“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” This sage advice was once famously shared by American professional baseball player, the late Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra. While Yogi may have been referring to sports strategy at the time, his wisdom applies to anything in life – the better we plan, the more we can expect positive outcomes.
Preparation is as important as ever as we transition into our senior years – a time when many of us will experience retirement, changing family dynamics and changing health needs. To help you plan for this important life chapter, here are some key considerations to think about early, so you can age the way you choose to.
Planning for retirement
Making the decision to retire is a big step in any person’s life, as many of us spend more than half our lives working. Once our usual 9-5 routine changes, there are many adjustments to be made, to ensure we continue to maintain social connections, mental health and activity.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, build friendships and maintain some structure in your life after retirement. Whether you’re interested in gardening, mentoring or dog walking, there’s a volunteer role to suit your interests and availability.
Visit to find out more.
Seeking out opportunities to continue learning is so important to keep your mind healthy and active later in life, but it’s also a great way to be social and make connections with new people. There’s a broad range of option to explore, such as University of the Third Age , which offers a fantastic range of courses for senior Victorians, where you can continue your education by taking up a new subject or explore a new field of study.
If you’re a green thumb, you could also consider joining a gardening club - check out the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria for information on clubs and societies, plus their extensive calendar of events.
For more ideas on how to get out there and meet new people, visit Seniors Online's 'Volunteering and Retirement' page.
We know that maintaining a fit and active lifestyle in retirement is vital to staying on top of our health. Many neighbourhood houses offer some great and affordable fitness classes, such as yoga and pilates. You can also get out and about by joining a walking group.
Find a walking group near you by visiting .
Planning for the time you might need support to make decisions
There are some incredibly important decisions we must make as we age. It’s equally important that we make our wishes known to our loved ones. For example, what our expectations are if we become more frail, what care we want, and if our financial and legal affairs are in order.
These can of course be challenging conversations, but they are vital because someone you love and trust may be the person who ends up having to make a decision on your behalf. When we prepare for this scenario, we can empower our loved ones with the knowledge of what we want, helping them to make the right decisions, even in challenging situations.
Enduring powers of attorney
Part of this preparation means appointing an enduring power of attorney – that is, choosing a trusted person in your life who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to, such as where you live and how you pay bills.
Thinking about what decisions we might want to make in the future and having conversations about this with the people you trust can be difficult. But if you plan early, get the information you need, and listen to your instincts, you can plan so your wishes are respected when you are no longer able to make decisions.
To get you started, check out the ‘Your Voice - Trust your choice’ guide, which I developed with the Office of the Public Advocate.
It’s a plain English guide that covers things like how to choose someone you trust to make decisions for you, how to decide what powers to give, how to decide when the powers will start, and some other helpful tips.
The guide is available at .
Planning for care
An unavoidable fact of life is that as we get older, our health needs are bound to change. This may mean that you may need some extra support around your home at some stage. With this in mind, it’s a wise idea to familiarise yourself with the support options available to senior Victorians, so you can choose the right option for you, if and when the time comes.
Home and Community Care
To support more older Victorians to live independently at home, the Home and Community Care (HACC) provides basic home care services, tailored to your individual needs and wants. This includes services like gardening and home maintenance, counselling, meal delivery, and connecting you with allied health services like podiatry and physiotherapy – designed to help you live at home longer.
Home Care Packages
For people with more complex needs, the Commonwealth Government provides Home Care , offering a higher level of service to provide you with greater support. Home Care Packages also provide a coordinated approach to the delivery of your help at home.
Depending on the level of Home Care Package you receive, you can get assistance with a range of different services such as bathing and hygiene, nursing, food preparation, managing certain health conditions, laundry, transport, social outings, and home modifications to make your home more accessible.
Residential care options
If your home isn’t appropriate to live in later in life, you may want to consider residential care options. This includes respite, retirement villages, supported residential services and residential aged care services. There are aged care options that provide continuous supported care ranging from help with daily tasks and personal care to 24-hour nursing care.
The Commonwealth Government is responsible for the provision of residential aged care services in Victoria. To find out more about residential aged care, visit the My Aged Care or call the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422.
Reviewed 04 April 2023