It’s Time to Rethink Retirement

“As a society, an economy, and in government, we must have a vision, adapt our thinking, and adjust our attitudes and our actions to reflect the opportunities that senior Australians have to offer.” – Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health.

With many Australians working and living longer, we need to rethink the concept of retirement. Traditionally, a person would work until the age of 65 and spend their remaining 10-15 years in leisure. An ageing population today suggests that retiring at the age of 65 could mean a person’s retirement fund must cover a possible 30 years of living expenses.

With old age not hitting most of us until much later, many Australians are now choosing to stay employed well into their 70s. The Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt suggests that “70 is the new 40” warning that “Australians will have to prepare for a future in which they will be healthy enough to work or volunteer well into their eighties.”

Creative alternatives such as a seniors’ ‘gap year’ and small house living are being considered as an innovative solution to support and empower seniors to live long and fulfilling lives, and as a means to rethink the concept of retirement as a gradual approach.

Naturally, finances play a key role in determining a person’s retirement plan, and for most, staying in the workforce is a financial necessity. However, for others, retirement is an active choice, and there are increasing numbers of retirees neglecting to plan how they will look after their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. A study from the Institute of Economic Affairs found that retirement can lead to issues that are detrimental to happiness and physical health such as loneliness, inactivity or immobility.

A large proportion of retirees wish they had stayed in the workplace for longer and often found it challenging to secure a job after the decision to return to work. The implementation of a seniors gap year (also known as a ‘mini retirement’), a proposition by Minister Wyatt, encouraging seniors to take time off to explore life outside the workplace to help put things into perspective and inspire plans for the next stage of life.

“Taking a physical, mental and social break from the workplace, taking leave without pay and going and doing some other things you want to do, enables you to rejuvenate and then be enthused about coming back to your role,” says Minister Wyatt.

Although unconventional, this strategy can help alleviate reliance on government support and ease the expected workforce shortage in decades to come. More importantly, it can provide an improved level of wellbeing for those reaching retirement, including a greater sense of independence, increased financial security as well as mental and physical stimulation.

The concept of small house living is based on a European concept that encourages shared living solutions, and is a model similar to the type of supportive, community living that we at
Twilight Aged Care have to offer. This idea is designed to generate better health and financial outcomes, but more importantly to encourage independence, dignity and quality of life.

Twilight Aged Care is different from the average aged care provider in that it maintains small, home-like environments, including Glades Bay Gardens, Glengarry, Horton House, Hunters Hill Village and Hunters Hill Retirement Living. Each home has an Activity and Lifestyle Program which is tailored to individual interests and needs. The program aims to contribute to holistic care and help support physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, as well as offer the opportunity to meet new people and develop new interests.

Are you considering retirement or future living options for yourself or a loved one? Contact a friendly member of staff to arrange a tour of our homes or talk to us about the transition to retirement living.

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