If you’re a mum with school-age children, chances are your own mum is approaching retirement or is already retired. It’s a significant change in anyone’s life, and there are many positive aspects of retirement, but there are also challenges ahead. Even if your mum is looking forward to retirement and has plans for how to occupy her time, when it happens, it can still be quite a shock to the system; but there are several ways in which you can help and support your mum, so she adjusts well to this stage in her life.
If you want to be able to help your mum, you need to understand her feelings about retirement. It’s easy to assume that retirement is something she’s feeling positive about; after all, it’s a chance to relax and do as she pleases after a lifetime of work! She may well be happy about finishing work, but for many women, their career is, apart from their family, an essential component of their lives, and it can be hard to turn your back on what you’ve spent decades achieving.
The sudden cessation of being involved in the familiar working environment – no longer having the responsibility, the rewards of working in a job you enjoy, or the respect of colleagues and clients – could be leaving a large hole in your mum’s life. She may not be feeling the way she thought she would about retirement, either. She might have been expecting to feel happy, and instead feels down. It’s important to talk to your mum about her retirement and how she’s feeling about it, and help her decide what she wants to do.
To be able to help your mum, you need to spend time with her or chat on the phone regularly, so you get a picture of what’s happening in her life. If she’s bored or lonely, suggest some activities she could take up or events and organisations she could get involved with. Maybe she’s always wanted to travel, or visit a relative some distance away; you can help her realise these dreams by encouraging her and offering practical advice.
If your mum isn’t as fit and active as she was, or can’t manage without some help, make sure you pop round to help out regularly and keep her company. If you can’t handle everything she needs, it’s worth considering using an in-home care service, such as those you’ll find at www.inhomecare.com, that looks after all the tasks that your mum needs help with. This is a good solution for elderly or less physically able mums because they can stay at home and remain independent, without having to worry about how they’ll cope.
The way your mum manages the adjustment to retirement and older age depends on her character and how she views her life, and it may well be that she feels a complex combination of emotions both negative and positive. You can help her adjust to her new life by encouraging her to be open and honest about the way she feels, and providing support and practical help when it’s needed.