October 1st has been designated by the UN as the International Day of Older Persons. This day aims to the recognition of the contribution of older people to social and economic development, but also to highlight the problems they face in financial terms as well as in healthcare and quality of life services.
In Greece 17,1% of the population belongs to the age group over 65, while the forecast for the near future is close to 24% till 2020 and 30% till 2030. It is obvious that people over 65 are an important part of the population, who however – despite their retirement – have still much to offer to the society.
Retirement is a milestone phase in a man’s life. He ceases to be seen as an active member of the society, which most often adversely affects his psychology. The transitional period in which the elderly will have to adapt to the new situation is dreaded for causing stress and negative emotions that reach even to depression. The acceptance of this new phase is the key for a smoother transition from active participation in the productive sector, to withdrawal from work.
The message that should be passed to the so-called people of the third age is that nothing needs to stop when we cease to work. We have to focus on the positive aspects of retirement, which are so many, such as that we do not have to wake up early, no more traffic jams, no routine, stress and fatigue. There is now more time for rest, reading, for cultivating a talent, acquiring a hobby, for more and closer contacts with relatives and friends, time to spend with our children and grandchildren, opportunities for a short or long trip that never took place in the past and so many more. There are many people who are looking for the day of their retirement and they really have so many reasons to feel that way!
Volunteering is also a very interesting outlet, as we have plenty of time and energy to substantially contribute in favor of the affected society and the environment. All these occupations, apart that they make us feel useful by giving new meaning to our lives, in addition they combat mental degeneration, eliminate depression and generally they are beneficial in maintaining a good level of health.
The elderly should not therefore feel uncomfortable or bad and restrain themselves, thinking that they have nothing left to offer… On the contrary, in this phase of their life happens just the opposite (if of course there isn’t any serious health problem): They still have too much to give both to their families and children as well as to the society and the environment. And they can be so good with everything they engage, as they have two very basic skills on their resume… the accumulated knowledge and years of experience in many important areas of life. That’s why you should…
Seize the day and enjoy life, no matter the age …it’s good for you!