If you’ve listened, watched, or attended General Conference the last couple of years, you’ll probably notice a trend that is becoming increasingly more common: the call for senior couples to serve missions.
I have to admit, my stomach always gets a few butterflies when I hear the Brethren talk about that because I know my parents fall into that age bracket of able senior couples. Is it bad that I’m a little selfish and want my mom to myself? Yes, it probably is. But as the call has become more common, so have the conversations in my family about my parents getting ready to serve a mission.
What happens to dad’s business? What about the weddings and births that will happen while mom is away? Are they financially ready and able to retire? How is their health? What happens when they come home from their mission and are retired? Are they ready for retired life?
There is a great book in stores right now that answers all of these questions: Embracing the Future: Preparing for Life after Retirement. Roy Prete, the author, gives some great tips on all the different phases of retired life as members of the Church, and specific to my parents, what to expect as they prepare for a mission as a retired couple.
A few tips Prete shares (that come straight from the chairman of Missionary Health Services for the Church) for couples getting ready to serve missions include:
· Start eating a healthy diet now – don’t wait until you get your mission call.
· Keep your weight down.
· Start and maintain a daily exercise program.
· Keep immunizations up-to-date.
· Have regular check-ups and screening tests.
· Go as soon after retirement as you can, while you still enjoy good health.
John H. Groberg, one contributor to the book, adds two reminders:
· Great blessings are reserved for missionary service.
· Grandchildren (and daughters who miss their moms) will be strengthened through your example.
Preparation is key in serving a mission, and there are a lot of different areas of focus. But the best thing I’ve learned through this experience is staying close to the Spirit to be assured how wonderful missions are for senior couples!
For more information about Prete's book, Embracing the Future: Preparing for Life after Retirement, click here. It can be purchased at Deseret Book.