There are different challenges that come along with aging. Some of these difficulties are associated with physical and mental impairments in adults of retirement age (over the age of seventy). The physicians and psychologists rarely consider the psychological effect of retirement. As a result, they associate much of the memory loss and mental impairment suffered by the elderly with the aging process itself. Although not every elder person retires at an old age, it is important to ensure that these people experience the new phase of life in every good way possible. Consequently, the retirement experience of any retiree depends on the individual and a couple of other influential factors. The psychological effects of aging in the elderly can be discussed with respect to the declination of cognitive fluid abilities. Cognitive fluid abilities comprise activities such as the information-processing speed of an individual, episodic memory capacity, and proper reasoning at different aging stages among others. The relevance of this topic and the study of cognitive behaviors, functionality, and psychological status of the elderly and retirees is of great value to the Health Psychologists and humanity as a whole.
The Psychological Implications of Retirement
During their lifetime, people have to undergo the process of growing old. The relevance of this topic and the study of cognitive behaviors, functionality, and psychological status of the elderly and retirees is of great value to the Health Psychologists and humanity as a whole. Fisher et al. discussed the psychological effects of aging in the elderly with respect to the declination of cognitive fluid abilities. Cognitive fluid abilities comprise activities such as the information-processing speed of an individual, episodic memory capacity, and proper reasoning at different aging stages. Fisher et al. proposed the examination of the nature and mental demands of previous job positions held by elderly and retired individuals to understand better their psychological state. According to Fisher et al., the characteristics of the tasks performed by an individual before retirement are likely to have moderation effects on the person's cognitive functionality after retirement. The psychological implications of retirement and all the influencing factors associated with such implications will be the subject of further discussion in this paper.
There is a need to understand better the connection between previous mental and later cognitive mental activities during old age. Some scholars believe that the number of mental activities previously engaged in before old age is reciprocal to the number of mental activities and cognitive functioning exhibited by an individual during the aging process. Other theories suggested that previous and current mental abilities determine the number of mental activities. On the other hand, the patterns of an individual's cognitive functionality may also depend on the cognitive functioning preservation. Therefore, individuals who engaged in more mental activities are likely to exhibit a highly functional state of cognitive functioning. Some other theories believe that the context of an environment in which an individual lives may provide a mechanism that influences the intellectual capability of people throughout their lifetime.
Coping with Retirement Transitions
Matour and Prout discussed the psychological effects with reference to the choices made by retirees to cope with old age and life after retirement. Most retirees admit continuing working or seeking jobs due to financial constraints and considerations. A majority of retirees expressed their interest in working as a way of staying mentally active. Regardless of the reasons given by various elderly people, the aim to earn a living or have a regular source of income after retirement is prominent among retirees. Retirement process itself seems more like a wake-up call for most adults. It reminds them that they are no longer fit for rigorous tasks and duties, and, as such, they might not be able to fend for themselves as they used to. In other words, they would have to adjust to a different kind of lifestyle, which would require them to live on a different budget. If there were any accumulated health problems, the elderly would need financial aid for health care services commodities. Some retirees do not know how to adapt during retirement, but a few of them have devised plans on how they intend to spend the rest of their lives. The desire to live a non-boring life and a little bit of awareness make retired persons worry about the issues surrounding retirement. They include loneliness, boredom, financial constraints, as well as mental and physical health deterioration.
Researchers believe that retirement is a new phase of life that has to be lived with its new set of goals. It is not just one of the events of life, but another major life aspect perceived as a norm in almost every civilized society. The environment, culture, and society also affect the way an individual accepts and experiences retirement. The way individuals perceive retirement makes a difference in how they experience it. An individual who has not made any retirement plans might perceive it as a threat or an uneasy situation. On the contrary, people who have prepared for it might see it as an opportunity to manage their time in the best manner without necessarily working for money.
Retirement: Choice, Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction
Research and studies show that elderly people can obtain retirement satisfaction in numerous ways, solely depending on the character and features of the retiree. Some people find satisfaction in keeping themselves busy by getting a new job while others, who do not have financial worries, may get involved with voluntary groups. Such activities enable them to feel needed and connect with the society. A sense of contribution and livelihood often accompanies this sort of decision. Some retirees are financially stable and prefer to travel around the world and see new places. On the contrary, some elderly people resolve into looking after their grandchildren. These, among several other activities, are the basis of retirement satisfaction for some retirees.
Retirement dissatisfaction might result from an untimely or unplanned retirement or the environment in which the elderly people experience it. In this case, an individual is not satisfied with the factors that influenced the retirement. Furthermore, such people are either not ready for the process or too immersed into an active life at work. Usually, if the individual's job was a source of happiness and meaningful living, retirement might be a devastating psychological trauma for someone who does not accept change easily.
The choice to retire might be imposed or self-willed. Sometimes, people are asked to retire to exempt them from being fired. Sometimes, it is health related, and, in some cases, it could be a result of a disability. In addition, an individual might decide to retire after self-evaluation and goal redefinition. Such people are willing to quit their jobs to accomplish something else in life. Such retirement choices are not always associated with old age.
Retired couples who stay together experience a happier retirement than single retirees do. The companionship enhances the retirement experience because, at this stage of life, they both have enough time to be together, as well as care and live for each other. There is always someone to share pleasant and difficult times with and marital bonds could become stronger than ever. Couples spend such times to catch up events and activities they have long wished to do together. On the other hand, single retirees are less happy due to the lack of companionship. They might end up spending this time seeking companionship with friends, family members, or new spouses if they have previously been solely devoted to their careers.
In conclusion, the retirement may not necessarily become the end of an individual’s life. On the contrary, elderly people can consider it the next phase of their life. The change will have its diverse both social and psychological effects on concerned individuals. Yet, the perception of retirement by people and the environment in which they experience the retirement phase will determine the amount of happiness or sadness experienced in a retirement stage of life.