Expert's top five planning tips for positive ageing

Transitions from one phase of our life to another are inevitable, particularly as we get older.

“How effectively we deal with these transitions will largely be determined by how well we plan for them,” says positive ageing expert Marcus Riley, who advocates for a proactive and positive approach to ageing.

A past chair and current director of the Global Ageing Network, Mr Riley advocates that successful ageing is self-defined.

“Positive people are proactive, not reactive so it’s up to you to take charge,” he says.

“We can be proactive by understanding what threatens our successful ageing and take pre-emptive action. For example, knowing that relationships are important to our wellbeing means that we may need to take proactive steps to patch up a fraying friendship or family relationship.

Read more: The trends from 2020 that support a positive outlook in retirement

“Planning is the secret to retaining control for as long as we live. Planning enables us to make the most of the choices that are available across all phases of later life.

“Often people will leave planning for retirement or setting themselves up their later years too late (from finances to health), so start planning now to create the life you want.”

Marcus Riley shares his top 5 planning tips for positive ageing:

Identify what is important to you and consider this when making any decisions
“We must identify what is personally important to us, reflecting on our priorities across a number of factors. Our relationships of importance, the activities we value, the state of our finances, where we want to call home now and possibly later, it is vital to recognise what is best for us and consider this when making all decisions.”

Employment and retirement – planning is key to ease the transition
“These days we have the opportunity, if we plan well, to avoid the abrupt end of work through retirement and instead work in a modified role, either part-time or in a less senior job to ease the transition into retirement.”

Read more: Centrelink Q&A: Part-time employment and the Age Pension

Family role – plan for upcoming changes and how that affects your family role
“Because we are living longer today than at any time in history, family roles are much more fluid. It is important for us to consider what changes are likely in the future and plan accordingly – what family roles do I perform now and what will be required at later stages.”

Wellness – recognise how we best sustain our physical and mental health
“Planning also means a preventative approach to trying to keep illness at bay and staying active enough to do whatever our heart desires by eating well, exercising and having regular medical health checks-ups, starting now.”

Read more: Older Australians Wellbeing Index dispels myths about over-50s

Be adaptable
“Our plans must be adaptable, something that we’re constantly renewing and reviewing because our circumstances will inevitably change. Our aforementioned personal priorities will vary with changed circumstances or new thinking; therefore, we must update or adjust our plans to remain conducive to our best living.

“We ultimately hold the keys to our future!”

Marcus Riley is a Positive Ageing Advocate, based in Queensland Australia, whose career in the field of ageing spans more than two decades, providing leadership and influence on local, national and global levels. Marcus is also an advocate for the rights of older people through his role with GAROP (Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People) based out of London.

The Global Ageing Network is based in Washington DC, and BallyCara is a charitable organisation that provides accommodation, health, and care services for older people.

Marcus is the author of Booming, A Life-changing Philosophy for Ageing Well, and host of the podcast Booming, which features a number of inspiring guests including Kerrie O’Brien, Maggie Beer, Ronni Kahn, and more.

What are your tips for positive ageing? Why not share them in the comments section below?

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