How do the physical and societal effects of ageing impact retirement decisions for older adults?
This discussion question is informed by the following CACREP Standard: 2.F.3.i. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimum development and wellness across the lifespan.
Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2016). Human development: A life-span view (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN-13: 9781305116641
The ability to work provides more than just a steady income; for older adults, it is a social outlet, a passion or purpose, an identity, a source of self-respect and respect from others, and security. For those who are from lower socio-economic communities, retirement can be a fearful thing (Estes & Dicarlo, 2019).
For those who have a pension or other solid retirement savings to live on, retirement can be a boon to both physical and mental health (Kolodziej & Garcia-Gomez, 2019; Godfrey et al, 2013). Most older adults have an idea of how and when they want to retire, and they plan for that day.
But what if they get an illness or injury before their retirement plan and can’t continue to work? What if they are “downsized” because of ageism or given the “Golden Handshake” to motivate them to leave to make room for younger workers? When the unexpected happens, it can cause depression, anxiety, and a loss of identity.
When it is a part of a plan, it can provide space for more physical activity and help with mental health disorders (Godfrey et al, 2013).
Emily Baker By the time one reaches retirement age, many decisions must be made about how they are going to spend this time, and there are a variety of factors that they must take into account. The physical changes that come as the human body ages is no secret, as are the societal effects to be aware of.
As the human body ages, bones and joints see change such as osteoporosis and arthritis, which can lead to a less active lifestyle as the body becomes more stiff and painful (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016).
If the ageing adult experienced a lot of stress in their life, it is possible that their body may have a suppressed immune system or high blood pressure (Beckie, 2013).
Limited mobility or illnesses may put a damper on retirement plans if the person had the desire to do a lot of travelling after retirement or join retired adult sports clubs such as golf.
The aging adult must also take into account their socioeconomic status and the health of their retirement fund before deciding to jet off across the world once they say goodbye to their work schedule. Many of those reaching retirement become grandparents, and their children begin to desire their parents help with watching these new children.
With the skyrocketing prices of childcare from facilities or in-home nannies, the help of grandparents may become a more economic choice dependent on the family.
As they get further into retirement and they experience further physical or mental decline, the costs of a retirement home/senior living facility, or further, nursing home or in-home nursing staff may take effect. Choosing one’s retirement path is not easy, and may require counsel to work through all of the probabilities.
Tamilia Davis When we hear the word retirement, some of us think about vacations, grandchildren, and finally having the time to enjoy our hobbies and our homes.
However, for some individuals, retirement can be very stressful. When what you do has become a big part of who you are, retirement means losing your identity. If an individual is also dealing with declining health and cognitive abilities, depression can set in, and they will begin to assess their life to determine if they have done what was needed to prepare them for this stage in their life.
Erikson theorised that the goal of this stage in life is integrity. Those who reach integrity become self-affirming and self-accepting; they judge their lives to have been worthwhile and good. They are glad to have lived the lives they did (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016). Some individuals feel that if they retire, they are no longer useful.
Take Betty White, she passed away at 99, and her peers thought she died too soon and that she had more to give to the industry. Becoming wise is one thing; having one’s wisdom recognised is another (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016). The defining characteristic of retirement is determined when it is a choice and not a necessity.