Going into retirement and confronting your golden years can sometimes be more difficult than people imagine. But rather than acknowledge that fact, many would much rather just struggle on by themselves without any assistance. It is certainly admirable in its own way. Then again, it is also undeniably frustrating when it is coming from someone you love.
This is where you come in. You don’t need to become a caretaker. But by lending a little bit of a hand, you will ensure that the senior loved one in your life can make a good transition into this new stage. Whether we’re talking about a parent, parent-in-law, family friend, or other loved one, the following are a few ways you can help the senior in your life make the necessary adjustments:
1. Discussing How to Pass Their Time
Some people have been counting down the days to retirement for decades. They are excited to move into the next phase and have a 10-point plan breaking down all the golf, travel, and craft projects they have in store. This is the best-case scenario and means all you need to do is smile and offer support.
Some seniors, however, arrive at retirement a bit rudderless. They are losing a big piece of their life — and what they spent most of their time doing. They aren’t exactly clear-minded about how they will now pass their time. In this situation, offer up suggestions (An exercise group? New hobby? Gardening club?) and make sure they aren’t just puttering around the house. Most people will eventually find new routines and passions, but those first few months? Well, they can be a bit deflating, and it helps to have people around to soften the adjustment period.
2. Discussing Where to Live
After retirement, some things get harder. Even simple things like lawn maintenance and minor home repairs can become a bit overwhelming, especially if the senior in your life is not in the best health. This is why many people choose to get out of a bigger house and into a smaller, more manageable space. In time, this could even mean downsizing into a new community that is more able to help out in an emergency.
Hopefully, your loved one is still a long way from this being a necessity. But, as uncomfortable as it may be, just broaching this topic can help ease their mind. Ask where they would ideally like to reside five, 10 or 15 years down the road. By getting them thinking about different options — like maybe heading off to Arizona or Florida — you can put them into a freer, more optimistic mindset.
3. Discussing End-of-Life Matters
We all get old. And we will all pass on one day. It’s just how it goes, so there should be no harm in talking about it. Especially as people cross the 65-year-old mark, this becomes a bit more necessary. Now is the time to inquire and make sure they have planned properly. Along with wills and medical care options, they should be thinking about those they might leave behind.
Especially if they haven’t already prepared, your loved one should look into some high-quality life insurance coverage through a trusted provider. This is vital not just for supporting their spouse or others after they’re gone, but it can also ease the burden on their loved ones in terms of end-of-life and burial costs.
Easing into Retirement with Both Eyes Open
Different generations have different ways of seeing the world. The Boomers are not exactly the most touchy-feely of the bunch. They are often happy to let emotions and anxieties remain under the surface. You don’t need to try to solve all their problems, but you can provide a ton of support just by encouraging them to talk out loud about their retirement.
First off, try to discuss how they plan to spend their days and offer some encouragement to stay active and engaged. Then broach the more sensitive topic about potentially downsizing. Finally comes the hardest discussion about their final days and plans for the end of their life.
Such conversations can be a bit uncomfortable. At the same time, having things out in the open can definitely ease some tension and convince the senior in your life to consider some important question. Right now, a little bit of contemplation and reflection is exactly what they need as they move into their golden years.