How to plan for your future health needs

How to plan for your future health needs

Good health is a priceless asset. The value we place on our health increases with as we age.

Planning for future health needs is a wise investment that will give you good lifestyle returns.

Here are some health considerations for planning the decades ahead of you.

Your health goals in your 50s

While the mortgage may still be hefty and your children may still demand your attention, if you’re in good health your 50s can be a prime time of your life.

The key to good health in your 50s and beyond is to invest in good nutrition and a physically and mentally active lifestyle; and schedule regular preventative health checks with your General Practitioner (GP).

It is also time to start planning your retirement years. Even if you’re plan is to never retire, statistics indicate that once you’re in your 50s, it is sensible to have a back-up plan. Retiring from employment is not always within your direct control.

Statistics from 2014-15 showed that commonly reported main reasons for people over 45 finishing up in jobs included sickness, injury or disability (19% of men and 14% of women) and retrenched / dismissed or no work available (9% of men and 5% of women).

Source: ABS 6238.0 - Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015.

Preventative health checks in your 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond

Staying active socially, mentally and physically and prioritising good nutrition is the goal.

On top of this, from a preventative medical perspective make sure to commit to:

  • Thorough dental hygiene and a visit to your dental specialist at least once a year
  • Regular breast checks and two yearly mammograms
  • Pap test and pelvic examination at least once every two years
  • Bone density scan with frequency suggested by your GP
  • Bowel cancer screening via a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) at least once every two years
  • Prostate cancer screening at least once a year
  • A skin check at least once a year
  • Hearing assessment if you are concerned, or loved ones are concerned, about your hearing
  • Eye and vision assessments every couple of years
  • Diagnostic blood screening every couple of years.

Planning for future health needs in your 50s

While you’re feeling young and active, it can be hard to look too far ahead in planning for your future health needs. No one knows what is ahead. Planning ahead in case an unplanned life or health event impairs your decision making ability will help your loved ones. Once you have plans in place, you’ll also benefit from peace of mind.

In your 50s consider reviewing or putting in place the following:

  • A Power of Attorney
  • A Will
  • A plan for how you want to live in your later years – what are your lifestyle priorities, how and where do you want to live, and what will you need to change in the coming years?
  • A financial plan
  • Adequate health insurance that covers ageing related conditions.

Your health goals in your 60s

In Australia, many friends and colleagues in their 60s will be planning to transition to retirement from paid employment.

Your 60s can be a decade of decision making and transitions. At the same time, the value of being in good health has just tripled!

Make health your priority.

Preventative health in your 60s

Healthy lifestyle choices and preventative health care will slow down ageing. With medical technology and research lengthening the number of years ahead of us, 60 really is the new 40 if you have good health on your side.

If you have a chronic medical condition, make sure you regularly visit and challenge your medical specialist.  Medical research is advancing all the time – complacency won’t result in improvements in your medical condition.  

Get good at asking questions. If your specialist is complacent and reluctant to look at the latest research, it may be time to make a change.

After six decades, you have earned the right to put your health ahead of loyalty!

In the meantime, the regular preventative health checks that we covered earlier should continue in consultation with your GP or specialists.

Planning for future health needs in your 60s

For peace of mind for you and your loved ones, you should have the following in place, a:

Your health goals in your 70s

If your 60s is the new 40s, then your 70s is the new 50s! An ongoing healthy approach to nutrition, water intake and physical activity, along with the preventative health checks we’ve outlined in your 50s and 60s will go a long way to keeping you physically well. Mental health, memory and cognitive function can become an area of focus in your 70s.

Your health goals in your 70s should be centred around staying active, or better still, ramping up your level of activity – particularly on a social and cognitive level.

Your cognitive and emotional health is fundamental to your sense of wellbeing. This is the time to take up learning new skills and being actively connected to a community. If where you’re living is making you feel isolated from friends, family and community, it is time to seriously consider moving closer while good health is still on your side.

At our RCA retirement villages, our Active Health program, Active Management philosophy and community orientated lifestyle is all about living your best life possible in your later years.

Preventative health in your 70s

Given your 70s is the new 50s, continue the regular preventative health checks that you committed to in your 50s. Your GP or specialist is the best source of advice as to whether the frequency of health checks needs to be adjusted according to your current health.

Planning for future health needs in your 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond

For peace of mind for you and your loved ones, you should have the following in place, a:

health insurance policy that covers knee, shoulder and hip operations; eye conditions such as cataract surgery; heart conditions and good dental cover.

Your health in your 80s and 90s

Hopefully, by now you’ve already settled somewhere where you are either close to love ones, or part of an active community where you feel safe and secure. Staying connected and feeling a sense of purpose will contribute positively to your overall health.

If good health is still on your side and you’ve planned well ahead financially these are the years to indulge yourself – you deserve it! Make sure that preventative health checks are given priority in your diary so that you can make the most of your good health.

The risk of having a chronic medical condition does increase with age. In your 80s and 90s your physical strength can decline, in terms of muscle tone and bone density.

For this reason, living somewhere that is designed in a way that the risk of falling is minimal is critical to preventing knee, shoulder or hip injuries as a result of falls. RCA’s retirement villages for independent living are designed so that residents can age in place, while families and friends can feel reassure of your safety and security.

With the recent Home Care Reforms RCA village residents can bring their care with them.

Cognitive decline is one of the main fears of seniors. If you have any concerns about your memory or cognitive function, visit your medical specialist. If you’re still sharp, keep that mind active. Continue participating in social and community activities, keep learning and keep moving!

Congratulations if you’ve reached 100!

Keep going and continue doing what you’re doing. It seems to be working well!

Helpful preventative health screening resources

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