Turning 65 is a monumental thing for most – transitioning from years of working hard, into an era of retirement. Well, for most people, it is also an exciting phase with opportunities to enjoy life even more.
However, it is also important to note that turning 65 also brings with it a fresh set of responsibilities and challenges, particularly affecting your health, lifestyle and even finances.
But do not worry! We’ve got your back.
In this guide, we are going to go over the 10 most important things that every 65 year old should do to make the most of these golden years. From health insurance to lifestyle decisions, we’ve got it all for you. So, buckle up and let’s dive in!
1. Sign Up for Medicare Health Insurance
Medicare is a government-funded healthcare program for seniors over 65. Under this policy, they can also sign up for Medicare Advantage, which is more popular due to better benefits.
Enroll for this cover when you are eligible (at 65) to avoid gaps or penalties. You have a seven-month initial enrollment period (IEP) that starts three months before the month you turn 65 . This initial enrollment period ends three to eight months after the month you turn 65. Within this time, you are eligible and can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, as well as a Medicare Advantage plan or a prescription drug plan (Part D plan).
2. Consider Medicare Supplement Health Insurance
Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, can help cover the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare doesn’t pay for. There are ten standardized Medigap plans, each with a different level of coverage. It’s a good idea to compare plans to see which one is best for your needs and budget.
3. Update Your Estate Plan
Estate planning is critical as you age. If you haven’t updated your estate plan recently, now is the time to do so. Make sure your will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents are up to date and reflect your wishes.
4. Review Your Social Security Plan
You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will be reduced. If you delay Medicare enrollment until your full retirement age, which is between 66 and 67, you’ll receive your full benefit amount.
Delaying to take Social Security until age 70 will increase your benefits by up to 8% per year. To enroll for Medicare benefits at 65 if you’re not already receiving Social Security benefits or to request a Special Enrollment Period, you should contact Social Security.
5. Create a Retirement Budget
When creating a retirement budget that considers your expenses, income, and savings, it’s important to consider the well-being of the senior in your life, encompassing both their physical and mental health.
Allocate a portion of your budget to prioritize nutritious options, such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, as they are crucial for maintaining cognitive health in older adults. Recognize that seniors need proper nourishment and regular exercise to thrive as they become older. By including healthy food choices and setting aside time for physical activity, you can help prevent various health issues and promote overall health and wellness for elderly adults.
Additionally, consider the option of a senior living community where seniors live in an environment that supports their physical and cognitive well-being. It is crucial to remember that it is never too late to integrate healthy habits into our daily routines. Even allocating 30 minutes each day to engage in physical activity can profoundly impact the overall quality of life for seniors.
6. Make a Plan for Long-Term Care
Long-term health care is a significant expense for seniors, and it’s essential to have a plan in your health savings account place to cover these costs. Consider purchasing long-term care insurance or creating a savings plan to cover any potential expenses.
7. Stay Up to Date on Preventive Care
Taking care of your health is crucial as you age, especially when it comes to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
To ensure optimal cognitive health and identify any potential signs or risk factors associated with such diseases, regular checkups and screenings are important for older adults. Engaging in physical activities and enjoyable pursuits can also contribute to brain health. The National Institute on Aging recommends incorporating regular exercise and healthy eating habits into your lifestyle to support overall well-being and cognitive function.
Additionally, nurturing your mind involves stimulating activities like memory exercises, puzzles, and social interactions. You can further protect your cognitive health by managing other health conditions like heart disease and reducing stress through various techniques. Taking these steps and following the five healthy lifestyle principles can significantly contribute to promoting brain health and preventing the onset of diseases.
8. Evaluate Your Housing Options
As you age, your housing needs may change. Evaluate your current living situation and consider whether downsizing or moving to a retirement community would better fit your needs. With the increase in home value in recent years, it has never been a better time to downsize.
9. Create an Emergency Plan
It’s important to have a plan in place for emergencies, such as natural disasters or medical emergencies. Make sure you have a list of emergency contacts and a plan for what to do in different scenarios.
10. Embrace Your Golden Years
Finally, embrace your golden years and make the most of this next chapter in your life. Travel, try new things, and spend time with loved ones. You’ve worked hard to get here, so prioritizing your well-being is important. As individuals age, maintaining good health becomes even more crucial.
Many older adults face challenges in getting quality sleep, but there are ways to improve this. Seeking help from a healthcare professional can guide how to promote healthy sleep patterns.
Additionally, exercise can help improve overall health, including sleep quality. It is essential for healthy aging to keep and maintain a healthy weight and moderate alcohol intake.
Prioritizing your health is crucial, particularly if you have underlying conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. At this stage of life, managing these conditions becomes even more important. Ensuring you get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night is essential because it plays a significant role in maintaining overall well-being.
Research suggests that insufficient sleep may increase the risk of various health issues. However, getting nine hours of sleep may reduce your risk and promote better health outcomes. By adopting these habits and seeking health professional support, you can prioritize a healthy lifestyle and stay healthy throughout your golden years.
Taking a Closer Look at Medicare Health Insurance
Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, hospice care, and skilled nursing care, while Medicare Part B covers doctor’s visits, outpatient care, and preventive services. Part D covers medicine costs, except prescription drug coverage only, and you can keep drug coverage or enroll in other creditable drug coverage under a separate plan if you choose.
In addition to Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, you can also choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C). Private insurance companies offer Medicare Part C plans and provide all the benefits of Parts A and B, as well as additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
If you delay enrolling in Medicare Parts A and Medicare Part B, you may want to consider purchasing Medigap policies.
What Does Medicare Cover?
Medicare is a U.S. federal health insurance program that primarily caters to individuals aged 65 and above, but it also provides coverage to some younger individuals with certain disabilities or health conditions. It’s structured into four distinct parts: A, B, C, and D, each of which covers different types of health care services.
Medicare Part A, typically known as Original Medicare, principally covers inpatient services. This includes hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, some home health services, and hospice care. Many beneficiaries pair Part A with Part B to create a more comprehensive coverage plan.
While still under the umbrella of Original Medicare, Medicare Part B handles costs associated with outpatient care. This includes visits to the doctor, preventative care services, mental health services, certain types of durable medical equipment, and laboratory and diagnostic tests. However, it’s essential to remember that Part B doesn’t cover dental and vision benefits.
Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage as commonly known, provides a different approach to Medicare coverage. Private insurance companies approved by Medicare offer Part C plans. They include all the services of Parts A and B and usually offer additional benefits like routine health care, dental, vision, hearing aids, wellness programs, and fitness memberships. However, enrollment in these plans isn’t automatic.
Finally, there’s Medicare Part D, which is all about prescription drug coverage. Provided by private insurers but governed by Medicare rules, Part D plans are designed to help beneficiaries manage the costs of their prescription medications. This part is particularly useful as health conditions change rapidly with age, potentially necessitating more prescription drugs.
How Can I Enroll in Medicare?
Enrolling in Medicare is typically a straightforward procedure for most individuals. In certain cases, such as if you’re already receiving retirement benefits from the social security administration or the Railroad Retirement Board, you will be automatically enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B.
However, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare actively if you’re not receiving retirement benefits and don’t have healthcare coverage via your employer or your spouse’s employer. The time window for this is typically seven months.
There are several ways to sign up for Medicare, which are designed to provide flexibility and convenience. You can enroll online, make a phone call to sign up or visit a Social Security office to apply in person.
One important consideration is the impact on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or health insurance based on current employment. If you have either of these, it’s prudent to consult your HR department, insurance provider, or benefits administrator to understand the potential effects of Medicare enrollment. This will allow you to make a well-informed decision about your healthcare options.
MediGap vs. Medicare Health Insurance
Medigap is a Supplement Insurance for Medicare, that covers additional costs such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
There are ten standardized Medigap plans, labeled A through N. Each plan offers a different level of coverage. The additional Medicare coverage costs can vary based on your location and the insurance or group health plan or hospital insurance company you choose. Unfortunately, you cannot have Medigap and either employer coverage or Cobra coverage.
These policies only work with Original Medicare (Part A and Medicare Part B). If you enroll your spouse in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), you won’t need a Medigap policy since Medicare Advantage plans already offer you and your spouse additional benefits beyond Original Medicare.
Final Take for 65 Year Olds
Turning 65 is a significant milestone for older adults and marks a time for new beginnings. It’s important to prioritize health and well-being during this stage of life. One crucial aspect is taking steps to reduce the risk of dementia, a condition that affects many seniors.
Ensuring you are healthy enough to enjoy your later years involves various aspects, such as maintaining muscle strength and reducing the risk of heart disease. Senior living communities offer a range of services and amenities designed to promote the health and well-being of older adults. They provide opportunities to engage in physical activities and exercise programs that help maintain muscle mass and strength.
Additionally, these communities prioritize home safety, ensuring that older people and their caregivers can confidently navigate their living spaces.
It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide guidance on maintaining optimal health as you age. According to the National Institute on Aging, adopting regular physical activity, consuming a balanced diet, and seeking proper medical care are key factors contributing to a healthy lifestyle among older adults. By incorporating nutritious food sources and staying active, you can reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions and improve overall health and longevity.
Engaging in regular aerobic activities also supports cognitive function and brain health. Furthermore, integrating senior-friendly exercises such as low-impact aerobics helps older adults maintain physical fitness and agility.
Alongside regular exercise, a healthy diet is essential for maintaining optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic conditions like arthritis. By embracing a healthy lifestyle encompassing physical activity and proper nutrition, older adults can set themselves up for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling retirement.