Approaching a completely new chapter in life can feel both exciting and daunting. Having to consider elements of the third age such as your finances, health, housing and any current or potential future care needs can feel overwhelming – which often leads to these important getting pushed aside. Yet these factors play a huge part in your experience of later living and affect not only you but your children and family. In this article, we take a look at ways you can start planning ahead.
But it’s too early to think about later living.
Thinking about your third age early on and planning for the third age provides security for you and loved ones. You may be thinking that it’s too soon to be planning for this stage of your life, but by considering your options early can help to future proof your retirement. The Centre for Ageing Better released a report last year that provides several recommendations about how to plan for third age:
- Encourage people to preserve ‘the good things in life’. Identifying aspects of life at middle age, and taking steps to maintain or preserve these into the third age. In the face of being aware of an issue but feeling powerless to do anything about it, this approach sets achievable goals.
- Work on time perspectives. There is some evidence that interventions can encourage people to become more future oriented. Other evidence suggests this strategy would have to be combined with others if it were to lead to more planning activity.
- Avoid imposing an external sense of obligation on people to plan. Evidence shows that this form of external pressure tends to have negative effects, such as leading to feelings of guilt.
- Do not plan in isolation. Planning is made a lot easier if undertaken as a couple, or with family and friends.
- Acknowledge the limits of planning. Any strategy to encourage planning should be based on a clear understanding of what it is seeking to achieve. Strategies to improve wellbeing are, of course, not necessarily mutually exclusive and planning is perhaps best thought of as one among various possibilities.
Moving because you want to, not because you need to.
By planning in advance for the third age, it gives you the space to make choices because you want to, not because you have to. In research by Promatura, declining health or the death of a spouse was the primary reasons among 40% of the residents for the timing of their move. But by thinking and making decisions about the move earlier on, you can make it because you want to – to a place that you want to be, in a setting that excites you – so you can enjoy your new chapter of life.
Less time on maintenance, more time on you.
Maintaining a large home can often be draining on time, energy and financial resources. According to a UK Parliament publication, a third of adults in their third age would like to move from their present home. Yet, the combination of practical, financial and emotional barriers can prevent, or at least delay, the process of moving home.
Considering ‘right-sizing’, moving to a property sized to suit your needs, would mean you benefit from less time spent on general house maintenance and gardening. This, in turn, frees you up to explore new places and favourite passions instead.
The right home for the right time.
There may come a point in time when your home no longer meets your needs. Moving to a newly-built property, which has been specifically designed for later living allows you to maintain your independence longer than you might be able to in your current home. There is now a move away from the traditional ‘gated retirement village’, and towards continuing city and town centre living into the third age. Situated near amenities, transport links, and friends and family, while offering on-site care and support if or when needed, third age should offer an exciting opportunity to remain active and independent beyond retirement.
A little extra help.
1.4 million older people do not have access to the care and support that they need, according to Age UK. The fear of losing independence can lead to pushing away extra help when it is needed. Considering different care and support options in advance, for if and when needed, can help to give you peace of mind and relieve pressure on families – so more emphasis can be put on spending quality time together.
Having the conversation.
Maybe the hardest part of all is how to tell your children and wider family that you want to make a change. It is important to be upfront and honest. But with a supportive family behind you, who recognise the benefits of improved later living, it can make the whole process so much easier.
One for the kids.
According to new research commissioned by Legal & General in conjunction with EAC, 69% of people are worried about their parents’ physical decline – and 67% are worried about them being lonely and isolated. Why not make the first move and open up the conversation with your parents about planning for the third age. Helping to plan the right balance of support and independence should be embraced rather than avoided.
Live your best life now.
Don’t lose out on the opportunity for a higher quality of life. Open up the discussion on your next chapter. What will you be doing in 10 days, 10 months, 10 years?