Retirement: I think he's having a breakdown...

by Mary

My husband was forceably retired 1.5 years ago at the age of 64. He worked for the same company all his career. Now, he builds his days around me.

He never made plans for a social life after retirement. He thought he had friends from work, only to discover they have no interest hanging out with him.

It is a real battle trying to get some alone time without him in the house. In fact, he seems terrified at the thought of leaving the house. I am wondering if this is fear or dementia? I try to give him ideas how to spend his time, but he poo-them.

Again, it always has to be the two of us, never just him venturing out alone. God help me.

Comments for Retirement: I think he's having a breakdown...

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I understand
by: Anonymous

I understand because I am kinda doing the same thing (but in reverse) to my husband.

Since I retired, I don't go many places unless he goes. That's a problem, too, because he does have his own things to do and doesn't want to do what I want.

I have zero self-esteem since I retired. Until something makes me feel needed again, I will just sit in my house and piddle around. I suspect this is the way he feels.

Maybe take him to some senior events in your area or church socials to let him meet other people. I feel a bit of a spark doing this.

Hopefully, we both (your husband and myself) can both recover and move on.

Your Blessed to Have Each Other
by: Nan/Boston

How blessed you are to have each other. My husband took early retirement and we immediately went on a cruise to Alaska. I was still working and was fortunate to have three long days a week in my position.

We enjoyed day tripping and in nice weather packed a lunch enjoying walks and the ocean. In cooler weather our destination would be lunch out at restaurant, museums, plays, movies etc.

When I was working he usually did errands, grocery shopped or met up with friends. Once I was retired we continued to enjoy fun outings and especially traveling meeting many dear friends.

Every winter we traveled to different areas for three months.

Our hearts were broken when his health declined. We continued shorter day trips and limited our traveling just to Florida in winter. I always walked everyday and continued when my husband was sick.

Unfortunately he passed away but I am blessed to have wonderful memories of our love, friendship and time spent together. I continue to travel, walk and enjoy Yoga.

My advise is to plan outings, travel and most of all enjoying being together.

Your Blessed to Have Each Other.

Retirement Breakdown
by: Anonymous

I think what your husband has SHOCK and a bit of letdown (reactive depression) (the forced retirement)!

I suggest taking a cross-country train trip...make sure you get the private bedroom/bath on the train, meet new people on the train and in the lounge for happy hour etc. Stay at a hotel located near popular sites even within walking distance. It will take his mind off the trauma he experienced.

Then make it a plan to go somewhere new each year ...something to look forward to! and the $$$ part? just tell your kids, heirs... "Being of sound mind and body, we spent OUR money while WE were alive" lol

You need a vacation
by: Jane/Indiana

You could take a long vacation alone, and allow him to need to fend for himself. Would he starve or go to the store? Just an idea.

Trust your instincts
by: Laura in Vermont

You may be right, after all you know him pretty well. He used to have a prefabricated world and now it's all gone. He literally doesn't know what to do and he's probably anxious and depressed. He let his skills go that used to let him make his own friends and activities schedule.

So the first stop is his PCP to get him checked and screened. They can be sure he is still physically healthy and they can refer you to help for the anxious and depressed feelings.

It sounds like a therapist could help him pick up those social skills he let lapse when his work environment used to do so much for him. That takes a lot of the burden off you to program his life for him.

If you feel he can't wait for an appointment--like if he starts talking about killing himself--he needs to go to an emergency room where they can handle assessment, referral, a psychiatric hospitalization if that's best. At that point use the cops if you have to but get him there.

I think he's having a breakdown
by: Sherry/ NC

Isn't it amazing how couples can become codependent!!?? Each one of us needs our own interests.

cabin fever
by: Anonymous

Mary, maybe he doesnt want to leave the house but you can.

I can not drive anymore because of my vision and I still leave the house (usually with my dogs) and walk walk walk. It lets me have alone time plus I'm only a mile from Wendys, McDonalds, a small grocery store, I'd love a Starbucks but c'est la vie.

My husband and I no longer love or even like each other much so it's just good getting away.

Husband having a breakdown
by: Marcia/Pennsylvania

I sit on the other side of the situation. I lost my husband at age 55 and I would give anything to have him "under foot" again. He was the love of my life and I never wanted anyone else. I am 77 now and still miss him like it was yesterday.

There is no perfect situation. Everyone has things and/or people in their life that they have to deal with and make the best of.

I have heard and read about men having a very hard time with retirement because they are so used to going and doing all those years. Now they don't have anything that they are required to do, so they are lost and hang out with the wife.

I know for myself, after the grieving period, I decided to find some places to donate my time. I volunteered at the hospital. I got involved with a women's group and became their newsletter editor. I also got involved with an organization for single parents and got on their Board of Directors. I also got involved with other organizations and I was very busy. It gave me a sense of purpose and a feeling of being needed. I did that for many years.

Perhaps your husband could find some organizations that could use his help in various ways. There are numerous senior agencies (AARP for one) who are always looking for volunteers. It will give him something to keep him busy and will give you a needed break.

Good luck and stay strong.

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