Saturday, March 6, 2010

Why do senior citizens find it difficult to adjust after retirement?

Many studies have shown that nearly one third of all retirees find it difficult to adjust with their family members after retirement. The reasons are easy to see.


Retirement involves change in status, change in income levels and change in standard of life. Any known change needs to be planned for proper handling. Most retirees do not plan for retirement. They do not foresee changes. This is the single most reason for many post retirement blues.  When changes (appear to) strike them suddenly they are perplexed and find it difficult to move on with ease.


In the family circles, he is no more the main breadwinner and his importance diminishes. He is relatively free all the time and is therefore treated lightly. He is no more important and his ability of wielding power over others is less or nil. He feels insecure, unwanted and worthless.

A sense of emptiness, worry and boredom engage the minds of seniors. His expectations from others increase instead of decreasing.


Society also falls a prey to ageism related victimization of retirees. A senior citizen is mentally at a loss, frustrated and looks upon others with suspicion. They tend to apply the same yardstick in their dealings with others as if they are still employed. Unexpected results irritate and annoy them.


Some senior citizens are also adamant and full of ego. They get hurt easily. They won't let go. This attitude also adds to maladjustments with family members. As a consequence of these factors, difficulties arise in maintaining harmonious relationships.


Having seen the reasons what should various stakeholders we do to overcome or mitigate the problems?


All pre-retirement training programs must include behavioral aspects of dealing with people effectively. Seniors must learn not to interfere with others. They may give advice only when called for. Members of the society must be sensitized to look at seniors in a friendly way.


Recently I saw an advertisement issued by family members on the occasion of a person retiring. They were assuring the retiree that a great time after retirement is awaiting him. What a splendid way to celebrate retirement? Such advertisements will slowly change others as well. Newspapers may give concession for such advertisements connected with retirement. Senior Citizens associations may sponsor such advertisements, while trying to enroll fresh retirees into their SCAs.


By conscious practice any retiree can accept the changes, develop contentment through self introspection and reflection. That will help him adjust easily.

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