Retirement Happiness – Independence in Retirement

RH Weekly Cover

Volume 4 – Independence in Retirement

Most people, perhaps all people, seek a high level of Independence in their Retirement. This Series discusses the main elements of an independent life in retirement.

Issue #8 – Health Care

There is no doubt that the health of the Retiree is probably the primary issue and/or concern. With, or even without money, is one thing, but, with, or without our health, is an entirely different matter.

Clearly it is not possible to be entirely Independent when it comes to health care. We obviously need the help of medical professionals and medical establishments to support our health needs. Yet, as we grow older, it somehow seems that we become a little more and more stubborn when it comes to deciding what to do with our health.

“Mum, would you please go see the doctor and discuss it with her.”

“I’ll be fine. Relax.”

“No you won’t. Please go”

That type of conversation is heard more and more as we age. Some people call it stubborn, some call it “ornery”. Others call it stupid.

There is an increasing desire to show that we can handle our basic health needs alone. We don’t need help. That’s true when it is everyday issues of eating properly, sleeping properly and taking medications. But do we pay attention to the realisation that our bones are getting more brittle, our step is not so light as it was, that our memories are showing more and more gaps…?

We just don’t want to admit that we’re getting older. It’s really as simple as that.

The common sense we have relied on all our lives, health-wise, seems to wobble in old age. Ironically just when we should be using more common sense, we seem to use less. The need (especially in men!!) to be bravado about running up ladders, or jumping over walls, or running to catch the bus, are all signs of “Yes I can”. For some it may be fine. For others not so fine. Why can’t we just admit that age is creeping up on us and is causing a few stumbles.

There’s nothing wrong with being as active as we can for as long as we can. In fact, the longer we can be active, the better. Whether we lift weights (small), or go for a walk, or run up and down stairs, is irrelevant. The fact that we can do some form of physical activity is excellent for better health.

But we must ensure that when we need a test to be done, or samples given, or seek second opinions for example, must all be done. We should not take it for granted that because we “feel great”, that we are great. Maybe that visit to the doctor would be useful after all. Maybe that article we saw on the Web should be read after all. Maybe that point made by a loved one should be considered after all.

Being a martyr to our health is a short-cut to martyrdom.

And remember that for the many years we have left, there is a diminishing rate of return in our health. We don’t get healthier as we age, but we can make the path easier if we make the decision to seek help … and stop being so damned stubborn

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