Did you hear that the world’s oldest man died this week? Aged 112 and ten months when he died, Yasutaro Koide was officially crowned the oldest man on the planet by Guinness World Records in August 2015. He claimed the secret to a long life was to avoid drinking and smoking, adding: “The best thing to do is avoid overwork and live with joy.”
Would you like to live to age 112? With the number of people exceeding one hundred years of age increasing year on year, it may be very possible that many of us currently middle-aged might get close or even exceed it.
What would you do if you knew you could live for much longer than you might expect? I think most of us presume that we’ll live until our 80s and perhaps our 90s (and even further if our ancestors lived to their 90s) but what if we had an extra decade or two. That would mean living up to four decades as a pensioner, even if the pensionable age continues to rise as it has done from 66 to 68. How much further might it go? Will we be working into our 70s as a matter of course? For many of us, pension planning can come far down on the list with the mortgage, household bills, childcare, medical bills and everyday living expenses coming to the fore. If you knew you would live for much longer, would you try to make more payments into a pension plan now?
Even as we age, how can we stay young at heart?
- Many people would argue that one of the keys to staying young is to socialise with people of different ages, learn about their different interests and hobbies, see how people interact with each other and forge new interests for themselves.
- Be positive. As you get older, you won’t be able to do everything you once did. Instead of playing football, you might play golf and then perhaps change to bowls. Focus on what you can do rather than concentrating on what you can’t do. Enjoy what you can still do rather than regretting what isn’t possible any more. Sometimes slowing down means that you can enjoy your time ‘in the moment’ more. Walks around the garden or to the park may fill your senses more than ever before.
- Take up new hobbies, perhaps it is only now that you might find the courage or the time to do something that was always there on a wish list such as learn how to paint or write a book. A Kilkenny farmer, John Sherwood, wrote his first book (a memoir) at the age of 93. Initially it was planned as a unpublished memoir for his grandchildren but friends and family were so impressed, he self-published it and it’s on sale in some bookshops.
- Don’t worry or at least, only worry about things you can control. If you can control them, act to change them so they don’t worry any more. Don’t worry about the big things that you have no control over. Worry saps your energy and your enthusiasm.
- There isn’t a defined age at which people should retire so don’t bow to pressure to retire unless it is something you really want. Some people can afford to retire at 55 and decide to potter in the garden and travel for the next thirty years. Others recognise they would be bored and either continue working in the same job or start a new career if they have to retire from their work. To give you an example, we have a number of carers who started their homecare career at 60 when they retired from the civil service or similar positions.
- And as the world’s oldest man says, live with joy as much as you can.
Living a long healthy and happy life is something we all want and it just might be one step nearer to reality. What do you think? Would you love to live to 112? How age would you like to retire at?
Remember, if you would like a second career, this time in homecare, Comfort Keepers has a number of vacancies in its seventeen offices across Ireland. Why not apply today and see where this new career might take you.