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Now I'm Retired. What Do I Do?

Last Friday you retired. Now you're wondering what to do. You have 40 hours or more every week on your hands. How do you fill that? At work, perhaps you were a boss. Now the only one you give orders to is you.

Your only plan was to relax, take naps, and maybe even get away on a trip. Well – that doesn't last long. What do you do then? Imagine what you can accomplish for the rest of your life. What will you achieve next? It is your time, your schedule, your passion.

One Caution

You may have thought you would spend more time with your spouse. Frequently men have a harder time here. They fail to realize that their wives did very well without them throughout their marriages. That won't change when they retire.

Some husbands try to change what their wives do around the home. They observe and feel they see a better way of doing things. Disagreements occur.

To restore sanity, one has to get away from the other. They get out of the home during the day. Since the husband has no place to go, the wife frequently looks for places to spend time. She may increase her involvement with church groups or local civic organizations.

In a very short period of time the retiree is bored and feels lonely. They never believed it would be this way.

How Can You Prevent Boredom from Setting In?

Take some time to figure out what your purpose is. Then start to do things in line with your purpose -- things that you are passionate about. Your world is full of possibilities, new passions to pursue, part-time or volunteer work that is rewarding, people to connect with, and living a healthier life.

You may want to give back and help others. Look at volunteering at churches or with nonprofit organizations. You may also want to consult with small- to medium-sized businesses. One way is to call RSVP, a national resource for senior and retired volunteers. One call (in Knoxville, Tennessee, to 865-524-2786) can connect you to a variety of fulfilling volunteer opportunities that include driving older adults to errands in a provided vehicle, Mobile Meals (known as Meals on Wheels elsewhere), Feed A Pet (pet food delivered to homebound seniors who have pets), O'Connor Senior Center, working with adults on Medicare enrollment issues, minor home repairs and yard work with Project LIVE, fundraising efforts, and much more.

You may have a desire to learn something that you've never done before. Enroll in a class and do it.

You may also be able to teach. For a start, look for opportunities with local literacy groups, mentoring programs, and school reading programs. For more ideas, go to AARP's Life Reimagined site or check out Seniors for Creative Learning at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (meets at the O'Connor Center).

Take time to visit your family more frequently. Before you retired you probably never could visit them during the day. Now you can. If you have younger grandchildren, consider babysitting for them.

If you always wanted to travel, make sure to take trips and see those places you always wanted to see.

While working, you may never have had time to develop friendships. Now, be deliberate about doing that. Look for people in your age group you like and spend time on a regular basis with them. You can meet at a fast food restaurant, a coffee shop, a bakery, or a local diner—any place that suits your fancy.

Get healthier: Wellness classes, exercise, cooking classes, meditation, tai chi, and yoga are all popular ways to get and stay healthy. Classes are also a great way to meet new people or an activity to do with friends. If nothing else, just put on a comfortable pair of shoes and go for a walk in your neighborhood or find a nearby greenway. Get out! Breathe! Move! You'll be glad you did.

Finances

A person in relatively good health today can expect to live another 25 to 30 years. You have to make sure your finances will last that long. So you need to plan accordingly.

If finances are an issue, you may have to make adjustments in your lifestyle. You may even find it necessary to get a part-time job. That may have never crossed your mind but may be the only way to make ends meet. Get a job that you are passionate about – one where you're making a difference.

Realize that the older you get the less likely it will be for you to find work. So try to get that job pretty soon after you retire. You may even want to talk to a financial planner to help you make a savings plan with the income from your second career.

We Can Help

The Office on Aging can help retirees get the most out of retirement. We have many programs in which you can get involved. For those who want to volunteer, we offer a wide variety of opportunities. We also work with a broad spectrum of community organizations that you might be interested in. If you want to know more about what we do, please browse this website or call 865-524-2786.

The Graying of Tennessee

Look around you. Have you noticed seeing more gray than several years ago? You actually have.

Forget Senior Citizens. We're Mature Adults

The fastest growing segment of the population here in Tennessee and more particularly, in Knox County is those over 65 years of age. When we were younger, we referred to them as Senior citizens. Now as many of us enter that age group we prefer to be called mature adults.

By 2030, one out of every four people in this area will be in this age group. Did you ever think that would happen?

Three factors are leading to this growing segment of our population.

  • First, the Baby Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964. The first of these people turned 65 in 2011. From then until 2029 10,000 Baby Boomers have turned or will turn 65 every day.
  • Second, people are living longer. Advances in Medicine have really increased longevity. People are living to a much older age.
  • Third, Tennessee and especially Knox County are very desirable places to live. More retirees are moving here to take advantage of the quality of life we offer.

What are These Mature Adults Like? What do They Want From Life?

Age 65 and beyond doesn't mean it's time to sit back in an easy chair and watch others do things. Baby Boomers have a desire to stay active.

  • Some have no intention of retiring and will continue to work as long as they can.
  • Some will expand their knowledge and take classes to learn things that interest them.
  • Others will get involved doing things they like and will volunteer to serve.
  • Many look forward to spending more time with their grandkids. They will move closer to them so they can see them more frequently.
  • Still others have a desire to travel and will take trips more frequently.

This group is feisty. Fiercely independent, they prefer to do things their way. One great desire is to live by themselves as long as possible.

Quality of life and health are important to them. They have seen how health problems affected others and have no desire for this to happen to them. So they exercise regularly. They eat healthier foods. They have regular health check-ups and follow their doctor's advice more closely.

Avoid Loneliness at All Costs

One objective of theirs is to avoid loneliness. They have seen too many instances where parents seem to have been forgotten by their families. At the same time, they saw their parents and extended family members lose friends as they age. The older those closest to them got it seemed less people spent time with them. Loneliness grew. Any time someone said hello, they would welcome the opportunity talk with them as long as possible. Their goal is to not let this happen to them.

In the back of their minds they realize at some point they may no longer be able to care for themselves and live independently. At that point they may have to move into a retirement center, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Their hope is to delay this as long as possible and to minimize their length of stay.

The Office on Aging salutes these mature adults. We were created to help them. We have many different programs. We also work with many different community organizations who also help. If you want to know more about what we offer, please check out our website at knoxseniors.org or call 865-524-2786.