Under the golden sun

The health benefits of retiring in Spain

Under the golden sun

Each year, hundreds of expats make the decision to retire in Spain, and who can blame them? The land of sun, sea and sangria promises an excellent quality of life with affordable living costs, and cheap flights to other places in Europe make it the ideal location from which to go exploring from. After all, isn’t that what retirement is for?

This is the time when you finally get the chance to see the world and enjoy yourself, while ensuring your health stays in good shape by eating well and leading a relaxed lifestyle. So if you’re tempted by promises of white sandy beaches and copious amounts of tapas, but are yet to take the plunge, here’s some reasons why retiring in Spain may be the best decision you’ve ever made.

The climate and cuisine

Spain gets more sunshine per year on average than any other European country, and the Costa Blanca on the Mediterranean apparently has one of the healthiest micro-climates in the world,  so you’ll never have to worry about low vitamin D levels ever again.

As long as you mostly avoid the greasy expat restaurants and fast food places, you will no doubt start to feel the health benefits of the Spanish cuisine first hand. Concocted from copious amounts of fish, olive oil and vegetables, these are all vital components of the traditional mediterranean diet which is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world, and is reputed to be the reason why so many Mediterraneans live such long and able lives.

High quality healthcare

Spain’s healthcare system have been ranked among the world’s best by the World Health Organization, and foreign residents are entitled to the same access as Spanish citizens to national services. The hospitals are well equipped and the majority of medical students choose to go into the national service rather than the private sector, which means that standards of treatment are very high as there is so much competition for positions.

Although citizens from the EU or EEA countries have access to Spanish healthcare through agreements with their own countries, citizens from most non-EU countries must provide documentation of a private healthcare plan in order to obtain a residence visa. Even if you don’t automatically require a separate health plan, it’s worth noting that many Spaniards also take out private insurance, to make sure they’re covered for treatment and services not included in the Spanish system and to minimise waiting times as 50% of all patients in Spain wait over three months for specialist treatment on the national service. 

Living home and away

Many retirees also prefer to split their time between Spain and their homeland, which can make it more difficult to ensure that you’re covered for healthcare in both countries due to certain legal stipulations . In this instance, taking out a separate international insurance policy will keep you covered year-round; even when visiting other countries. Taking out a policy with a company like Cigna Global  will also ensure you receive treatment instantly; taking away the added worry of long waiting times which can create unnecessary anxiety for the over 65s.  

The culture

Spain is the country where the siesta was conceived, so we don’t have to tell you that the Spanish know how to relax. The Spaniards are also incredibly sociable, and happily welcome expats into the fold. High levels of stress and anxiety can impact on your physical health, so when moving to Spain you can definitely worry less about your blood pressure levels; unless you make the mistake of driving through Barcelona in rush hour of course.

Take the plunge

So there you have it, not only will you get to experience a new culture and make new friends, not to mention give all your friends and family the excuse to go on holiday to visit you each year, retiring in Spain may actually help make your golden years happier, healthier and more relaxed than you’ve felt in years. Viva España!

Further reading

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