Many people make plans for various aspects of their retirement, but how many plan for their mental health as they grow older? The Journal of the American Society of Neurology reported a study last year showing how to plan to reduce the chances (and severity) of dementia. The report showed that older people who engage in regular exercise experience far less cognitive decline than those who get little or no exercise. The difference in cognitive decline is equivalent to the decline you would expect from ten years of aging.
The study evaluated 876 people older than 50. The participants underwent standard neuropsychological examination, then were re-evaluated five years later. Results showed that particiapnts who reported no or light physical activity had a greater decline in how quickly they could perform simple tasks than those who reported moderate to heavy physical activity.
Among participants who were within the normal range of cognitive skills at the beginning, those who had low phyical activity also experienced greater decline in remembering events, people and circumstances in their past ("episodic memory").
Conclusion: If avoiding dementia associated with hold age, get out and exercise. Try to establish a pricatice of "walk and talk" instead of "meet and eat."
For planning for other aspects of your retirement, including planning for death or disability, see one of the experienced estate planning attorneys at Creighton McLean & Shea PLC.