November 30, 2012

I Don't Want The Old Model of Retirement


Last June I noted in the post, What does living a satisfying retirement mean to you, that it is best to approach your retirement with a mindset that this stage of your life will be uniquely yours. In most cases it won't look exactly like your parents' or older relatives' retirement. While a few comments left on that post told stories of some exceptions to this "rule," many agreed that how our parents' generation chose to spend the years after working doesn't do much for us.

The focus on leisure or just filling time holds little appeal. The acceptance of the slow shutting down of the mind and body as inevitable doesn't fly. Most of us prefer to stay active, both mentally, and physically, as long as possible. We are not denying the reality of aging. Rather, we are making the most of each phase of retirement. As a door closes, we look for another door to open.

Because it is the only one I know well, I will use my parents' version of retirement as an example. Know that I love my parents deeply. They were tremendous examples of marital fidelity and dedication. I raised my daughters based on the principals I learned at home. As I told my mom shortly before she died two years ago, I have no bad memories of my childhood.

But, as I move into my 12th year of retirement I have a solid perspective on their approach versus mine. There are major differences. After retirement they:

  • Didn't develop any new passions or interests.
  • Didn't change their lifestyle or relationship to possessions.
  • Didn't develop a spiritual life.
  • Didn't make new friends.
  • Didn't take many risks (except to move closer to me)

It is important to understand that I am not making a value judgment on their choices. They seemed genuinely happy in how they lived. I think that they believed retirement was a time to do what they had been doing before, just less of it. They lead their lives through my family as it grew and matured. Reading, singing in choirs, and watching the Phoenix Suns on TV filled most of their time.

Mom did volunteer as a teacher's aide at an area school. As a school teacher for over 30 years that was something that she would not give up until her health became too fragile. She tried computer e-mail but went back to written letters rather quickly.

Dad absolutely refused to even touch a computer - a little unexpected from a man with an electrical engineering degree who sold technology equipment for a living! Like almost all men in his social circle he played golf twice a week, but became bored and dropped the sport when costs started to escalate.

The friends they had were primarily the ones they left behind in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Dad's reluctance to become involved in any social activities in their new retirement community meant few local friends to spend time with. As the years went on, Betty, our kids and I formed their relationship circle.

They did travel rather extensively, both abroad and around the United States during the first decade or so of their retirement. I may have gotten my RV "bug" from them since they loved to take month-long driving trips at least once a year. During the years Betty and I owned a weekend cabin in the mountains north of Phoenix Mom and Dad enjoyed spending time there with us.

They remained loving and supportive to us, always available to help or offer financial support when needed. But, they pretty much stopped any personal growth or exploring new things. As mom's health deteriorated their world shrank around them until it was just a procession of doctor and hospital visits, and the room in the nursing home.

After Mom's passing Dad has become even less involved. The community where he lives offers a full range of discussion groups, movie and concert nights, trips to local museums, exercise session, aquatic classes, a full fitness center, and bridge classes. He will not take part in any of them. Instead, his days are filled with reading an endless procession of mystery novels.

Except for two meals a day and lunch with us once a week, he rarely leaves his apartment. We have tried to get him more involved, even taking him to a concert of big band favorites, but he wanted to leave after the first song. I'm not sure if it was the noise, the other people, or simply a change in his routine. But, trying new things is simply unacceptable. Even offering to take him to a restaurant away from the community is refused.

I don't think the way he lives is entirely a result of mom not being there. His interest in other people or activities was always only a reflection of what she wanted to do. Without her presence he has no one to force him do much of anything.

I admit I am frustrated by my dad's refusal to try or experience anything new. I don't understand how he can be satisfied with simply existing instead of living. He is nearly 89, has little short term memory or hearing left, but his overall health remains good. He could participate in all sorts of activities, either with a group, or on his own. But, nothing interests him enough to leave his easy chair. Betty and I keep trying but have just about run out of ideas.

I guess the lesson for me  is he is entitled to live the last years of his life as he chooses. If he is uncomfortable with anything different then I must accept that and stop worrying that I am not doing enough to make his life fuller. Our retirement journey is unique to us. My view of what he should be doing to be happier are invalid.

Even so, I just wish..........

60 comments:

  1. Both of my parents have died, but I observed a similar trajectory as you observed in your parents. I also see a similar thing with my in-laws. I have two ideas that may help:

    1) It seemed that my parents became uncomfortable with anything new as they got older. I think you have to exercise your ability to handle some discomfort if you want to be able to grow. Trying new things can be exciting, but also stressful. You can't shun all stress.

    2) I'm a Zen Buddhist. In Zen, we believe that people die and are reborn many times per second. I think it may help to see your dad as he actually is now and not as he was or could be. Try to pretend that you don't know him and that you are meeting him for the first time. What is he like? What do you like about him? It may help with your frustration.

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    1. Two excellent thoughts, rjack. If I were meeting my dad for the first time I'd be amazed he is almost 89. Physically he could pass for mid to late 70s. If you ask him how he is feeling, his answer is always "fantastic." He will never complain about any illness or malady, except to ask me to take him to the pharmacy for something.

      So, I guess my first impression would be of someone who is overall, content.

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  2. Hi, Bob...

    I want to tell about my Dad and his retirement. Not to brag. Just to put on the table an example of what is possible, if one lets it.

    My Dad is 92-93, a 30-year widower and a former college professor who retired at 67 on very modest means. Once retired, first he started writing poetry and teaching elder classes in literature. The teaching he did into his 80's and the poetry keeps coming.

    He was always interested in art as a spectator, but then out of nowhere he got interested in painting. Dozens of oil and crayon canvasses later, he discovered and mastered a "paint" computer program and he was off to the races. His works are into the hundreds now, all electronically archived for posterity. (And a lot of them are not bad at all.)

    Throughout this whole 20/30 year creative adventure of his, my Dad has pursued an intense interest in philosophy, building up and then reading and re-reading an impressive library of tomes that would put me to sleep. So, inevitably, there had to be a book to write (right?). And so he did, and got it circulated to philosophy mavens who gave him very positive feedback -- although once it was written he was not to interested in trying to get it published.

    His lifelong interest in classical music has never waned and is a daily pleasure to him. His activity there is to keep upgrading and tweaking his music system -- sometimes to my exasperation. And he has now had installed a "tv computer box" and discovered YouTube which gives him unlimited access to all kinds of live performances and which he swears puts out the best sound quality he's ever experienced.

    Dad gave up his car in his 70's. He takes daily walks this place and that place and makes friends and speaking acquaintances along the way (shy he is not). And wouldn't you know, on one of his outings to a used book store a couple of years ago he struck up a conversation with a lady perusing serious literature, one thing led to another, and now he is involved in a very intense relationship.

    And -- what else -- he lives in his own apartment and is sharp as a tack. All of which I very seriously think is in great part a result of this attitude of ongoing constant discovery and activity that he has towards life.

    He proves it can be done. It can be like that. I just hope I can do as well.

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    1. That is a tremendously inspiring narrative. Your father sounds more alive, mentally, and physically than I am 30 years his junior. Everything he does is something that I enjoy also (except painting).

      He lives his life to the fullest. He is to be congratulated.

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  3. You pretty much described my wife in your father's story. She too is totally enveloped in her mystery novels but adds a serious dose of watching politics to the daily mix. She pretty much refuses to look for a new church or try to find new friends. It seems she would rather work on her 3,000 piece puzzle than have dinner with another couple. That just seems to be who she is and she stubbornly refuses to change.

    I don't think she, or your father, are really that unique. There are probably millions out there who get pleasure from very simple things and don't need much stimulation. But I'm sure it does drive their spouses crazy trying to get them to move once in a while.

    My wife and I have always been opposites. It makes life interesting but also frustrating at times.

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    1. My dad is who he is. Stimulation and change are just not part of his nature. I think he misses the implied freedom of having a car, but that became too risky a year ago for various reasons.

      Interesting and frustrating = marriage, doesn't it.

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  4. I understand what you are sharing here, Bob, it's difficult when we sense someone we care about is unhappy, and we are unable to do anything about it. Everyone's journey is so different; I ponder the 'why' of that frequently.

    I believe life is to be deeply embraced, and lived to the fullest extent possibly. I interpret that as meaning I must continue to take chances in order to keep growing as a human, to extend love and compassion to those I encounter, let go of any negativity as quickly as possible, and to keep on exploring this wonderful world we live in.

    We can only do so much for those we love unless they wish to help themselves. As long as the door to your help remains open, you and Betty are entitled to continue your foray into this exciting new world of RV'ing. If you don't live your lives to their fullest extent, who will?

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    1. I don't think dad is unhappy, except I know he misses mom. He is just a "low stimulation" kind of person and always has been. His satisfaction level is just much lower than mine but that shouldn't be my measurement of his lifestyle.

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    2. Ah, you are correct, I did indeed misunderstand your post, my apologies.

      I think your response to my misunderstanding however, may have just answered your own question quite nicely. :-)

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  5. Your father was a salesman. That is a hard occupation; keeping up with the latest product changes, staying on the cutting edge of the industry, always reading people and figuring out how to entice them to buy. He was constantly involved with people. If retirement is a time to do something different then his choice of not being involved with people makes sense to me.

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    1. I hadn't thought if it that way, but you may be right. He was never a people person so his career choice was probably more from necessity than preference. Now that he can have his solitude he is choosing to follow his true path.

      Thanks for your insight.

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    2. Have you ever asked your father if he really enjoyed his work?
      The following was told me by a friend from Northern Virginia.
      My friend was of Greek ancestry and attended the Greek Orthodox Church. One evening at a social event one of the older Greek men came up to him and said he had retired that day after 50 years of work and showed my friend his gold watch. Before my friend could offer congratulations the old man's next words were
      "And I hated every moment of it".
      That caused my friend to re-evaluate his work life and he made a change from being in the fast-track with a major airline to working at the ticket counter.

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    3. I don't think he did enjoy it. It is what he knew how to do but he never spoke of work at home or expressed any excitement about something at the office.

      He did travel to Japan twice on business and talked about enjoying that country and culture. But, otherwise, he did his job to pay the bills for the family. When he left the office he left that part of his day there.

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  6. It sounds as if your parents were hardworking responsible people and had their fun in their own way when they chose to. You really shouldn't feel frustrated because your father isn't doing what you think he should be now. He hasn't lived the "wrong" way by any standard. He doesn't sound depressed. He simply isn't interested in new things or new people. The opportunities for activity are there if he chooses - and that's great - but it's never good to pressure anyone to do what you think they should be doing. Maybe it's time to just let him be what he is and not try to transform him:)

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    1. My frustration comes from a worry that he bored or unhappy. But, as you note, he doesn't seem to be. I totally agree he is not living a wrong way, but is it a satisfying way for him?

      I guess the answer is yes and I just have to accept that.

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  7. A very thought provoking post and much for me to think about. Since I am retired with a part-time job (2 days a week) I do have a routine for my life. But, it could use a little sprucing up! I see a lot of things I would like to do, but don't get around to them. So, I have set a goal of doing 2 new things a month. It's not a lot, but a start. I have also decided they must be free or low cost and new volunteering counts. Thanks for the post. For me it provided a jump start to finalizing what I knew could be an improvement in my lifestyle.

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    1. I'm glad you found something in here that was useful. The description of the life that Alex's father is leading at 92 has given me a lot to think about and shoot for.

      That's what i love about blogging: I learn so much from readers who leave comments. Thanks, Susan.

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  8. As a person with a profound hearing loss, your father sounds like me in many ways. Music, to me, is just noise...not enjoyable at all. Spending time among people and activities that require listening such as classes would just wear me out. It's very stressful trying to hear the spoken word when your hearing is going or gone, especially in situations with background noise, crowded restaurants, etc. Even tho a person may wear a hearing aid, that doesn't mean that everything is normal for that person.

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    1. That is a very important comment. Dad's hearing, even with expensive hearing aids, is poor. You may be exactly right. That could explain a lot of his desire for solitude.

      My wife has substantial hearing loss and finds crowds very, very difficult for her, too.

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  9. Great observations and insight Bob. I think you hit the nail on the head when you identify the importance of continuing to grow and explore new life options in retirement. You don't want to be an observer but rather an active participant to realize all life has to offer. Just existing is a sad excuse if that is how you define retired life. Keep on experimenting, keep trying new things, never say never and ENJOY! ;)

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    1. It will be interesting to see how I react as I get older and I develop some health problems or limitations that normally occur. I am thinking that simply existing will never be enough for me, but that may not be wishful thinking.

      Good to hear from you, Dave.

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  10. I retired from nursing this year, my husband still works, for a few more.I find it exhilarating to explore the interests I've held in check, due to lack of time/energy while working long shifts!! I am taking an online painting class, I am writing the novel and the articles I dabbled in over the years, hoping to develop a part time retirement career in science and women's health writing, and I am spending more time with my hiking club.

    While I can spend a good amount of time by myself, and enjoy my home and solitary activities, i make a point to stay social, to pencil in some "people" activities every week to keep me in balance. I believe the last third of life can be the most exciting! So many ideas, activities, friendships, and spiritual thoughts to pursue!!!

    I think retirement is also an excellent time to give back to one's community so i am volunteering.Right now it is in the library, but i would like to do something with children later on..

    Bob, thanks for your insightful articles and ideas!! I look forward to your posts!! I share them with Ken, (spouse) so he, too can plan ahead !!!!!


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    1. Thanks, Madeline. See if you can get him to leave a comment or two along the way. The husband's input and perspective is important.

      Like you I have found retirement to be much more creative and growth-oriented than I imagined it would be. That is what is somewhat frustrating about my dad's approach. But, as these comments have made clear, there are reasons for the choices he has made and he must be free to make them. His approach is not mine, but that shouldn't matter in the least.

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  11. I think that different people have always embraced retirement differently.while I enjoy travel, school on occasion, and sewing. I spend a great deal of my time being that leisure person. While Tamara (not to pick on her) chooses the other extreme, when I doubt i choose the relaxing lie by the pool choice. On the other hand I do travel, do social things (primarily through my church) and try new experiences. I suspect that if your dad and mom did most things together when she was alive it will be more difficut afterwards. That said, we cannot assume that all retirement is like this.

    My father in law is eighty two and until three years ago did all his own lawn work. When they replace the tile floor in the kitchen my mother in law forbade him to lay the tile. However, he and my son hammered away with joy and destroyed all the old tile and put it into a pile. He is rebuilding an old Triumph spitfire and goes to church and its attendant socialization every day. My mother in law (although with health problems) led a similar life until she had heart issues and a stroke.

    On the other hand my parents (who are no longer living and died before seventy, admittedly) were of the leisure type and were very happy. My father was the ultimate type a international sales guy. He retired and became the nosiest man on the planet and spent his time crabbing, playing golf, cooking, puttering, and visiting with the locals at the watering hole-along with taking the occasional road trip just for the fun of it.

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    1. You are quite a busy lady. What I enjoy about your blog (and I read every post!) is how practical you are in approaching problems or situations. You know yourself well enough to know what makes you happy and what doesn't. If I remember correctly you walked away from some college courses even though you still had to pay for them. You had decided they weren't really for you. Not a lot of folks would have admitted that mistake and swallowed the cost.

      Writing this post and responding to the comments has helped me see that my dad has made choices that work for him. I should not try to make him change, or worry about it.

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    2. Hey!

      Just kidding - I recognize and own my ADD. My nickname from my daughters is actually "Tigger" because to them I appear to bounce around from activity to activity. :-)

      Tamara

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    3. Great name and my favoeite Winnie the Pooh character, after Pooh himself!

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  12. My mantra has become, "I don't want to out live my usefulness." Meaning, when I can no longer contribute in some way take me away.

    My father-in-law has been my father for 44 years and since I have no relationship with my family he's all I have left and I do love him. He was so dependent on my mother-in-law, in regard to doing anything other than his retail career, we honestly didn't think he would last a year after she passed. She's been gone for 24yrs. now and he's still hanging on at 94. It may sound harsh but I have been saying for quite a while now, "why?".

    He's the self-professed laziest man alive. Never had a hobby, other than reading and in the past few years I swear he reads simply to have something to do or 'look like he's doing'. On the outside looking in it seems such a hollow existence.

    Family? Yes, he will join you for dinner or any occasion such as Thanksgiving recently, but will he contribute anything? no. I'm not talking food or money, I'm talking about conversation, interest in what's going on around him, etc. Until suddenly he gets crotchety and it's downhill from there. We've seen him be perfectly charming with strangers and wonder 'who is this man?'. We never see that side. His goal is to live to 100 and if that happens I'll probably be gone before him!

    Didn't mean to go on a little rant, but you sometimes bring that out in me Bob. ;)
    b

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    1. There are parts of this that fit my dad quite well. A good example is our weekly lunches together. Even before we are finished he wants to know when we will have our next meal together. But, during lunch he rarely speaks and eats so quickly that he is finished before Betty or I have even started our desserts. He fidgets until we are finished and then is up like a shot to leave the dining room.

      Neither of us can figure out why he looks forward to something that is little more than 3 people eating quickly. We have stopped wondering, learned to eat quickly, and set another get together before leaving his apartment.

      Barb, you are free to rant and throw things (words preferably!). Your blog is a tremendous example of someone who isn't afraid to delve into some of the stickier parts of life. I welcome anything you have to add to our discussion.

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    2. Well thank you for that Bob. Dealing with my father-in-law makes me crazy sometimes so it's good to know I can blow off steam here. ;) It's funny that in a way it's the kind of frustration I felt when the kids were growing up. Not fair to have to deal with this on both ends but what can you do?
      b

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  13. My wife will occasionally ask me what I am thinking, and like most women she probably doesn't believe me when I reply "nothing". But there are times that one just wants to sit there and really zone out completely. Those times can be a restful change from an otherwise hectic day. Your dad has taken it to more of an extreme, but I can understand his comfort level with having a slow pace of life in general after what might have been a very hectic life in general. Nothing wrong with that, particularly at his age, and he might be just as puzzled by yours and Betty's concern as you are of his approach. To each his own. I made peace with the fact that my mother was never going to change up until the day she died, and while more a little more active than your dad, she was not too far off his approach. The loss of your mom was a real blow from what you say, and he will likely never recover from that. But all in all, it sounds like he is living life exactly as he wants to, and while different than what you would like, will probably never change.

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    1. He won't change and shouldn't. I am really glad I wrote this post. The feedback from folks like you, Chuck, have given me "permission" to stop being the overly concerned son and simply accept him for what he is.

      He lost several jobs during his career and had his own attempt at business fail big time. But, he never brought any of that stress home and never allowed his problems to affect our home life. That shows a real strength that has carried him through the tough times.

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  14. This post touched me deeply. It's so honest and heartfelt and loving. I hear your caring and your frustration. I had a similar situation with my mom. She was so determined to be unhappy. No amount of suggestions, observations, encouragement, reassurance, or anything else, could persuade her to look at things from a different perspective. Wish I had known about the Serenity Prayer back then!

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    1. The one think dad never expresses is unhappiness. He is always "fantastic" and seems to not have a care in the world. I'd much prefer that approach than someone who is always followed by a dark cloud.

      The Serenity Prayer is a good one for my situation. Thanks, Galen.

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  15. Wow I am praying for your father that he will have desire to move and mingle a bit more. My MIL is just a bit younger than he is and she has been having strokes but before that she was active all the time. It is sad to see them just sitting and not participating in life. I will keep him in my prayers. Life is a gift and we should try to live it to the fullest every day. But I think you are a good son not to push. The desire has to come from him.

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    1. He has not suffered a stroke, doesn't wear glasses except to read, and doesn't look 89. But, his desire to mingle just isn't there and never has been. That is who he is and I have to accept that and thank God his health and mind are still as good as they are.

      Thanks, Sue.

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  16. http://youtu.be/gjnLLw5BTmc I just wanted to add this link for Chuck Y. It is a good example of men's brains and the nothing box. LOL

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    1. Funny and accurate! I just watched this after spending a good 20 minutes in my nothing box!

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    2. Sue, I knew it - there is a box for it!

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    3. Yep and women have spaghetti brains and a hard time understanding men.

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  17. You just described my father's retirement perfectly. It drove my brother crazy, but I figured if my dad was happy, I was happy. I wonder if it was something about that generation. Maybe, after going through the Depression and WW2, they learned to be content with much less than our generation.

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    1. It is certainly possible that the times and condition of his childhood affectd him in that way. His father died when dad was still a teenager so he became the "head of the household" during a very rough time.

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  18. I want my dada's retirement. Reading, fly fishing, an occasional trip to the ocean and his St Vincent de Paul work. It seems perfect to me. Unfortunately his coma early in life brought on Parkinson's, so his last two year were hell- but he still sang and read peotry....
    Your dad sounds like he is doing fine. You are a good son to worry for him though.

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  19. You say that your Dad moved closer to you. We have lived all over the country, making friends easily in each state through our jobs and our kids activities...and then leaving them. We keep up with them loosely but time and distance changes things. In retirement we moved closer to our daughter. It is much harder to make friends now. We have acquaintances here through various organizations, but no close friends and our social life revolves around our daughter's family.. just like your Dad. We finally stopped making the effort... our heart wasn't in it and it just seemed tiresome. We are not quite as old as your Dad, but Bob, you just get tired as you get older. And you get more achy .. even if you are fairly healthy. Oh we still get out but we prefer the musicians at the local coffee shop to the theatre in the city and we do our birdwatching from the deck instead of the hiking trail. You gradually enjoy simpler, quieter things.. and perhaps you eventually just read mysteries! Your Dad is probably content.

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    1. Yes, I think he is content. I guess I have just been overly concerned that he is missing out on things that could make his life more interesting. But that is my interpretation, not his.

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  20. *Poetry. My father would be upset if it wasn't spelled correctly.

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  21. Possibly you're selling your parents' retirement short? They moved; they volunteered, they traveled; they kept up with their old friends. Sounds pretty good to me. But I know losing your spouse is hard -- my dad, too, lost my mom at age 89, and he too refused to touch a computer.

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    1. They had a good retirement based on what made them happy. It wouldn't be satisfactory to me but that is really the point: retirements should be unique to each individual and couple.

      Because dad doesn't share emotions I doubt if I will ever know how he really feels without mom in his life but I can certainly guess.

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  22. You mention that dad is hard of hearing. With my mother and her hearing aids, it is just so difficult to be in social settings because she can't understand what is being said. She doesn't feel able to participate in the conversation. Then if it is a large gathering, there is sipmly too much background noise. It's almost painful.

    Hearing aids amplify the noise but don't make understanding easier. People in the presence of those with hearing aids need to slow down their speech - it's almost as if there is a 3rd party translator in the middle of the conversation. She is in retirement community but has stopped going to gatherings because of the hearing.

    Restaurants can be unbearable with all the noise if you don't select wisely and go early. White table cloth places or early sittings (4-5 pm) when there are fewer people and families with kids. Avoid the sports bars with blaring TVs. And refuse tables by the bussing stations. Black Angus used to be wonderful because they had high padded separators between tables that filtered a lot of noise from other diners. Wish all restaurants would turn down the music as it's too loud for conversation.

    My uncle used to enjoy music a lot. With the hearing aid, he lost interest because everything sounded tinny.

    Loss of hearing can really impact daily living and socialization. I'm going to be trying an iPad with my mother over the holidays. She has used a computer but is having more problems because of eyesight.


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    1. What you say is so true about hearing issues. I am sure that is a large part of dad's reluctance to try anything new. My wife wears hearing aids and has similar problems. She has a very tough time in larger gatherings. Her women's group at church has about 400 members. When they all get together she really gets frustrated at her inability to filter all the conversations.

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  23. I know a couple of people who have done very well getting much better hearing after visiting a PhD level audiologist.

    You,your wife and children have been so good to your parents. That alone would create a great deal of contentment.

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    1. Thanks, Anna. This post and the comments have allowed me to feel much better about how and possibly why dad chooses to live the way he does.

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  24. That happened to my mother when her second husband died. She stopped moving, slept more, watched more TV. We tried hard to get her involved and interested, to no avail.

    I'm doing it differently, to my delight.

    However, I do believe in freedom to choose. For everyone.

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    1. Freedom to choose is the part I am learning about dad. Now matter how much I think he'd be happier if he was more involved with life, my opinion isn't the one that counts.

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  25. Steve in Los AngelesSun Dec 02, 04:14:00 AM MST

    Bob,
    There is no way I could spend my retirement years in the manner my Mom spent her retirement years and even, to some degree, in the manner my Dad spent his retirement years. Unfortunately, my Mom was so ill during the last few years of her life that she could not do much except stay in her room at the board and care home where she lived, sleep, eat, or watch television and go to physicians' appointments. My Dad stayed much more active than my Mom. My Dad often went to see movies and occasionally went out to eat with one of his caregivers during the middle of the week and spent almost every weekend with me. On Saturdays and Sundays, I regularly picked him and we went out to eat and went to visit our relatives. My Dad really enjoyed his weekends with me and looked forward to our visits every week. I know for a fact that my giving my Dad my complete attention on almost every Saturday and Sunday kept him reasonably happy and, without a doubt, extended his life. Sadly, both of my parents passed away. My Mom passed away in January 2000; my Dad passed away in October 2002.

    My retirement has been and especially later will be completely different from my parents' retirement. I currently am semi-retired as I have a part-time job. However, even after I completely stop working my life in retirement will be completely different from my parents' lives, in the following ways: (1) I will continue to be physically very active. (2) I will continue to eat well and will eat a lot as I have a very high and active metabolism. (3) I probably will do a lot of traveling after I pay off the loan on my residence. (4) I will continue to be an American Red Cross blood donor, which I have been doing since 1987. My life later on will be very active and, in many way, will be similar to my working years, except for the fact that I no longer will be working. I am fully aware that leading my proposed retirement lifestyle will require an abundant income. That I why I will not begin my proposed retirement until age 70.

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    1. You were a good son to spend so much time with your dad. It was quite a sacrifice of your time.

      The thing we all must remember is the time and effort we expend to help the quality of our parent's lives is nothing compared to the sacrifices most parents make when raisingng us. They have earned our attention and time.

      Unless you have an unexpected health issue, from what i know about you, Steve, I am not surprised you will design a very active and healthy retirement.

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  26. Perhaps your dad is living out his adventures though the novels he's reading. Sometimes it's easier to read about things than it is to actually do the activity. In the books he can be anything he wants to be including younger. ;)

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    1. That's very possible. I know I like to escape into mysteries.

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  27. I've been "almost-retired" for 6 months now, and of course I've been incredibly busy catching up on projects that have been put on the back burner for years. My friends say....."OK, after that is done, you'll be bored crazy". Well, I just had a conversation with my MOM'S friends and one of them made a beautiful comment: "People who are bored simply suffer from a POVERTY OF IMAGINATION" She said that 30 years into retirement, she had yet to be bored. I thought it was a pithy encapsulation of philosophy, and one that I will plagarize shamelessly.

    Dr Keith

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