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.
For older adults who live in rural areas—such as Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and who prefer not to venture far from home, PrimeTime Health offers classes in a number of community settings, reaching people where they live.
For example, our “Healthy Steps” classes take place in a variety of community settings, including senior community centers and even department stores. As a result, I have seen so many people benefit from this program designed to reduce people’s chances of falling. Developed by the state Department of Aging and the University of California at Berkley, the program is a proven way to reduce this risk, with the two-session series including a personal risk assessment, a balance evaluation, exercise and a home safety checklist. Think of the significant impact a serious fall can have on a frail older adult—and you can easily visualize how important such a program can be!
In our area, we also offer a “Healthier Living with Diabetes” class that runs for six weeks. Brand-new to Schuylkill County in 2016, the program, which was developed by Stanford University, covers topics such as managing symptoms, exercise, medication and working with health-care providers.
Even in retirement many people remain active in their communities, especially as volunteers. Our Diakon Senior Living Services campuses are home to many of these caring individuals. Two Twining Village residents offer their experiences on why they share their time and talents with others in need of compassion and connection…
I really had no background or training in volunteering when I came to Twining Village in May 2014, but I’ve been glad to be able to serve. I actually started as soon as I got here.
I visit the residents who have Alzheimer’s disease or similar memory-related illnesses and say the Rosary and the Our Father with them. But I don’t just say it and leave; I stay until I make contact. I touch their arms or look into their eyes. They may not be able to talk, but I’m sure many of them appreciate knowing they have someone there just for them.