Aging is part of daily living, yet many men and women from their fifties to seventies are fearful of their approaching maturity. Many choose to ignore the issue; others cope by plunging into hyper-activity, filling every minute of every day, to prove that they are still part of the young set. Some just give up, listlessly going through the days, fearing the unknown future. Aging doesn’t mean the good life is over. The key to enjoying maturity is to plan for it; to stay active, positive, keep learning, and pursuing projects we never had time for.
I asked a number of mature men and women “What is your greatest fear of aging”? Three issues were mentioned most often:
Fear One: “My savings won’t last.” Economic worries topped the list, probably influenced by the current horrific downturn in the economy that affected many mature citizens especially hard. “Suddenly we see our nest egg shrink or disappear, and we worry, who will take care of us? What if we get sick?”
Action: Plan early! Start planning for the future as early as you can and adjust your goals if the unexpected happens. But focusing on your financial health is not enough. What are you doing now to stay healthy so you can avoid possible illness later in life? Planning starts with a clear understanding of what our assets are, and what it costs to maintain our lifestyle. Many people require the help of a retirement expert to help them plan. In some cases a trusted friend or family member with appropriate expertise can help. It’s up to you, however, to give them good information. Hoping things will work out is a risk no one can afford.
Fear Two: “I’m becoming more and more isolated as friends and family members pass away.” Or, “My kids moved far away. Many of my friends are gone. I often feel so alone. How will I be able to manage if something happens to me?"
Action: Relying solely on the friends we’ve known for years is risky. No matter what your age, forming new relationships with people younger or older is important. Make friends by mentoring others; share your skills or expertise. Become a joiner!