Friday, October 29, 2010
Retirement Adjustment:Life Review
Retirement is a major transition for most of us older adults. When our careers are associated with social status, identity, money, and power, the end of working life may be potentially a period of crisis.
How well we adjust to retirement is based on the importance of our work, how high we have climbed the ladder and how many of our work-related goals we have accomplished. Most of us, prior to retirement, need to review our past work/life history to some degree; with more extensive re-ordering required when job-related goals are very important, are unmet, and no suitable substitute has been found to reflect accomplishments.
Research suggests that if a large number of unmet goals are tied to work, poor health, lack of opportunities, and lack of personal skills, or all of these, we may, upon retirement, withdraw from society unless we are is able to reexamine and reorder our situation.
On the other hand, when our work-related goals rank very low or when these goals are met prior to retirement, we need to foster little change in goals and find it easier to maintain functioning during retirement.
Researchers have identified four styles of retirement adjustment:
(1) "Reorganizers" who are highly active in a reorganized life-style, and look forward to a planned retirement. They are generally highly satisfied with retirement.
(2) "Holding On”. Those who have this style are also highly active, but their goal is to continue their former working life-style. They generally do not anticipate retirement and are often retired involuntarily. Their satisfaction is high if they continue working after retirement.
(3)"Rocking Chair" retirees maintain relatively high satisfaction with retirement because they had wanted to reduce their level of activity; they had looked forward to retirement.
(4)"Dissatisfied,” Those with this style report the lowest level of satisfaction and are often frustrated and depressed. Many have been forced to retire and now find it difficult to maintain levels satisfactory of activity. They also tend to be lowest in resources, have had the poorest health, the lowest educational levels, and the lowest income.
Some research studies indicate that a sizeable portion of the population of retirees express feeling highly dissatisfied. Dissatisfied retirees probably need to address one or more of four major tasks: the getting more information, adjustment to change, reordering of the hierarchy of personal goals, and the acquisition of a new job or job substitute.
Some Useful Work and Retirement Questions:
1. What is a "big" change for you?
2. What was the last "big" change you experienced in your life?
3. What was that like for you?
4. If you didn't have to work at your current job, what would you do?
5. Besides a paycheck, what do you get from your job? What do you like and dislike about it?
6. As you have progressed through your working life, are you aware of having had goals for yourself?
7. If so, what are these goals? What parts of them have you accomplished?
8. Make a list of the things you do in your life that are important to you (roles you play, activities you engage in, for example).
9. Now tell me which ones are most important to you? How does your job fit into this?
10. How would you describe yourself?
11. When you think of older adults or retirees, what do you think of?
12. How do you imagine life will be when you retire?