Life expectancy in older populations has been rising for over half a century. According to data published by the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), in 1951 a man aged 65 could on average expect to live to the age of 77. Today he can expect to live to 86 and by 2050 that will increase to 91. As ELSA point out, it’s one of the greatest achievements of modern society.
The upward trend in survival rates, coupled with increasing pressure on NHS funds, mean there’s no time like the present for anyone aged 50 or over to start planning for a healthy retirement.
Many people in middle age kid themselves that they’ll have a physically active and fulfilling retirement. The fact is a great many of us follow a lifestyle that is sabotaging that goal. Here are our top tips for planning ahead and keeping your health on track to ensure you can enjoy a healthy and happy retirement.
1 – Don’t put off having a health check – focusing on prevention is the key to good health.
2 – Clean up your diet – eating healthy balanced meals and healthy snacks will have a positive impact on your health. Drink plenty of water and limit caffeine and alcohol.
3 – If you smoke, it’s time to give up. Smoking brings on potentially life-shortening diseases and numerous health problems. Kicking the habit now will have a positive impact on your retirement.
4 – If you are overweight, it’s time to take action. As you age, the risk of serious disease such as diabetes, heart attacks and cancer are significantly increased if you are overweight.
5 – Exercise 3 times a week. Regular exercise helps with weight control and offers significant benefits in terms of stress reduction and cardiovascular health. Exercise has been shown to help in cases of mild depression, and weight-bearing exercise helps in the prevention of osteoporosis.
6 – Plan ahead financially for your retirement. You may wish to seek advice from an independent financial adviser. Be sure to check your financial adviser is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on the Financial Services Register.
7 – Consider private health insurance for complete peace of mind. Access to healthcare in the future is an unknown. The NHS is currently under pressure to meet the UK’s health demands like never before. If you want to be absolutely sure you’ll get the healthcare you need exactly when you need it, private health insurance might be an option for you.
Current NHS waiting times for a non-urgent referral are set at 18 weeks. For some this is satisfactory, but if you want to be sure you have immediate access to healthcare, even for non-urgent medical issues, taking out a private health policy will ensure speedier access to diagnosis and treatment.