Singapore is blessed with an excellent healthcare system and a world class, socio-economic and national infrastructure. With such great living conditions, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Singaporeans can look forward to one of the longest life expectancies in the world. The 2014 average life expectancy at birth for Singaporeans is 82 years; this makes it the 4th highest rate in the world with Japan in the top place at 85 years on average. 

With such a long life expectancy, many adults today need to start planning early. Retirement is no longer seen to signal the close of a productive life. Most of us can look forward to another 20 to 30 years beyond retirement. How we plan those 20 to 30 years can make a big difference to the quality of our lives as we age.

Nutrition and Exercise

First on the list for all seniors is a need to develop a nutrition and exercise program. Have a discussion with your family doctor and work out which foods you need to avoid and which you need to have more of. Speak with a nutritionist to design a balanced plan for yourself. 

Try to build exercise into your daily life. A variety of different sports and activities will keep it from becoming boring. Check with your doctor before choosing a strenuous sport or if you have a tendency for certain injuries.

An Active Social Network

Having a strong social network and an active circle of friends, family and acquaintances is vitally important for older people. Without the motivation and companionship that such a network gives, it is easier for cognitive abilities to deteriorate and depression to set in. 

Join an activity you enjoy and become a part of a club or a regular gathering. Keep in touch with friends and relatives. Build a social program which gets you out of the house and in touch with new people on a regular basis. 

Medical Care 

Start planning for your future medical needs. Review your medical policies and decide on what your future care options should be. Discuss your plans with your family members and agree on broad guidelines on the kind of care you have prepared for.

Remember to go for regular medical tests and check-ups. In general, once past the age of 60, you should be looking at tests to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, vision, colon cancer and bone density. For women, pelvic exams, PAP tests and mammograms are recommended, and for men, prostate cancer tests are common. Consult with your family doctor to see which ones are most suitable for you given your personal and family medical history.

Financial Planning

You will also want to assess the state of your finances. In reality, financial planning usually starts early in life, ideally once you start working. Your plan should cover not only your future expenses and post-retirement income streams, but also estate planning and writing a will. Tidying up your financial paperwork and simplifying your accounts is a good idea as it will make it easier for you and your caregivers to manage your assets as you grow older. 

Assisted and Other Living Arrangements

Give some thought on your preferences for living arrangements in the event that you cannot continue to live independently in your own home. Discuss your wishes with your family and children. If you don’t have family that you plan to stay with, then consider assisted living and other arrangements. Looking into these options yourself whilst you are younger allows you to form a preference and to make arrangements which you are more likely to be happy with. 

Advanced Directives

If you have certain preferences for different types of medical approaches when you grow older, and you are concerned that you may, towards the end of your life not be able to make those decisions independently, you may want to consider preparing a living will or advanced directives. These generally express your wishes on the types of medical treatment and care that you would like to receive. You may also consider writing a medical power of attorney which give a trusted relative, friend or professional the right to make medical decisions on your behalf if and when you are no longer able to do so.