Senior retirement living is truly a balancing act


You would think the older you get, the wiser you become. All this experience gained over decades of challenges is supposed to make life easier as you age, because now you have all the answers.

Well, no matter how old you are, there will always be new challenges to deal with. Here are just a few that seniors may face:

  • Having enough money. Some think that the biggest fear for seniors is being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer or advanced Alzheimer's. But no, their biggest fear is that they will run out of money before they pass on.

Having an itemized budget of revenue and expenses might be more important to have as a senior than at any other time in one's life. Income stays fairly constant but expenses can spike at times, based on what type of health problems arise.

Social Security is guaranteed, but Medicare doesn't pay for everything. Older parents don't want to be a burden to their children because they haven't planned properly. It's a balancing act.

  • Fall risk. You don't know you're a "fall risk" until you start having episodes of dizziness or feeling like you're going to topple over when you're standing straight. Balance, like memory and muscle mass, starts to deteriorate as we age.

My dad is a perfect example of being a vulnerable fall risk. The atrophy in his legs can no longer support him standing or walking for more than 5 to 10 minutes. He always walked with a very fast gait; but now, the faster he walks the more likely that he will lose his balance and fall.

My dad was in denial about his poor balance for a number of years. We now have him using a walker, which is the best equipment available to reduce falls. However, falls still can happen.

If you know someone who is using a cane, do your best to have them put it in the closet and use the walker. Quite literally, it's a balancing act.

  • Daily exercise. We all know how important physical exercise can be to one's overall health. If you're in your 60s or early 70s, it's critical that you maintain an exercise regimen that includes at least walking and some resistance training, most importantly for your legs.

The longer you go without exercise as part of your daily routine, the harder it is for your muscles to adjust and adapt. With renewed strength in your legs, you will have the energy to exercise into your 80s and 90s.

But if you sit around all day, you won't feel like doing anything. Take that uninspiring approach for too long, and your body will get stiff and sore and your mind will come up with a million reasons why you don't have to exercise.

Don't let that happen! It's a balancing act. Remember, no one ever said getting older was easy.

Joe Agee is the marketing and sales director for The Seabrook of Hilton Head.

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