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The Unspoken Challenges of Life in Retirement

Senior Tips  |  June 24, 2021

Let’s take a moment to discuss some of the challenges that seniors experience in their retirement years, a time that is often over-sensationalized as being fun, eventful, and relaxing (well, at least that’s what we hope it will be). At this point, we have lived most of our lives. Our kids have grown and likely have families of their own. We may even have great/grandkids running about. Now it’s our time to sit back and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time – until obstacles pop up out of the blue, one after another, complicating matters for us.

It’s hard to see these challenges coming. Few of us are truly prepared for our retirement life and all it entails. You may not know about these obstacles, and so it might come as a surprise to you until you’ve had that lived experience (or, unless you read this blog!).

As with all things, retirement has its perks and it has its snags. Let’s discuss some of the challenges we commonly come across at a certain point in our lives.

A young boy and an elderly man going for a run together; this discusses the ability of age, despite what others think about seniors in retirement
Defying ageism, one step at a time

Ageism becomes a concern

It’s a form of discrimination directed toward those of us in their golden years. Sometimes it’s implicit and hard to detect. However, sometimes it’s so obvious that you want to lash out and teach those young hooligans a lesson in respect. But it isn’t always intentional, and it isn’t always coming from a place of ill-will.

It might be as simple as a youngster respectfully holding open a door for you.  Or, it could also be a kind gesture, such as an offer to help lift your bags at the airport. But it could also be an assumption about your health or abilities. An example of this is when a car rental company declines to rent out a vehicle to you. Stereotypes will play out through attitudes and behaviours, and so it is important to know when to accept a respectful courtesy and when to call out a disingenuous harm.

A person holding a dart, readying to throw it at a dartboard; a metaphor for yet another unspoken challenge in retirement
Health has points too; the higher the score, the better

Health becomes a goal

Moreover, in your youth, you were invincible; you could party from dusk till dawn, drink like a sailor, eat fried food by the bucket, stay up the following day and then go to work the graveyard shift, all without a second thought. However, your body is now more susceptible to injuries and illness.  It is less effective at healing itself. This is now the time to part ways with the old habits and welcome the new (good) ones in their place. After all, health and happiness tend to depend upon one another.

Our mental health is one of the faculties that becomes noticeably affected once we reach a certain age. Alzheimer’s disease, as well as dementia, are major health concerns in North America, primarily for the elderly. It can be a gradual decline, and it may not be noticeable until it’s at an advanced stage.

Moreover, depression is a common illness for those who live alone, for those struggling to maintain their independent lifestyle, and for those who suffer from injuries or illness. It may begin to feel overwhelming, so giving up can seem appealing.

It is therefore important to consult your doctor on a regular basis, keep active with physical and intellectual endeavors, maintain a socially active lifestyle, and keep to a healthy and consistent routine to keep such unspoken challenges of life in check during your retirement.

 

Physical condition is in decline

You’re feeling tired, and maybe lacking in energy, but it’s only halfway through the day. That can happen. Once you reach a certain age, your body can show signs of decline. This challenge is to be expected; it is also to be respected, and therefore acted upon during your retirement years.

You might not finish first place in that charity marathon you always run. Also, you may not have the stamina to finish your usual hike. One might even wince after making a sudden movement. The hands may suffer from chronic pain. These signs may be telling you that you have to take it easy on yourself. By no means is this an admission of defeat; no, you are still capable, just maybe not to the same extent. So keep fit, respect your body’s limitations, and play it safe.

A young lady preparing a meal in a kitchen; this eases the challenge of having to cook for oneself in retirement
Companion caregiver helps out with food prep and other chores so you won’t have to

It becomes harder to do everything by yourself

As you reach a certain age, you might need specific care from health professionals – or it might just be helpful to have one around. They help you with a range of things, such as your day-to-day activities and chores, which then lets you focus your efforts on the things that matter. It’s all about maintaining your autonomy as long as you can so that you can instead focus on what brings you joy.

In lieu of having to do so yourself, Caregivers can perform a lot of activities that you or your family members usually do. This includes: mild housekeeping; cooking; grocery shopping; transporting you to/from medical appointments; driving you to visit friends, or to attend social activities like church or golf; and help you with hobbies and interests.

Personal Support Workers can help when it becomes challenging for you to perform your daily activities of living, such as grooming, bathing, etc. If injuries or illness arise, a Nurse can also be called to your home to care for you in the short-term as you focus on healing.

Beyond this, there are retirement homes and other facilities that can offer the lifestyle that you want, and the services that you need.

You’ve been independent for so long, so there’s nothing wrong with asking for some help when you need it most. Spending on your health, on your lifestyle, has returns that are worth their weight in gold. As such, this helps address some of the unspoken challenges of life in retirement.

A road sign stating "the end" overlooking a seaside cliff; this is maybe the final challenge of retirement
The end of one path could be the beginning of another

End of life becomes a pressing concern

Death is a grim reality that is inevitable. It is something we know to expect, yet we’re usually unprepared for. For many, it is common to think about this during the senior years in retirement. This happens as you are increasingly spending time at medical offices and hospitals, attending funerals of friends and relatives, and spending a lot of time alone.

The experience can be scary, and it can leave you feeling down. As you age, it is important to hold on to your relationships and communities, cherish every moment you can with them, and support one another proactively through these times. It can be helpful to plan for it with a lawyer and consult health professionals. We also recommend discussing your wishes with friends and families, as this helps manage expectations about this final rite of passage.

If humanity is a race, then life is a struggle to the end. The quality of our lives often rests upon the investments we make in proactively maintaining our health, and so there is no time like the present to get started on retirement planning!

 

Comfort Keepers Helps

Comfort Keepers senior care of Hamilton, Kitchener, and Waterloo

We have been helping seniors lead healthy, active, and enjoyable lifestyles for over two decades in North America. We understand the challenges of the golden years, we know what our seniors are capable of achieving, and we offer companionship and care that helps empower seniors to sustain their autonomy, maintain good health, and enjoy their time in retirement.

Our trained caregivers can make your day-to-day life easier. They help you make the most of your time, rendering it a relaxing and enjoyable experience. At Comfort Keepers Kitchener and Waterloo senior care, we can help you achieve your tasks so that you can focus on the things that matter. After all, we make it our mission to help our clients find joy by elevating the human spirit.

Call us today for more information on how we can serve your needs by helping with many of the unspoken challenges of life in retirement!

 

 

 

Photo credits:

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Photo by Lisa Wall on Unsplash

Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Photo by Patrick Perkins  on Unsplash

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