There’s no denying the role parents play throughout the various stages of our lives, and for many people there comes a point during older age where the roles can reverse, and we find ourselves caring for parents the way they once did for us.
22nd July 2018 is Parents’ Day, and to mark the occasion, the experts at Welbeing have put together their tips for supporting parents after retirement.
Understand if the transition isn’t easy
Many people find retirement an exciting prospect after years of working, but it can be a shock to the system, especially for those who have always worked full time or those who loved their job. It can be hard to understand if a loved one suddenly gets frustrated at a lack of daily socialising or having a reason to get up and leave the house, but try to remember going to work is a routine for most people week in week out.
Discuss your loved one’s needs
It may be that supporting parents after retirement doesn’t require much to change and your loved one finds it easy to settle in to their new routine. However, to make life easier for everyone it is worth discussing hobbies and if a parent has any concerns such as a lack of social life. It may be that they would like help with finding something to keep them occupied or could help with childcare which could prove mutually beneficial.
Help your parents to remain independent
Going to work is something that offers many people independence. Sometimes when this comes to a sudden end, people can feel they lack purpose or they can begin to fear doing tasks they used to take for granted as they’re not practising them regularly. Encourage parents to venture out of the house daily and meet new people where possible to help wellbeing during retirement. If parents require peace of mind leaving the house post retirement lifeline support such as a GPS tracker could help.
Talk about budgeting
It may seem patronising or uncomfortable to talk to parents after retirement about money, but going from living on a regular monthly wage to being on a pension or living off savings can take some adjusting to. This is especially important to discuss if your loved one plans to take up a new hobby that requires investment or you know budgeting isn’t something they have much experience of.
Encourage a routine
The first few weeks of retirement can feel like a holiday, but if your parent always had a routine pre-retirement, it’s advisable to keep some stability by establishing a new routine. It could be something as simple as still setting an alarm for the same time each day or volunteering one day each week.
Remind your loved one about scams
If a parent is out of the work place or spends more time on the internet or the phone post retirement, it’s important to discuss scams and the sophisticated techniques many scammers use. Encourage parents to be vigilant and never accept something if it seems too good to be true or makes them feel uncomfortable.
It’s worth remembering that for many people the workplace isn’t just a way to earn money, it’s a way to interact with others. Retiring can mean people become lonely and find they have less human interaction especially if their friends or partner is still working. Volunteering or getting a pet can help a loved one feel more positive about this lifestyle change.
Whether your loved one is already an animal lover, or they’ve never considered having a pet before due to a busy lifestyle, getting a dog can help to keep parents active post retirement. They also make great companions for those who don’t socialise often, and can help with meeting new people while on walks or out at groups.