Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP CEO and author of the novel Disrupt Aging, provides an outline for living your life fully at every life stage and age. This concept became more significant to Jenkins when she turned 50 and wallowed for days after receiving over the hill birthday cards and expressions of congratulations for “making it” to 50. While Jenkins published her book in 2018, it seems that she had set the stage for a new term with a more positive connotation, “Active Adult.” Her goal? To challenge outdated beliefs about aging, and to encourage others to celebrate the positives in aging successfully.
If you are an Active Adult, have retired or are contemplating retirement, what are some important things you need to consider in order to shine in in the next chapter of life?
According to Jenkins, taking these ideas to heart can change the way you think, and just might change the rest of your life:
1.) Know Your Self- Actualization
The term Active Adult refers to those who are independent and are seeking environments that promote connection, engagement and wellness. They seek peers who are like-minded and it’s important to them to start this next chapter as a limitless adventure.
2.) Knowledge is Power
Up until this point, life seemed to have presented itself with a guide. Perhaps you are now considering leaving your family home, a fixture of stability in your life for decades, and you are unsure what a new residence or living environment would look like. Do your homework on the difference between communities and campuses for those over 55. What do they have to offer for your mental and physical well-being, now and in the future?
3.) Have the Conversation
Take a look at those supporters in your life; friends, family and children that will have influence in this next stage. Proximity to these loved ones as well as their physical and emotional support can be an important factor to your health and happiness.
4.) Make a Plan
Are you a planner or a gambler? Most people will fall into one of those buckets. It’s important to have a plan before the potential for a crisis situation arises. Aging can come with different challenges and while a crystal ball would be useful, planners tend to have more positive results when they stay ahead of future health care obstacles and needs.
5.) Be Not Afraid
Change is never easy. When one enters into the Active Adult stage-- which is after retirement for many --routines, surroundings, and support are now looked at with different lenses. This is not problematic or troublesome but perhaps a new normal. In these unprecedented times, we are well equipped more than ever for these new challenges and excitement for the next chapter.
If you have reached this stage and consider yourself an Active Adult, congratulations! The best is yet to come and the possibilities are endless. You are not simply “over the hill” or “beyond the hump,” you are exploring and securing what can be the start of the best of your life.
Michele Biggart is the Director of Sales at Fountaingate Gardens, a soon-to-be-built Life Plan Community in Commack, Long Island, on the campus of the Gurwin Healthcare System. A certified Geriatric Care Manager, Michele has more than a decade of experience in the active senior living industry. When not helping retirees explore future housing options, she is busy raising two children and engaged in helping her own parents plan for the next chapter of their lives. Contact Michele at 631.715.2693 or email@example.com to learn about Life Plan Community living. www.fountaingateli.org.