There’s a lot to love about getting older — you’ve gained all that wisdom, experience and financial stability, and you might have even gotten the kids out of the house! As you approach retirement, one thing you need to maintain a good control over is your health. Healthy ageing has unfortunately taken a back-seat for many people in society today. There are those who place wealth ahead of personal health, for instance, which leaves them vulnerable before retirement. We chatted with Alejandra Perez Coria, Head of Sales & Renewals at Pacific Prime Singapore, and asked her for four handy tips for ageing healthily and gracefully.
#1 Listen to your body
While acne may have been an annoyance during your teenage years, your twenties to forties perhaps had you feeling invincible. In your fifties, though, you’re probably noticing that the “softening” of the last two decades is finally starting to set in. There’s that wobbly knee from tennis, that shaky rugby shoulder and your husband’s man-flu that seems to stick around a lot longer than it used to. The truth is that there are a number of health risks and concerns that people in their fifties face to a far greater extent than they did during their earlier years. Pay attention to your body; it’s the only one you’ve got! In particular, look out for the following:
- Vision changes
- Chronic pains such as arthritis, back issues and tendonitis
- Hair and hearing loss
- Bladder and prostate issues, and erectile dysfunction
- Thyroid problems
- Skin problems such as age spots, wrinkles, and dry skin
- Digestive issues
- Increased risk of cancer
#2 Go for medical tests and exams
Routine examinations are likely to become more frequent as you get older. They’ll help reduce the risk of developing a serious illness or injury that could deteriorate fast. See your doctor for the following tests:
- Physical exams
- Dental exams
- Eye exams
- Blood pressure screening
- Cholesterol screening
- Diabetes testing
- Skin exams
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Breast, pelvic exams; mammograms, pap smear, HPV and bone density tests for women
- Testicular exams and prostate screening for men
Also, consider how up to date your immunisations are too. As we age, our immune systems become weaker, so it’s worth making sure you’re up to speed — especially if you’re a frequent traveller.
As we age, the risk of developing diseases rises, and one of the most serious among these is cancer. Diagnosing cancer at an early stage is the key to successfully treating it. While cancer rates have been rising in Singapore over the years, so too have the recovery rates! This is directly attributed to early detection.
#3 Take care of your body
There are no shortcuts to a healthy life, especially in your older years. When it comes to taking care of your body for the future, the solutions are things you’ve heard before — they’re just more important now than ever:
- Make good nutrition choices: With slowing metabolism, you’ll need to adjust your dietary habits. Reduce your caloric intake and eat more nutrient-rich food — more whole grains, fruit and vegetables, low-fat dairy options and fish.
- Get active and stay active: Get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day to help fight osteoporosis.
- Quitting for good: You’ve had plenty of time to know that smoking is bad for you — it’s time to give up. Help is out there; ask your GP for smoking cessation assistance.
- Moderating guilty pleasures: Some of life’s vices, such as chocolate or alcohol, can really leave their mark on you more than when you were younger. Enjoying the occasional treat is fine, but don’t overindulge.
- Sleep well: Many people find that they sleep less as they get older. Significant sleeplessness can be a sign that something’s wrong, so get a check-up if necessary.
#4 Review your insurance needs
By the time you reach your fifties, your health needs might not match up as well to your old health insurance plans. Your finances, though, may be more stable, allowing you to afford benefits you once might have placed a lower priority on. On the other hand, there could also be a benefit you had included that you no longer have use for.
If you are currently insured through an employer, your fifties are a good time to consider obtaining your own personal insurance plan. Once you retire, you may lose your company health insurance. If this happens, those that already have their own private policy will be able to continue without any gaps in coverage, while those scrambling to secure a new plan are likely not be able to get covered for their pre-existing conditions, or even get insured at all.
To effectively and efficiently review your health insurance alongside your changing needs, engage an experienced insurance broker and get advice on appropriate coverage. Benefits can include cover for age-related illnesses, pre-existing conditions, check-ups and exams.
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Want to find out more about staying healthy? Read on for some helpful tips on choosing a health insurance plan.