If you have anxiety and can't sleep because of being lonely... let's talk about it!
If you have anxiety and can't sleep because the friends and family that you thought would be around, just aren't available. They are still working, too busy with life, and there you sit.
There is much you can do to enjoy retirement, find new friends and simply Enjoy Life.
Retiree #1: I am single and have no children. I worry a bit about where and how to live as I age.
There are so many lonely retirees:
Friends are so important whether you have family or not. With friends, you can share thoughts you might not share with family. They can look at your situation through a completely different lens, without all the "baggage" that comes from a lifetime of knowing you. Friends are seriously important, right?
The where and how to live will happen. If you are good with where you live right now, enjoy it. If you need to downsize, start with little baby steps to get where you want to go. Make a list, start with the research on whether to move or not? Then move on to the BIG elements of a move, and then break each one down into tiny bite-sized steps. You can do this.
Can you join some local community clubs to meet new people? You need friends who can step in as family, when you need help.
-- Phyllis, my first boss was in her mid-80s, in a hospice at home, and had few family members close enough to help her. Friends showed up like crazy, bringing food, staying overnight (even though she had 24-7 care)... friends matter. She belonged to an organ club and two book clubs and an out-to-lunch bunch... and they all rallied around her in her time of need. Friends matter.
-- Ute moved from Virginia to Cleveland Ohio, in her mid-80s, and just loves her new city dearly. She lives in senior apartments and in only six months, met several others within the same building, joined a bike group, does water aerobics nearby, walks in the nearby parks (and even learned to let the tiny birds sit in her hand), travels with the senior center to concerts and day trips, and is one happy and busy gal. Her sons live in Michigan and Virginia... she has no nearby family, but is making friends and participating in life quite nicely!
Look for people at church or call old friends to join you for lunch. Get out of the house... Try www.meetup.com and enter your own zip code and see if anything interests you. It's amazing the groups people have started -- strangers at first, quickly becoming friends centered around like-interests.
Consider joining the private Retirement Community here. Over 2000+ retirees to check out... surely you can find a new email pal (or even a few) to share life with. You can easily find people with the same interests or you can search the member database. If you've never written to strangers before, it might sound a bit odd, but when I used to send letters (real postal letters) to pen pals worldwide, it was super amazing how we could connect. I love learning about other lifestyles, options, and living a more full life simply via the written word. Who knows? You might decide to travel with the pal, or visit their hometown, and in turn, they visit yours.
Retiree #2: What keeps me up at night is fearing that well-meaning people will try to interfere with my choices. Assumptions about aging are what keep me up at night.
This one is scary... well-meaning adult children, or siblings, could easily try to help you with Assisted Care or other senior home care help. Without knowing the full fear this person is living, it's a little hard to guess...
One one hand, Is this help warranted? What I mean -- is this retiree really needing help but in denial of what is needed to keep them living safely?
On the other hand, many of us are independent seniors who choose to live as we please. How can anyone take our life options away from us? How dare they assume they know what we need?
Often, a mediator of sorts is necessary as a go-between the well-meaning family and the senior. CSA's, Certified Senior Advisor's, are trained to do this type of work. Someone who is impartial and logical can often help both parties with a solution that makes them all happy and satisfied that their loved one is safe.
Also, Check your County Senior Services Department to see if they have Legal Help. The attorneys there can be advocates for seniors who feel they are being taken advantage of.
Finally, on Assumptions on Aging, we all know every single senior is different. Test the assumptions. Write a page on this site to test retiree reaction... go for it.
Retiree #3: Dealing with husband's laziness and self-centerness; fear of dying. I am pretty healthy but still have fears, financial concerns, fixed income.
This retiree sounds anxious.... worrying about dying (despite being pretty healthy), financial concerns on a fixed income, and her lazy self-centered husband too. I recently published a book on Retirement Anxiety. Its a short read and comes with a series of emails designed to help you take action to fix anxieties you deal with.
Read some of the Retirement and Marriage stories here.
Lazy Husband (and self-centered too): You do have choices.
I'm not saying to be totally mean. I am saying Retired Life is a two-way street. Even with a long-term marriage, there are always ways to improve it. Make dinner dates outside the home... just say you are tired of cooking, and have a craving for Wendy's chili (see, it doesn't have to be expensive, to start.... just get him out of the house with you for a bit... later you can take it a step further).
This retiree also sounds anxious worrying about dying (despite being pretty healthy), and her financial concerns on a fixed income.
Death: We will all die someday. Why waste your precious days, and nights, worrying about that time? It could be two days from now, while crossing a street, or twenty years from now, while you are ill. Nobody knows. BUT FOR TODAY - you are alive! You are healthy -- go out and volunteer somewhere or help a neighbor, do something to help others and you might find you have less time to worry. Enjoy life... Please!
Financial Concerns: I would bet that most retirees have financial concerns, to some extent, but most don't interrupt their sleep to worry about it. The funny thing is:
WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH? Nobody truly knows this answer.
Even with plenty of savings, unless you are a millionaire, events in your later years will shape what happens. Financial planners can take a good estimated guess, but they really have no clue where your life is headed.
Enjoy Life Retirees! Life is too short!
Retirement Happens... whether we like it or not.