Marylee Gorham, Director of Admissions & Marketing at Peabody Place, shares a few ideas for connecting to others for those approaching retirement.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the New Year and what 2022 has in store for all of us.
Before you get too far into this article dear reader, know this is NOT a piece about New Year’s resolutions, which in my opinion, are an exercise in futility and not worth the time to make empty promises guaranteed to create guilt as you fail to live up to your own lofty expectations.
The last two years no one will deny, have been, shall we say, taxing and problematic. While the current iteration of the Covid 19 virus runs amok through the unvaccinated and children, it wasn’t so long ago that the group at the other end of the age spectrum bore the brunt of this formidable, invisible foe. Without belaboring the misery of 2020 – those horrible pre-vaccine days, elders in senior living communities took an incredible hit before benefiting from being among the first in line the very moment Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved by the FDA.
This brings me to my current musing – surviving and thriving in the current climate is truly an achievement – a MAJOR achievement and worthy of acknowledgment.
Today many in their 70’s are less dependent on others, have full mental competency, are fully functional and may even have fewer wrinkles than their parents at the same age. Maybe it’s the moisturizer! But seriously, settling back into our dotage isn’t a foregone conclusion after reaching the traditional retirement age.
None of us view the prospect of aging with glee, indeed, if we could stave off that inescapable physical decline with some magical elixir or pill, we’d be queuing up for it. Humans are living longer; according to the International Institute for Applied Systems Analytics (ILASA) in Vienna, the conclusion is that seventy-four signals progression from middle age to old age. Gone is the theory that one’s sixty-fifth birthday defines you as officially ‘old’.
With those added years comes the opportunity and privilege to be the proverbial captains of our own ships. While many eagerly and with hardly a backward glance, step off the corporate wheel at 65 (our government is slowly pushing back retirement eligibility, many don’t seem to mind), official retirement isn’t necessary as one navigates the golden era of having lived long enough to simply do the things that bring satisfaction and joy.
Reaching these later years doesn’t mean one must be silent. This time affords the opportunity and privilege to be outspoken, mentor those that would benefit from the expertise gathered over a lifetime of experiences and careers.
Share one’s wisdom. Pick an issue to champion, get involved in community projects, local politics, volunteer at a charity whose mission aligns with your interests. Take a class at your local community center or higher learning campus. Age does not mean we’ve lost our capacity to learn new things. It isn’t too late to grapple with the pronunciation and grammar rules of a new language. Keeping step with our changing population census means even rudimentary Spanish as a second language is a skill worth learning.
How about taking up an art-focused hobby. Consider a “Ghost’ moment and learn the art of pottery ‘throwing the clay’ which has been to at the top of anyone’s list for low impact exercise and maintaining upper body strength and dexterity while sparking that area of our brains that appreciates color, beauty, form and function, and hand-eye coordination. Consider taking a glass blowing class, there are two or three studios right here in New Hampshire that offer wonderful experience classes. What a fun couple’s project or one to share with a group of friends or family members. One could take a class in Falconry, something completely different, also available in the Granite State – or – register to volunteer.
Post-retirement does not require anyone is settled into the recliner!
Peabody Place will be offering lots of opportunities to connect with our senior community and the greater City of Franklin as we immerse ourselves in outside projects. Whether one is already part of the Peabody Place family as a resident or has someone near and dear living with us, or you find you simply have some time to give as we look to our Big Move very, very soon, this is a wonderful time to think about a meaningful connection to us.
Our culture has always been one that honors and celebrates the achievement of years and a fully enriched life. Interested in joining the Peabody Auxiliary or becoming a volunteer at Peabody Place? We are but a phone call away to learn more.