Life after retirement


What images or feelings come to mind when you hear that term? Is retirement something you anticipate? Or something you fear?

As with many topics, retiring means different things to different people. For some older adults, retirement means more freedom and the ability to focus on activities for which there was little time in the past. For others, however, retirement can sometimes represent a break with familiar ties and a resulting sense of isolation.

With these thoughts in mind, we asked some of the residents at Luther Crest, a Diakon senior living community in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to tell us a few things they learned about retirement and how their daily routines and life in general changed.

If there is one common thread, it’s the idea life is what you make it and that activities such as volunteering and taking up interests for which there was limited time in the past can be key to successful later years.

Here are some of the thoughts residents shared with us:

•    It is important to have hobbies, interests and a desire to help others when you retire. One of the things I can do now is not just think about things I like or want to do; I can actually follow up on those things and do them.
•    Retirement got boring after two months, so I went back to work part-time.
•    I learned it can be lonely. But it can also be fun.
•    We learned it was better to prepare for retirement early because you don’t really know what lies ahead.
•    I feel financially secure because we saved for 30 years to establish retirement funds. Sometimes I missed the things we “gave up” to save for retirement. Now, I have no regrets. I am happy to know my children will not be burdened by my retirement expenses.
•    After I retired, I learned how to quilt and I made 70 quilts in 10 years.
•    Retiring means I have more time to travel, which is a real blessing.
•    I’m busier than when I worked! I volunteer, get to spend more time with friends and I can do more of the fun things such as reading and knitting that I had to put aside when I was in the working world.
•    I’ve returned to class to learn new things.
•    I exercise more.
•    Since I retired I have less stress and more time to enjoy life.
•    I lived alone for 10 years and realized I was a lonely old lady who craved companionship. I want to be with people.
•    My daily routine is less demanding. I get to sleep in!
•    I have tried a number of things I never had time for.
•    My health limits some of the things I want to do. It takes a willingness to adjust and change to this life style.
•    Retirement can be wonderful—if you prepare for it. It does not just happen. We need to work at giving ourselves a good life.
•    I do the same things that I have always loved doing—just more often!

If you’re retired, do you have something to add to the discussion? Or if not, what do you think of when someone discusses retirement?

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