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Thinking About Retirement: Perceptions of Retirement

Life expectancy is nowadays considerably higher than it was in the previous century thanks to the development of healthcare and society as such. Today the part of the elderly population has grown due to a decrease in fertility rates in developed countries. In the U.S., almost 15% of the population is retired, which means they play a significant role in the economy and life of communities (Retirement is all on you, 2020). When it comes to the personal choice of whether or not to retire, multiple aspects must be considered, including how a lack of activity and communication influences one’s health. The perception of retirement varies, but it is vital to create a stimulating and inviting environment for the elders of a community.

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To begin with, one choosing the future paths at the elder age must consider the fact that retirement may cause long-term effects on health. For instance, as Heller-Sahlgren (2017) claims in her study, in a couple of years after retirement, individuals are more likely to experience age-related mental health problems. Partially it may be related to the lack of challenging tasks that people usually face at work. Hence, it is vital to find new objectives and activities that not only entertain but also develop one’s skills and knowledge. Volunteer projects for retirees of different spheres from music to nature preservation can provide such an opportunity as well as new career paths. Hopefully, when I reach the age of retirement, I will be able to follow a literature career with all the experience I will have gained by then. If this is not enough, there is always an option of discovering the world.

Another point to be made is that communication also impacts the conditions of retirees. First, it seems evident that involvement in family life may enrich the day-to-day routine of the elderly. However, this scenario becomes controversial: retirees are afraid to be seen as a burden to their relatives while the latter do not always have resource opportunities to take care of them. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is the most significant dimension of life at any time, including retirement. Moreover, many, especially represent of other cultures, share this understanding and the idea of giving back the help and support to their parents when they become older. Meanwhile, other opportunities can satisfy a retiree’s life like retirement communities or special tours and camps thanks to civil society.

Furthermore, as it might have already become apparent, I understand retirement as another period of life that the ones lucky to face, have to go through honorably. It surely has some limitations – for example, the health condition typically degrades – but it is crucial to appreciate the opportunities given by this period. While elders themselves appear to share this understanding, there is a stigma of ageism to fight in our society (Ruggiano et al., 2017). This kind of perception that is shared by 24 % of the world population destructively affects the health of the elderly (Officer et al., 2020). It seems that this tendency is only possible as people lack knowledge of how retirement can be lifeful and joyful.

To conclude, retirement provides individuals with new opportunities, but it surely is a matter of personal choice. Noteworthy, retirement may negatively affect one’s health, so they need to carry on challenging themselves with volunteer projects or new kinds of activity. Communication appears to be another vital aspect that enriches one’s life, especially in retirement. Personally, I am looking forward to becoming a famous author when I retire and spending all the time possible with my family. Despite the widespread ageism, I stick to the idea that old age is not depressing or boring but another exciting adventure I, hopefully, will be lucky enough to experience.

References

Heller-Sahlgren, G. (2017). Retirement blues. Journal of Health Economics, 54, 66 – 78.

Officer, A., Thiyagarajan, J., Schneiders, M., Nash, P. and Fuente-Nunez, V. (2020). Ageism, healthy life expectancy and population ageing: How are they related? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(9), 1 – 11.

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Retirement is all on you. 41 best retirement statistics and facts for 2020. Web.

Ruggiano, N., O’Droscoll, J., Lukic A. and Schotthoefer L. (2017). Work is like therapy that prevents aging: Perceptions of retirement, productivity, and health among minorities and immigrants. SAGE Open, 7(1), 1 – 11.

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