You Are Now Your Number One Priority


Seniors should prioritize themselves


Photo by Anna Tarazevich 

As you approach your fifties you ought to make yourself your Number One Priority. You could stretch it to perhaps 60. But after 60 for sure you need to be your topmost priority.

 You may well ask "Priority over what?"

 Priority over everybody else … your spouse, your children, your family, extended family, relatives, and friend.

 It’s time for your well-being, physical, mental, and financial to be of utmost importance to you.

 Time to look out for yourself and after yourself! To become self-focused

 Why it is paramount to prioritize yourself?

 Primarily because if you are healthy, fit, and independent, you are less trouble to others.

 And most importantly it is a positive healthy feeling for you to be independent.

 What does prioritizing yourself entail?

 Your Health should be your foremost concern– Annual Medical Check-ups, any other routine testing, and medications all need to be taken care of.

 If the doctor has advised you to come back in 6 months for a test or check-up do it in the 6th month, not in the 8th or 9th month

If you require to be accompanied by your spouse or child or another caregiver ensure it is taken care of. Don't say ‘Oh it is ok. I’m fine, I can wait until your return from your work trip or holiday or whatever else.’

If you have been advised to walk at least 8000 steps daily, make it your priority to walk every day. Maybe not 8000 steps, but at least 4000 to 5000. Everybody else and everything else can wait.

I have recently taken up yoga. I have wanted to do so since my forties. Then I had a demanding job, a school-going child, and elderly parents who needed my attention. Now post-retirement, my beloved parents are no more, and my child is grown up and independent.  My husband and I have started going to yoga classes to improve flexibility and balance, sleep better, and learn to meditate.

Your Finances – A review of your financial position cannot be delayed further if not already done. A call is to be taken if your income, investments, and other financial assets will be able to meet your standard of living. Possible additional streams of income can be considered. A part-time job or a hobby that can be monetized can be pursued if you wish to that is!

Also if you are supporting someone who does not need it you can stop the support or ask them to contribute from their earnings. This includes adult working children staying with you.

If you are working in an organization don’t let them write you off before your actual retirement. It did happen in the company I worked for. Taking it up on a one-to-one basis with higher-ups, and  representations to the HR Dept were required to get some justice

As retirement nears it would be good to check out your post-retirement benefits. In my case, a key benefit was connected to the 'last salary drawn'. So a lot of us in the lead-up to retirement push for promotions and increments. The last squeeze before we exit!

Your (special) needs - Don't ignore or postpone making lifestyle changes you need, because it would inconvenience another member of the household

If God forbid you were to fall and injure yourself you would be inconveniencing them more.

My parents had a large bedroom on the first floor of our two-storied house. It was their private space. It was done up to accommodate their love for books with bookshelves and magazine racks. There was a rather outsized heavy writing table of dark rosewood. My dad would read and write at this desk which was placed next to their double bed.

My mother had been gifted a sewing machine by her father. As she aged she gradually reduced her time at the machine. However, she held on to it as a memory of a father she adored. Their bedroom was full of things precious to them.

 As they aged climbing the stairs to the first floor became a problem. They moved down to the sitting room with their double bed, bookshelves, writing table, and sewing machine. The house itself was over fifty years old. It was impossible to even consider putting in an elevator.  

After about 10 years they needed to support themselves as they walked through the rooms. Horizontal bars were fitted into the walls so that they could hold these and walk. Independently and confidently. Support was most required in the bathroom. A shower chair, a holding bar all around, and non-slip tiles were all the elder-friendly changes.

Priority over immediate family and extended familyYou have reached that stage when you can take only so much discomfort.

No more adjustments at the cost of your comfort.

I have seen not very fit grandmothers babysitting their grandchildren. If you are healthy and have the time, energy, and desire to do so, it’s okay.

But if you cannot check any of these boxes you need to tell your child that you can't do so. They will find other ways for their children to be taken care of. Don't worry about that. It is their problem. As it was yours when you were a young parent.

My husband has a large family and when we visited the family home we would be a large crowd. Sleeping was a stretch with many of us sleeping on the couches or mattresses on the floor. It was fun to stay in one large room and play cards, crack jokes, and chatter late into the night.

Not anymore. We can’t flop down on a mattress on the floor and our bodies don’t curl anymore.  Or rather we can do the former, but getting up is the problem. We have to pick ourselves up in an embarrassing unseemly way.  

Now we stay the night at nearby hotels and during the day at the family home. It works best for us and does not inconvenience anybody.

It is time to prioritize indulging yourself- When you have traveled thus far it is time to treat yourself.

 You have to just go for it!

 And please, no more “What will others think?”

 Like my sister who wanted to the gym for the first time at 60. The intention was to become fit so that she could travel around the world.  She is one of the oldest members at the gym and clocks in regularly. Post-sixty she has traveled extensively including to Antarctica and the Artic!

 Or like my neighbor who after she was widowed bought herself a new sedan and employed a chauffeur as she didn’t drive. She regularly went to the movies along with a friend or two and thereafter had a meal in a restaurant before heading home. Of course, there was talk about the merry rich widow.

 Last Christmas, a diabetic friend was fretting that he couldn't eat his favorite plum cake at Christmas anymore. I told him that one slice of cake is not going to kill him.

 I cajoled him further saying “Now more than ever we need to give in to such small indulgences!”  I am happy to say that he did buy and eat the cake he wanted to on Christmas day.

 The article is I hope a step towards owning and preparing for our senior years.

 If you would like to add to this dear fellow Senior, please give your comments in the response section.


**Originally published by the author in

Most Read

9 Key Facts on Income Tax in India that You Should Know About

Female Urinary Incontinence: Medical Condition Affecting Elderly Women-Causes & Treatment- Contributed By Dr. Anuradha Manoharan MBBS, MD (Obs and Gyn) FRCOG

Enhancing Mental Wellness in Older Adults by Dr Vani Rao, MBBS, MD**