Major Issues Seniors Face Each Day
Do you know that four million working Americans retire each year?
Yes, for them, the day has finally come to change clothes – from office to retirement.
On their last day of office, they all ask themselves the familiar question, “Now what?”
The answer to this question surprised marketwatch.com which did an informal survey of 700 retired Americans: 37% continued working, 14% went into business, 11% have traveled, and 9% continued studying. Only a measly 8% indulged in leisure.
If anything, this tells you that retirement is not what people think it is – of taking life easily and leisurely
This tells that retirement does not change anything. If there is, it is simply a change in activity.
But most of all, this survey supports the fact that only very few retirees can engage in leisurely activities. The rest, like you and I, face issues we have to grapple with each day, like:
Spending does not stop upon retirement. You still spend. And if you have not saved enough for retirement, money becomes a very serious issue.
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.
I have money issues, too, but I would rather keep them under the rug because I have learned to get by with my needs, not my wants.
Money issues are exacerbated if you have health issues, as well. You feel sicker if you have no money. LOL!
And health issues are very common among elderly people like you. In fact, 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 require very expensive medications and account for two-thirds of all deaths among seniors each year.
Can you see the point now?
In 2010, 28% of Americans aged 65 and above, lived alone. Though nothing is said if they were lonely or not, they are predisposed to suffer loneliness and its unhealthy consequences.
It can lead to serious physical and mental conditions such as heart disease, depression, and dementia. It can lead to malnourishment or obesity. In severe cases, it can lead to death.
The irony is that of all issues elderly face at retirement, loneliness is highly controllable.
4. Loss of Purpose:
At retirement, you are suddenly left with nothing to do, and nobody to interact with on a daily basis like you did while working.
Life suddenly becomes a vacuum, without meaning and purpose.
This is especially true if your children have grown up and moved away to start their own lives.
Like loneliness, loss of purpose is very dangerous to body and mind. Both can do you severe damage.
According to psychologists, feeling useless is a mindset probably fed by negative beliefs dating back to one’s childhood.
Feelings of aimlessness visit me every now and then. But I have learned to read its symptoms and immediately do something to get out of its embrace.
4. Neglect and Abuse:
About 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and above, experience abuse and neglect in one form or another. Some estimates run as 5 million seniors are abused each year.
It can either be physical, emotional, financial, sexual and many other forms that put an elderly at some disadvantage relative to the abuser.
What is worrisome is that in 60% of the cases the perpetrators are family members like spouses or children.
While some states have laws against elderly abuse, law enforcers face difficulties in implementing them because the victims themselves are often uncooperative. They would rather suffer in silence than put a family member on the spot.
I sometimes have an exchange of sharp words with my firebrand of a daughter, but so far I haven’t experienced any form of abuse.
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 am very familiar with these issues, particularly money. But I have also learned to accept them in a pragmatic way.
I have learned that some issues are manageable, even correctable, while others are way beyond my control if I walk the road alone.
Fortunately, my kids are with me in my journey. But other issues require facing squarely by myself.
That’s the essence of life, I guess. Nothing is given to you on a silver platter. You have to crawl your way out and up every inch of the way.
When I retired several years ago, I saw nothing but red roses before my eyes. Sadly they wilted before I can enjoy their aroma.
But I survived, though my wife did not. She died more than eight years ago.
My life has been a series of ups and downs. But so is everybody else’s. In hindsight, I am still very happy and glad of having retired when I did.
There is a certain magic in retiring – a magic that you make, not by somebody else.
Please share with others seniors to help them out these issues which, I am sure, hound them every day.