The Canberra Times

50 Plus Lifestyle and LivingAdvertising Feature

Check your crystal ballAdvertising Feature

NOT WORKING: Retirement can signal lifestyle changes you never thought to factor in. The morning teas and leisurely games of golf, even art classes, may give way to childminding and school pickups perhaps. Photo: Shutterstock

So you think you're ready to retire? It's such a wrench to reshape your entire life, probably something you haven't contemplated since you said "I do".

At 68, Vera and Ken both retired six months apart. Vera wanted to travel, as she had been an Intrepid Travel guide all her working life.

She also had an active Etsy store because sewing was her real compulsion and she couldn't imagine having the luxury of hibernating in her sewing room, all day!

Ken's career was spent with livestock, and their son followed in his footsteps, so he could continue the odd day dabbling if need be.

We thought we had planned for retirement really well."

- Retirees Vera and Ken

"We thought we had planned for retirement really well, discussing those leisure days ahead with all the family. We checked with the accountant about what sort of income we would need too," Vera said.

There is a lot more to consider before making big decisions the accountant also told them. This list is a good starting point.

What will your life look like now

  • Do you want to stay in your existing home
  • Do you want to relocate, do a sea or tree change
  • Are you going to travel overseas or around Australia
  • What social groups would you like to join
  • Are you going to do regular volunteer days/work for an organisation.

Set up for the good life when you retire

Your lifestyle choices could depend on things like:

  • How robust your health is
  • Whether you own your home or not
  • Just what does it cost in annual house maintenance
  • Does your home need major renovations
  • Are your family and community connections important

Staying mobile when you retire

For some people, retirement means less travel, so factor in things like:

  • The real costs of running your car
  • Is there public transport close to your home

It turned out Vera and Ken were comfortably well off which came as a surprise to both of them.

But, even though they had retired, they were busier than ever.

The one snag they hadn't allowed for was their inability to say no.

No to babysitting any of their 10 grandchildren, and no, to Ken working out on the farm.

Vera and Ken say their real 'retirement' is on the cards for next year.

In touch with your worldAdvertising Feature

MOBILITY: A scooter, walking frame or electric wheelchair are the keys to your continued mobility, and essential to give you the freedom to visit friends and family on a regular basis. Photo: Shutterstock

Getting a mobility scooter can be an adventure or one big headache.

If you are the type of person who relishes homework before putting your dollars on the counter, you could be a long time doing so, and you and the salesman may be in need of more than a scooter by the time you have finished.

If you are in the tribe my 80-year-old dad belongs to i.e. the impulse buying club, then prepare for some disastrous consequences, or ... it could go swimmingly just like his purchase did.

My dad was struggling to get around after a few faceplants in the garden and a stomping of cockroaches in the kitchen. Broken bones in several strategic places ensued and they healed slowly.

This made him move out of the armchair very reluctantly.

After his latest fall, the walker became his good mate, but he couldn't go far before being so puffed he had to camp out on the footpath for a while, to get enough breath to struggle home again. So his world and confidence shrank.

Not happy with that, he decided something had to be done, and so to the homework.

Mobility aids, including electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters provide people with limited mobility greater independence and self-reliance. Both of these options allow the user to undertake numerous daily activities, such as heading to the shops or visiting friends and family.

Here are just a few of the factors the salesman thought we should consider.

Mobility scooter

Mobility scooters are designed for people who may be fairly mobile around the home, but who find it difficult to walk long distances. There are a wide range of scooters available, from smaller models that can fit into the boot of a car, through to heavy duty mobility scooters that are able to navigate steep hills and travel long distances on a single charge.

Electric wheelchairs

An electric wheelchair's smaller turning circle means they are more suited for use indoors. And if you're using it at home, chances are you'll spend a great deal of time on it, because of it's many comfortable seating options, including by reclining the backrest and raising or lowering the foot rest.

Operation and manoeuvrability - electric wheelchairs are operated using a joystick mounted on the armrest, requiring less upper body mobility to control. Mobility scooters are operated using a tiller handle and will require both hands to steer and control.

Speed and distance - If distance is a concern, a mobility scooter may be a preferable option. A robust mobility scooter can travel at speeds of up to 10km/h and distances of up to 50km on a single charge.

The user can undertake daily activities, such as heading to the shops or visiting friends and family.

Acceptance - While the best mobility device for you is one that gives you the optimum level of independence and support, there is a range of models available. Choose from sleek, foldable travel mobility scooters to scooters that resemble motorcycles.