new friends.
• Keep your brain challenged and moving forward with learning. Do online games, puzzles, chess, blogging or in-depth study.
• Explore a new path. Learn a new skill, language or art form. Attend a tai chi, yoga or cooking class. Start a new part-time career.
• Teach others the way. Draw on your experience to mentor young people.

Challenges of the sandwich generation

sandwichMillions of adults in the U.S. are active caregivers taking care of aging relatives. At the same time, over half of these caregivers are also caring for children under the age of 18, while trying to balance full- or part-time work outside the home.

If this is your situation, you may be able to ease your caregiving load by taking these steps.

Foster Family Communication
Good communication among elders, parents, and children is vital. Talking about boundaries and family member roles at the beginning of the caregiving arrangement will help everyone know what is expected of them, and will provide a sense of belonging. Don’t leave younger kids out of the discussion.

Remain Flexible
Expect care arrangements to change over time. For many families, one decision rarely settles the matter forever. Involve the children in planning for any changes.

Be sure to ask for help!
Don’t “wish” that someone would take mother to her appointment or Billy to soccer practice. Make it known to others that these are shared responsibilities and it is someone else’s turn to drive this time. Friends will likely be willing to pitch in if you ask.

Tap community services
Many organizations are designed to help caregivers. Check out your local senior center, place of worship or hospital to find out what’s available. Respite care services are often available to provide a break for caregivers.

Take care of you too!
Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and get adequate sleep and regular exercise. Carve out time to nurture your relationship with your partner or spouse; having a close, loving relationship will provide you with a continuous and much needed source of strength.

Planning your retirement finances

Assess your situation19162926.thb
Take some time to organize and review all your savings and investment assets.
Save as much as you can!

Set a savings goal and consistently work toward it
The SMU 403(b) Retirement Plan is one of the most powerful ways to build your retirement savings. Try to contribute the maximum allowed and strive to not touch any of your retirement savings before you retire.

Understand Medicare and Social Security
Medicare and Social Security will play an important role in your financial security during your retirement years. Look for email invitations to the Retirement Readiness Workshops sponsored by the SMU Department of Human Resources. The workshops, typically held in September and in the Spring, provide valuable information about these programs.

Consult with an expert!
Talking with a financial advisor can give you a valuable second opinion on your retirement readiness. Joe Valiquette, SMU’s Transamerica Retirement Planning Consultant is available on campus Monday – Friday to discuss your retirement planning needs, investment allocation, and any questions you have regarding your SMU 403(b) account.

About Mary Stall

This entry was posted in Health & Wellness, HR General, Resources, Retirement and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.