Living life as a retiree today could well be quite different to what you had planned. Normally when you would think of retirement you'd think of travel, time for relaxation and fun. Taking up new or old hobbies and interests and a time for you as a reward for all our hard work.

It seems that there are very few if any countries that are not being affected by the economic downturn which has caused havoc with many savings plans, retirement investments, and pension plans as well as personal real estate. Security as you may have known it seems to be a thing of the past for many.

There will be those that are younger that may be able to ride the wave of financial instability and hopefully things will improve enough for them to recuperate much of their loss before their retirement years come around. But for many already retired or soon to be retired they will be forced to adjust to their decreased financial means.

Those that will find it difficult to make ends meet in retirement are not just people that have not made adequate plans for their so called golden years. I personally know of a number of people that had diligently been planning for their retirement for many years, only to find their jobs disappear and along with it their pension plans, medical and other benefits. Employees of companies like Nortel are a perfect example of how drastically things can change. One minute you have what is considered a good job and decent income and then the mat is pulled from under your feet and it’s all gone in a flash. Not only the employees are taking the brunt of the losses but those that invested in companies like this too.

What happened to Freedom 55? Going back about 8 years or so while developing a workshop for employees soon to come up for retirement I did a survey of a number of retirees as well as those planning to retire. At that time many of those still in the workplace were planning to retire at age 55, then things seemed to change so quickly that many of those same people, if they were fortunate enough to still have a job stayed put. Instead of finishing work at 55 many are talking of working to 70 years of age or may not plan to retire at all unless forced.

We can do the best that we can to secure our future, even so as we’ve already experienced there are a lot of things that we don’t have control over. So we have to focus on what we can control. Whatever your financial situation is when you become a senior it is important to take extra care of your health both physically and mentally. Its true as we age things do start to give out and change; joints, eyesight, arthritis, blood pressure, cholesterol and so on. If you don’t take care by eating healthy and doing some form of exercise you will age much faster. It’s also important to have hobbies and interests not only does this keep you from being bored but it is essential for your brain. The trick is to prevent or delay health issues and mental issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Outdoor sports like tennis and golf are great for those over 50. As we get older we worry more about breaking bones and our bodies are often not as flexible so most of us don’t want to take up a sport or activity where we are more likely to injure ourselves. Golf offers exercise, fresh air and social activity. To get the most of the exercise try to leave the power cart parked and walk the course whenever you can. If your golf swing is a little rusty, take a few lessons or get some practice with a golf swing trainer like the medicus driver. You’ll soon feel confident and ready to get out on the golf course.

I recently heard that two of the best activities for your brain are table tennis and dancing. You are using both right and left side of your brain, as well its great use of motor skills. There are many other hobbies that are really enjoyable and fun to learn or improve on. Painting is a very popular hobby and many senior’s facilities have introduced painting to the elderly as they find it really helps with mental alertness. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn oil painting but if painting is not your idea of a fun hobby another very popular hobby on the list with the over 50s is playing the guitar you can either take guitar lessons on DVD or go for private lessons. The advantage of learning anything from DVDs is that you can keep going back over and over until you have it.

Having hobbies and activities that you like to do will really help you enjoy your free time. If travel was high on your list once you retire and you find that your finances no longer allow this at least you can have hobbies that do not have to cost too much. Things don’t always turn out the way we hoped but that old saying is still worth keeping in mind “When you are given lemons make lemonade”

Author's Bio: 

Author Bio: Shirley Price is a mother and grandmother living in beautiful Vancouver BC. She is a life coach, NLP practitioner and has written and presented workshops for employees coming up to retirement helping them plan a life in retirement. Shirley is the publisher of a website for the over 50 age group