By Wilma Bedford
The current generation of retirees have the advantage over those younger than themselves that they probably made provision for retirement. In their lifetime they must have experienced some set-backs that rendered them more resilient.
Financial instability, investment uncertainties, the rising cost of living, medical expenses and possibly having to attend to age-related illnesses are currently the elderly’s main concerns and will also be the case for those on the brink of retirement.
Many retirees own their own homes and have no bond instalments. Their finances are augmented by a nest-egg, a pension fund and medical cover, and things are going well for them because they are not dependent on a job and a monthly income. However, for prospective retirees it will demand fine planning and a mind shift so as to enjoy a comfortable retirement.
The new normal will require financial literacy so that the retiree can be stable and flexible, and can remain in control of his/her finances, as well as his/her pension plan. It will also be necessary – and advisable – to postpone retirement as long as possible, which could be possible with the developments in technology and the current home-office tendency.
Where retirees might have resisted technology, it has now become essential so as to stay in contact with others or find entertainment. In future the elderly will use telemedical services, and manage their banking in a way they would have never have imagined possible. Online purchases and home-deliveries are becoming the norm, virtual happy hour, online friendship clubs and making video-calls to family and friends in other countries will be the designated way of communication and contact.
With lockdown many retirees have lost their sense of purpose, which is just as important as health, family and finances for a fulfilled retired life, but many are finding a purpose in reaching out to and caring for others. Isolation and depression will still remain a problem, but already there is an awareness in communities about the emotional wellbeing of senior citizens. There will also be a revival of innovative ideas on how to make life more pleasant for the elderly and creating an awareness of how to limit the long-term physical and psychological harm of Covid-19 restrictions. Covid-safe social activities and physical exercises and ways to cultivate healthier lifestyles to combat or control divertible health conditions will be readily available to seniors.
More people will grow old in the homes of children or family and housing of and caring for senior citizens will have to be reconsidered. Covid-19 has resulted in the elderly becoming segregated and isolated, both of which are physically and emotionally unhealthy. There will be a tendency towards more home-care that is cheaper than full-time residence in care-giving institutions, and will provide job opportunities to many.
Holidays will also take on a new appearance, with more time with family or week-end break-aways and, given the excessive travelling costs and danger of infection, local travel will replace overseas trips to avoid infection. Another normal will be to present proof of vaccination or a Covid-free certificate at recreational resorts, but as research develops, it will become possible for the elderly to do a Covid test from home beforehand without any hassle.
Another social order will come into existence, built on healthier relationships with family and friends – those you trust. Not only the elderly but also the younger generation will reflect on priorities and what is important in life. Covid highlights the idea of a person’s mortality and that life is short. Old and young also reflect on how they wish to spend their last days and plan their passing. However morbid it might sound, planning for death helps the elderly to live a meaningful and full life in the last lap, and helps those who stay behind to gain closure.
Familiarise yourself with the new normal: Become financially literate and be in control of your finances, look after your own health, become technologically literate, plan where and how you want to live independently as far as possible and promote good relationships with your family and friends.
The Impact of Covid-19 virus on South African Retirement funds
Covid-19 And The Future Of Aging: The Finances Of Retirees
What the New Normal for Retirement Looks Like
Maryalene LaPonsie. https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2015/09/04/what-the-new-normal-for-retirement-looks-like
What Seniors Can Expect as Their New Normal in a Post-Vaccine World
By Bruce Horovitz August 3, 2020 https://khn.org/news/what-seniors-can-expect-as-their-new-normal-in-a-post-vaccine-world/