The death this week of Coach Joe Paterno, longtime head football coach at Penn State seemed sudden.
I don’t know that it was, or any more about the circumstances than have been reported. Still, coming about two months after his reportedly abrupt dismissal, I have to wonder…
One of my uncles was a middle manager for a large corporation for most of his career. When the company started downsizing, he was encouraged to take early retirement. When he refused initially, eventually he was forced into it.
And died about two years later of complications from a heart attack. Or more likely, a broken heart.
In many ways his job and career was his family. He had friends through work, and probably had more in common with many of them than his biological family.
The stress of losing his job was probably similar to the stress someone else would feel if they lost a spouse, or maybe a child.
And I wonder how many others there are like him…
Are you caring about someone who is nearing retirement age?
Wondering about how you could maybe help him or her ease into it?
Often a job seems to become part of someone’s personal identity. This happens with professionals like doctors. So much so it can be hard to leave the job without feeling like you’re leaving yourself.
Three ways to honor retirement wishes and help the decision-making process…
- Can retirement be the potential retiree’s decision? It can be less stressful for him to make the decision, than to have it made for him. This is often especially true for professionals and for anyone who views their job as a part of who he is.
- Does he have hobbies or other activities and interests to fill in the time? Someone who devotes his life to his job may not have other activities and hobbies. Perhaps you can encourage him to develop some. Or even to mentor someone else, sharing his knowledge.
- Can including him in family activities help ease the transition? Maybe your entire family can help by making him feel useful…and loved.
Retirement can be an adventure! It can open new opportunities to do something you’ve always wanted to, or maybe to help others.
Now you can have a road map for navigating major life changes like retirement and caregiving…
Turning them into positive experiences and emerging happy and whole.
To your healthy and happy caregiving,
Ina Gilmore, M.D. (Retired)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Bestselling Author of “What Do I Say In a Sympathy Card?”
Creator of A HEART PLAN