Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

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Nathan Drake
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Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by Nathan Drake »

Father is late 60s and recently retired. Will receive pretty close to max Social Security at age 70. Has a sizable portfolio that should only require 3% or less SWR after accounting for SS. Has a balanced 60/40 portfolio. So financially they’re in great shape.

He’s unfortunately going through quite a bit of a funk adjusting to retirement, but it also may be a bit due to Covid. He’s one of these people that took pride in his job for so long that it completely defined most of his self worth and he wasn’t really able to build up a base of hobbies. His mental and physical health have also seen a pretty sharp decline over the past few years and it’s something I hope he can work on to reverse through better lifestyle practices but at this age I’m not so optimistic it will be possible to improve, but hopefully delay further declines.

Most days he reads, watches TV, plays some board games, and occasionally golfs but he’s incredibly bored and can’t muster much motivation for anything. Just feels a bit lost with his situation, and a lot of volunteer work is curtailed due to Covid. He’s also seen a lot of close friends come and go, and most were through work, and now that he lacks that social outlet he’s been quite isolated. He’s definitely not the same person he was before and seems to have dramatically lower energy.

Has anyone either experienced this or had a parent go through it? Were there any solutions you found helpful to restore vigor and enjoyment of having free time that retirement affords?
Lexx
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by Lexx »

Get him vaccinated and out of the house! Tell him to go buy a small RV and travel the country! Get a cheap Miata and have him participate in autocross. Take trips abroad when this crisis is over. Volunteer as a mentor using his career skills. Find some hobbies. Most of all just get him out of the house as often as possible.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by JoeRetire »

Nathan Drake wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:24 pm Father is late 60s and recently retired. Will receive pretty close to max Social Security at age 70. Has a sizable portfolio that should only require 3% or less SWR after accounting for SS. Has a balanced 60/40 portfolio. So financially they’re in great shape.
You wrote "they're". Does that mean he has a partner? If so, are there things they could do together?
He’s unfortunately going through quite a bit of a funk adjusting to retirement, but it also may be a bit due to Covid.
Early retirement is often a time to experiment - to find the "new you". It can take some time to find things that can replace the satisfaction many got from work.

Has he actually told you that he is bored? Sometimes we assume boredom when that we see someone performing activities that would bore us.

Adjusting and settling into a new life phase often takes time.
Most days he reads, watches TV, plays some board games, and occasionally golfs but he’s incredibly bored and can’t muster much motivation for anything. Just feels a bit lost with his situation, and a lot of volunteer work is curtailed due to Covid.
The pandemic has certainly made things more complicated. Fortunately, time should cure that. Make sure he gets vaccinated as soon as he can. Things are getting better.

I'm in my mid 60s. I found new things to do each day that I really enjoy. I enjoy a lot of solo activities - reading, photography, etc. But I also enjoy some social activities - walks with my wife, pickleball, going out to eat with friends, doing things with the grandkids, volunteering, etc.

Unfortunately, it's hard for someone to force motivation on someone else. You could invite your father to join you in some activities. And his partner (if any) could as well. But most of his motivation must come from within.
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Stinky
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by Stinky »

Is he physically active?

In my view, one of the best things he can do is to join a gym and get out regularly to exercise. Spending some time each day (or most days) at the gym, even in an activity as simple as walking on a treadmill, will almost certainly improve his physical health. It will also get him out of the house, and put some structure into his day ("It's gym time now!").

I get to the gym most every morning, and it's an important part of my daily routine. I use the time to listen to a variety of podcasts, which passes the time and gets me more informed and connected to the world.

As a retiree, he can avoid the before- and after-work times when the gym is the busiest. Heck, he might even meet some new friends at the gym!
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JonnyDVM
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by JonnyDVM »

What about a part time job doing something he likes? A couple days a week maybe. Other than that, getting out of the house regularly to do anything might be beneficial. Long walks. Whatever!
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HomeStretch
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by HomeStretch »

Ultimately all you (and his partner?) can do is make suggestions on how he can be more active. It’s up to your dad to implement or not.

You posted that “he’s incredibly bored and can’t muster much motivation for anything”. Depression (rather than boredom) can also manifest this way. He might benefit from talking candidly about this with his primary care physician in the near future.

Edit: perhaps expand on your dad’s golf interest? My dad at retirement also had no hobbies but did enjoy occasional golf like yours does. He joined a senior golf league which forced him to golf weekly otherwise he let his foursome down. His league partners were also retired so he made some friends. He also took a job for a few hours a week at the golf course as a starter/ranger which allowed him to play free golf (which appealed to his sense of economy) and gave him more social interaction.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
OnTrack2020
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by OnTrack2020 »

Not trying to give medical advice, but may want to have a physical to make sure all is okay, then maybe suggest that he return to some form of work part-time. A part-time job would give him something/a place to look forward to going every day and build up some of those social contacts. Is he handy around the house? Then, I would think working in a hardware store part-time would be ideal or Lowe's/Home Depot--something along those lines. Would he like to do something such as delivering for Meals on Wheels? Once the pandemic is over, is there a local senior center he can attend? I agree with the poster above that mentioned going to a gym, because they are open now.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by ResearchMed »

Nathan Drake wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:24 pm Father is late 60s and recently retired. Will receive pretty close to max Social Security at age 70. Has a sizable portfolio that should only require 3% or less SWR after accounting for SS. Has a balanced 60/40 portfolio. So financially they’re in great shape.

He’s unfortunately going through quite a bit of a funk adjusting to retirement, but it also may be a bit due to Covid. He’s one of these people that took pride in his job for so long that it completely defined most of his self worth and he wasn’t really able to build up a base of hobbies. His mental and physical health have also seen a pretty sharp decline over the past few years and it’s something I hope he can work on to reverse through better lifestyle practices but at this age I’m not so optimistic it will be possible to improve, but hopefully delay further declines.

Most days he reads, watches TV, plays some board games, and occasionally golfs but he’s incredibly bored and can’t muster much motivation for anything. Just feels a bit lost with his situation, and a lot of volunteer work is curtailed due to Covid. He’s also seen a lot of close friends come and go, and most were through work, and now that he lacks that social outlet he’s been quite isolated. He’s definitely not the same person he was before and seems to have dramatically lower energy.

Has anyone either experienced this or had a parent go through it? Were there any solutions you found helpful to restore vigor and enjoyment of having free time that retirement affords?
Has he had a good (e.g., really thorough) physical/medical exam recently?
Without getting into medical advice... there are some problems that might be treatable in various ways, and some that *should* be treated (in addition to any psychological benefit, which might also be a function of more physiological issues).

If his PCP isn't quite right, then perhaps an early visit to a geriatrician (if that won't upset your father, as he's not quite of "that" age... yet). Or at least a different internist or such.

Are there any hobbies he had in the past or interests ever mentioned, even in passing?
What did he do in the past for R&R, even if only rarely?
Since money doesn't seem to be a problem, then perhaps encourage him to sprlurge a bit, and perhaps even get private lessons in something.
We've done that, and joke - but only partially joke - that learning in group lessons is slower, and "we no longer have the time for that..." :annoyed )
For a few years, we took ballroom dance lessons (amazing exercise... until I broke my foot :( ), and now we take Italian opera (voice) lessons. Nope, we never spoke any Italian before, not beyond "Ciao" anyway. And no background in "singing", either. And because we can't GO to the opera these days, we've really been enjoying watching some really special performances on TV.

Point is, it's not too late to start something new if there's even some interest.
And has he ever enjoyed traveling, or spoken about "other places"? (There are *small* group tours, or even private ones, for those who don't [yet?] have experience organizing trips - or those who prefer not to. Traveling might be starting up again soon.

And given that physical exercise can be a great benefit in many ways (not just 'muscle strength'), perhaps a personal trainer? If he won't go, see about having a trainer come to him.
Someone good can make it fun, and then there's even more benefit. :happy

This can be a tricky transition, especially for those who had their identities closely linked to their professional self.

But try to get him to have his medical situation thoroughly checked out, sooner rather than later.

RM
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Nathan Drake
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by Nathan Drake »

Thanks all, I will comment on a few common questions:

He is married with the same stay at home wife for over 40 years. They have grandkids that live close and whom they see on a regular basis, although he doesn’t seem as engaged with them as he should be.

Unfortunately as mentioned his physical health is not great. For years I’ve recommended physical activity but he has never been interested in gyms or weightlifting. In order to get his blood glucose under control I’ve managed to get him to lose weight through a better diet which had helped, but I notice some significant muscle atrophy and he just doesn’t move around as easily as he once did. It’s as though in the span of 5 years he’s aged 20. Luckily he’s still taking regular walks but he’s neglected his mobility and strength for so long that his body has just adapted to being so sedentary for so many years.

His mental health isn’t the best either. He’s seen a doctor and a psychologist leading up to retirement because his anxiety was getting to him when the pandemic started, and even in retirement hasn’t gone away. He’s unfortunately pretty heavily medicated with SSRIs and I fear that while they may help the anxiety they’ve also killed his desire for anything. I’m trying to get him to ween off if possible but who knows if he will get to a state where that’s possible.

One aspect that seems to really be troublesome is he’s losing some finer motor control and has no ability to adapt to new technology. He’s never been great with using devices, but he struggles with remote controls, getting streaming services working and finding/searching things to watch, and using his phone, etc. it’s as though he doesn’t have the mental wherewithal to experiment to try and figure out how to get things to work.

Thankfully mom is in much better overall health, but she’s certainly having an increasingly difficult time trying to take care of him.
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by BogleFan510 »

We hiked with a group 3 days a week after retiring. Good healthy, social outlet. When vaccines are widely available in a few months, suggest he check out next door. Nothing like natural beauty with friends. More social (more in groups) and hetter exercise than golf. Ours also has friendly dogs.
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by tibbitts »

I think most of these replies are completely wrong. Everybody seems to be assuming a very "fast and loose" approach to Covid and, hopelessly mixed messages from the government and "experts" aside, not everybody wants to sign up to that. I retired just before Covid, and started traveling (two cruises, two road trips) and shopping for an RV when Covid hit. Since then I haven't been more than thirty miles from my house. Vaccines are only now becoming available to most of us (last week for me, so I have a couple of months until full effectiveness), but even that won't be entirely a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Nobody is the same person now. If he was still working he'd be at home staring at a computer screen all day and still not having any of the social interactions he used to have, and maybe be unhappier than he is now. Different people react different ways. I've done more work around my house than I might have done otherwise, and have lost about 20% of body weight I didn't need from changing my diet (haven't eaten restaurant food in a year now, something I used to really enjoy) and exercising more. Not seeing anyone you know in-person for a year is a different experience for most of us so we just adapt the best we can. So in this case I'd give it another year and see what happens.
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

Post by squirm »

He probably should seek a therapist.
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Re: Advice for Parent struggling with recent retirement

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This thread has run its course and is locked (mental health issues). See: Acceptable Topics and Subforum Guidelines
This is an investing and personal finance forum. We also maintain a subforum that allow our members to discuss consumer goods and services and recreational activities. Anything else is considered "Off Topic" and is not acceptable on this forum.
This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (retirement activities).
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