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Why planning is the secret to positive ageing

There are many elements and types of positive ageing, but at its core it is about handling the inevitable transition from one stage of life to another.

According to Brisbane-based positive ageing expert, Marcus Riley, how well we plan for these transitions will determine how effectively we deal with them.

The former chair and current director of the Global Ageing Network explains that positive people are proactive, not reactive.

“It’s up to you to take charge,” Mr Riley says. “We can be proactive by understanding what threatens our successful ageing and take pre-emptive action.

“For example, knowing relationships are important to our well-being means that we may need to take proactive steps to patch up a fraying friendship or family relationships.

“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 for their later years, too late. So, start planning now to create the life you want.” 

Here are Marcus Riley's five planning tips for positive ageing.

1. 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.”

2. Employment and retirement – planning is the 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.”

3. Family role – plan for upcoming chances 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?”

4. 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 check-ups, starting now.”

5. 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.”