So, why am I bringing this movie up on a blog about retirement? Simple: a reader made a reference to her looking for ways to pay it forward as she begins her satisfying retirement. A little different from the usual approach to volunteering, she suggested that younger retirees look for ways to help older retirees. I thought that was a very important comment. Why? Because we tend to think of retirees as a homogeneous type of person. Someone who is retired is just like anyone else in that category.
But, that is obviously not true. Someone who has been retired for a few years, or retired at a younger age than most is very different from someone a decade or two older. The needs, interests, and requirements are just as different as those of a 25 year old and a 45 year old. She got me thinking of ways to pay it forward in this specific case. What could younger retirees do to come to the aid of their seniors?
There isn't room on this post to list all the possibilities, but consider these examples:
*Help set up a computer so he or she can use it to communicate with family and friends by e-mail or Skype.
*Help with basic financial bookkeeping or organizing files.
*Drive to appointments or shopping trips.
*Become a surrogate family member or friend to someone who is widowed or lives alone.
*Help sort through photographs or write down family stories.
And, to expand on her idea, an older retiree can certainly help someone newly retired in all sorts of ways:
*Help him or her understand Social Security or all the decisions involved in beginning Medicare coverage.
* Support someone during the initial transition from employment to retirement with encouragement and practical tips.
*Share your experiences in finding how best to use your time and find your passion.
*Act as a surrogate grandparent to a grown child of a retiree who needs someone other than a parent to talk to.
The reader's comment and what it suggests are very important. I believe most of society thinks of retirees in a certain stereotypical way - certainly in terms of our needs and interests. We are all alike.
But, that is simply not true. When retirement is seen as another phase of life instead of the last gasp of a life, it becomes obvious that the wishes and requirements are different depending on the age of the retiree. Helping those older or younger than we are to navigate that journey can be a tremendous use of our knowledge, wisdom, experience, and time.
It is a tremendous way to Pay it Forward.