In 2014 the annual average of retiring Americans was 4 million. For them, it meant the beginning of a new life. After many years of working, the time has finally come to shift from work life to home life.
The day they all have been yearning finally came – no more mad rush to the office each day, no more stress from meeting objectives and deadlines, no more pressure from subordinates and colleagues, no more demanding bosses to deal with.
For them, retirement is the beginning of a perfect life. Or is it?
For many, especially those who did not prepare for retirement, the euphoria is short-lived. Very soon they will be faced with very serious concerns common to a lot of seniors. These are:
At retirement, you stop earning, yet continue spending. And if you don’t have a large enough retirement savings, investments or pension plans, money issues will stare at you directly in the face.
For example, according to the Employee and Benefits Research Institute and Greenwald and Associates, 28% of Americans say they have less than $1,000.00 in savings and investments for retirement, 1 in 3 Americans say they have no retirement savings and 56% say they have less than $10,000.00 saved for retirement.
For them, money is a very real issue. Some of them will be driven out of their homes into shelters for the homeless, live off meager social security benefits, and line up in soup kitchens in order to survive.
2. Feeling Useless:
Suddenly left with nothing to do, at retirement a lot of seniors feel lost, useless, adrift and without a purpose.
This is especially true for those whose children have grown up and moved away to start their own lives.
According to psychologists, feeling useless is a mindset probably fed by negative beliefs dating back to one’s childhood.
Younger people can easily snap out of it but not seniors. More often than not, they need some support to make them feel important, needed and useful. They need help so they can find themselves back to the mainstream.
As we grow old, our social circle shrinks due to medical issues, death or relocation. And away from the regular interaction in the work environment, they suddenly feel alone and isolated.
Loneliness is one of the major issues faced by seniors that cannot be taken lightly as it can lead to various physical and mental issues. It can even lead to early death.
Live alone seniors and those with active social life in their adult years are particularly susceptible. They, too, need help in establishing a social circle they can identify and blend with.
Loneliness and feelings of isolation can be very debilitating.
4. Neglect and Abuse:
Elderly abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual, exploitation, neglect and abandonment.
Rough estimates show that 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of abuse. Another study shows 1 in 14.
What is sad is that the perpetrators are mostly children, other family members and spouses. Some are perpetrated by nursing home staff, assisted living facilities, and other types of facilities for seniors.
According to the NCOA (National Council on Aging), approximately 92% of seniors have at least 1 chronic disease, and 77% have at least two.
The most common are heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, which account for two-thirds of all deaths among seniors each year.
These diseases also account for roughly 75% of all public expenditures for health care. Ironically, only 1% is spent on improving people’s overall health.
At retirement, most seniors are left to fend off for their health problems, adding more pressure to their money issues.
6. Moving from one’s home:
Roughly 12.5 million elderly Americans live alone. For them, there is no place like home. And they don’t want to move; they prefer to live the rest of their lives at home.
Unfortunately, circumstances may dictate that they move to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. It a choice usually made by family and which they dislike. For them, it is an end-of-life situation.
It means leaving behind familiar surroundings, places, and people and be with strangers. Some easily adapt to their present reality, but others can’t.
I have long retired from my job and currently living alone in my home with a house helper to attend to my needs.
I am very familiar with most of these concerns, particularly money. So far my children have seen to it that I am well-provided and they haven’t subjected me to abuse or asked me to move to a nursing home.
But when you are old and depending on someone, you could never tell when the rug is pulled off your feet. I am still covered financially until the end of the year. That means I have to find a way of replenishing my fast-dwindling resources. Fortunately, I have the skills and healthy enough to do that.
Some seniors are not as lucky as I am (if you can call it that). They don’t have much room to wiggle out of these concerns. And these are very serious concerns. They can very well transform ones retirement from being idyllic to a living hell.
What about you? What are your concerns? Please join the discussion.