When Retirement Brings Unexpected Health Challenges

Any big life change — even retirement — can affect your physical and mental health. Here are five important reminders.

June 19, 2022

When working people envision their retirements, they tend to picture themselves relaxing and having fun. Maybe they'll play more tennis, spend more time with their grandkids, or finally take that trip they've been planning. Retirement is exciting, but it also brings new health considerations.

Any big life change — even retirement — can affect your physical and mental health. If you're newly retired, here are five important reminders.

  1. Review your health insurance. If you had insurance through your job, that coverage probably ended when you retired. The same is true if you had insurance through your spouse's job and they retired. Don't wait until a health issue comes up to make sure you have the right health insurance in place to meet your needs.
  2. Move your body, but don't overdo it. As a new retiree, you may be tempted to fill your schedule with activities and adventures. Being physically active will help you stay healthy, but if you go from golfing once a month to golfing every day, you may experience overuse injuries. Remember to pace yourself.
  3. Take care of your brain. Relaxation is a good thing, especially if you recently retired from a high-stress job, but too much relaxation can be boring. Research shows that retirement is associated with cognitive decline, so find ways to keep your mind active, such as classes and volunteer work, and build those activities into your routine. Pay attention to your mental health, too. If retirement feels like a big adjustment, consider talking with a therapist.
  4. Ready to travel? Keep your healthcare needs in mind. Whether you're creating a detailed itinerary for a trip abroad or planning a trip out of state to see loved ones, take time to focus on your health. Make sure you have plenty of any prescription medications you might need, check if your health insurance will cover you during your travels, and know who you’ll call in an emergency. Read more travel health tips here.
  5. Expect your health expenses to increase. As people age, their healthcare costs typically rise. Many people underestimate how much they will spend on healthcare in retirement. For a clearer picture of how your health could affect your expenses in the coming years, talk with your financial advisor and your health advisor.

Do you have questions or want more guidance on any of these topics? If you or someone you love needs help navigating the healthcare system, reach out to an expert health advisor.

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