The Growing Trend of Parent-Child Dependency

2526_239e5806609a71cIn previous generations, claiming children under 18 as dependents for income tax purposes was a given. In today's world, a growing number of adults claim adult children as dependents. Even more surprising are the number of adult children who claim their parents as dependents.

In a collaborative effort this March, and Pollfish conducted a comprehensive survey among 4,000 American adults aged 25 or older. The goal was to shed light on the financial challenges faced by families providing for senior parents amidst escalating living costs.

The results of the "2024 Senior Financial Dependency Study" have just been released. It reveals some startling facts:

  • When asked why they financially support their parents, more than 4 out of 10 American adults cite insufficient income due to the rising cost of living.
  • Over half of those who claimed their parents as dependents on their taxes started claiming them in the past two years, 2022-2023. 
  • 3 out of 4 adults who claim their parents on their taxes are also financially responsible for one or more children, joining what is known as the “sandwich generation.”
  • 4 out of 10 “sandwich generation” parents say they financially support their adult children because they are unemployed.

“As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, we see how stretched thin the sandwich generation truly is,” says John Farrell, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at “Add to this recent economic shocks, growing income disparity and a tight labor market, and you have a perfect recipe for a caregiver crisis. We talk with caregivers every day who are trying to hold down a job, provide for their children, and care for their aging parents at the same time.” 

According to the above-referenced survey, of all those who claimed their parents on their taxes, more than 50 percent started doing so in the last two years. Among adults with senior parents who are claiming them on their taxes, 3 out of 4 have at least one parent living with them in their family home. 

When asked what the primary reasons were for their parents’ financial dependency, 4 out of 10 say they are financially supporting their parents because their parents’ savings, investments and income, including Social Security payments, are insufficient to cover the current cost of living.

I know Boomers who routinely have to step in and care for their elderly parents themselves or help arrange for their care. At the same time, many of these Boomers are aging and dealing with their own health issues. It is also not unusual for younger Boomers in particular to provide support to their adult children -- even to the extent of having those children return home to live with them due to financial hardship.

Parent-child dependency is a growing trend. It demonstrates the real need for family members to shift their perspective on typical relationships. Adults might not anticipate that their parents or adult children would ever become dependent on them, but that is apparently becoming more common. It could suggest a dramatic change in American society.

Image from is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!

The Working Boomer

Screen Shot 2024-03-12 at 12.20.09 PM
Ken Dychtwald and his team at Age Wave are renowned for proactively lobbying for older Americans and against ageism. In a recent article for Harvard Business Review, Dychtwald and two researchers from Age Wave, Robert Morison and Katy Terveer, discuss "Redesigning Retirement" and why they believe "It's time for a new deal between employers and older workers."

The authors first cite some remarkable statistics:

"Altogether, more than 10 million Americans who are 65 or older are currently employed, and that number is projected to rise to nearly 15 million by 2032. Today 27% of Americans ages 65 to 74 work or are actively looking for jobs, up from 20% in 2002. And people who are 65 or older now represent the fastest-growing segment of the labor force—by far. It’s projected that by 2032 one in four U.S. workers will be 55 or older, and close to one out of every 10 will be 65 or older."

They urge employers and Americans in general to understand this changing dynamic:

"We need to overcome lingering ageist stereotypes and start thinking of older and retired workers as a large, versatile, and valuable labor pool—one that’s significantly underutilized. Nearly 60% of people who are in or nearing retirement say they would be open to working during their retirement. That includes some 20 million retirees under the age of 75. If employers can get better at hiring, retaining, and engaging older workers—redesigning the employment deal—they’ll discover countless options for mutually productive matches."

The remainder of the article, which is largely targeted to employers, discusses several common myths about older workers and strategies for employers to retain older workers or seek them out. They share five specific steps:

"If you are experiencing labor and talent shortfalls and have found that many of your valuable employees are exiting into retirement, it’s time to act. We recommend that you take five steps: Preserve experience, replenish experience, share experience, offer flexibility, and leverage age diversity."

The above steps are discussed in detail in the article. The authors conclude:

"Today more and more older people want or need to work longer—and more organizations than ever need their help. In this “new age of aging,” the strategies and initiatives we’ve described present a clear win-win: When older adults stay active and engaged, it’s good for them and their families, for employers and the economy, and for society at large."

It is encouraging that such organizations as Age Wave are making a strong case for retaining and hiring Boomers. I encourage you to follow Dychtwald and Age Wave as they help employers and older employees navigate a dynamic and changing workplace. 

Image from is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!

What Can Boomers Do About Ageism?

Screen Shot 2024-02-20 at 1.00.20 PMAgeism is, literally, an age-old problem. The youngest Boomers turn 60 years of age in 2024. If they haven't faced the effects of ageism that older Boomers have already experienced, they soon will.

Ageism is a pervasive societal issue globally, not just in the United States. It is evident in the workplace, in healthcare, in the media, in consumer interactions and in everyday life. Older people are subjected to unwarranted firings, impatience and ridicule. Very simply, ageism is prejudicial and discriminatory.

Anti-ageism legislation and public awareness are helpful, but change comes slowly. As with most problems of social injustice, those affected must not be discouraged. They must be proactive and take individual action.

So what can you do about ageism? A new British campaign, "Age Without Limits," offers some guidance. Here are a few specifics from the campaign's website:

"There's lots you can do to challenge ageism as an individual. Taking an active stance against ageism is the only way we can change attitudes. You can do this in the following ways:

  1. Challenge ageism both internally (in both your own thinking and the words that you use) and ageism that you see in everyday conversations. 
  2. Formally complain about ageism when you come across it in the media and advertising.
  3. If you feel you have experienced direct or indirect discrimination, harassment, or victimisation in the workplace, you should follow your employer’s grievance procedure."

You'll find many more suggestions on the campaign website about how you can take action against ageism in the workplace, in your community, in everyday conversations, in the images you use, and in your communications and writing.

Another way in which you can combat ageism is to rekindle your youthful activism. Boomers were renowned for their activism in the Sixties and Seventies -- so why shouldn't our generation speak up again for the things we hold dear? Activism by people our age can dramatically change the perception that we are "old," "tired" and "washed up."

An organization designed to marshal people over sixty years of age is Third Act. According to the organization's website:

" 'Experienced Americans' are the fastest-growing part of the population: 10,000 people a day pass the 60-year mark. That means that there’s no way to make the changes that must be made to protect our planet and society unless we bring our power into play.

" a generation we have unprecedented skills and resources that we can bring to bear. Washington and Wall Street have to listen when we speak, because we vote and because we have a large—maybe an overlarge—share of the country’s assets. And many of us have kids and grandkids and great grandkids: we have, in other words, very real reasons to worry and to work."

Everyone who practices ageism wittingly or unwittingly may not fully appreciate that they too will someday be older. Don't let others define you by your age!

Image from is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!

A Country on the Cusp of "Peak 65"

Baby-boomer-442252_1280In a January 2024 research paper, the Retirement Income Institute reports that 2024 "marks the beginning of the 'Peak 65® Zone,' the largest surge of retirement age Americans turning 65 in our nation's history. Over 4.1 million Americans will turn 65 each year through 2027, which is more than 11,200 every day. By the year 2030, all baby boomers will be age 65 or older."

The Retirement Income Institute says that "fewer employers offer a traditional defined-pension retirement plan that provides much needed protected income throughout retirement. The old retirement system no longer fits the needs of today's American workforce. The result is that more Americans are currently at risk of entering retirement with Social Security as their only means of protected income, leaving many exposed to financial insecurity and lacking sufficient, reliable, and protected  retirement income that will last for the rest of their lives."

This assessment is troubling for millions of Boomers who are part of the "Peak 65" surge. It is likely one of the compelling reasons why a significant percentage of those age 65 and older remain in the workforce. According to the Pew Research Center, 19 percent of Americans age 65 or older were employed in 2023 -- nearly double the rate of those who were working 35 years ago. On average, they are working more hours than in previous decades. Today, 62 percent of older workers are working full time. In addition, older workers are twice as likely as younger workers to be self-employed.

Working may generate income today, but it may not result in enough to support our lifestyles in later years. That's why the Retirement Income Institute sees the old "three-legged stool" retirement model of an employer-provided defined-benefit pension plan, personal savings and Social Security as outmoded. Today, Social Security is the principal source of retirement income for most retirees, with Social Security benefits representing about 30 percent of the income for those over the age of 65.

So what is the answer for Boomers? Many, but not all, have been able to use investment vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to help secure their future retirement. Others plan to work as long as they possibly can. The Retirement Income Institute suggests potentially adding annuities to the mix to create what it calls a "personal pension plan." They point out, however, that annuities can be confusing to consumers, so Boomers need to educate themselves about these investments.

Many Boomers recognize that today, it is more important than ever to work in partnership with a financial advisor to develop a prudent plan to fund a comfortable retirement and be sure enough capital can be available when needed. If you haven't already worked with a financial advisor, don't wait. You are part of "Peak 65" and time is running out.

On Climate, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Screen Shot 2024-01-08 at 3.49.23 PM2023 was the hottest year in recorded history -- and this year may very well be hotter. That doesn't bode well for humanity specifically or the planet in general.

That's why the new book, Am I Too Old to Save the Planet? by Lawrence MacDonald, is especially timely. While many of us may just helplessly wring our hands, shake our heads or look the other way, MacDonald describes actions both little and big on climate change Boomers can take to make a difference.

Not surprisingly, MacDonald begins in Part 1 ("How we got here") by laying blame for climate change squarely on our generation. Unfortunately, Boomers have a lot of mea culpa to do.

More importantly, however, the author makes it very clear with a sense of true urgency that we can do something positive to affect climate change. In Part 2, MacDonald offers specific suggestions, beginning at a personal level and detailing six actions anyone can take to make an impact:

  1. Stop wasting food and eat less meat
  2. Drive less: Walk, bike and take public transportation more
  3. Move your money
  4. Install rooftop solar
  5. Upgrade your car to an EV
  6. Fly less -- or not at all

A key point MacDonald makes, however, is "Don't get stuck at personal action!" While each of these actions can have a real measurable effect if enough Boomers do them, the situation is dire enough for all of us to go beyond personal actions alone and become climate activists, says MacDonald.

The remainder of the book covers what MacDonald believes is needed if we are to thwart the effects of climate change. In short, he is recommending that Boomers take some serious interruptive actions to make a real difference. His call to action is likely to remind some Boomers of the passion they shared when they demonstrated and marched for civil rights, against the Vietnam war and on behalf of the environment.

MacDonald offers not just encouragement but solid suggestions as well as resources. Writes MacDonald, "Sadly, it's too late to restore the gentle, predictable climate that we knew in our youth. But it's not too late -- and we are not too old -- to save a livable planet for our children, grandchildren, and the generations coming after. Every tenth of a degree makes a difference."

We would do well to heed MacDonald's advice. You'd do well to read his book. is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!

eBooks for Boomers at Half Price through Jan. 1, 2024!

Screen Shot 2023-12-06 at 8.50.06 AMFrom December 15, 2023 until January 1, 2024, you can purchase any of these great eBooks for boomers at half price! This special sale is available only at, where you can download the eBook in your choice of format, including Mobi (Kindle), ePUB and PDF.

To get 50% off every one of the books listed, simply click on the title and use the code SEY50. You'll go directly to a page where you can order the eBook at half price. This offer is only good until January 1, 2024, so order today!

Boomer Brands: Iconic Brands that Shaped Our Childhood

Regularly $4.99, now $2.49

Screen Shot 2022-12-09 at 5.13.25 PMThis unique book is a stroll down memory lane, reminiscing about the beloved brands Boomers first met in the 50s and 60s. Brand maven Barry Silverstein shares “Boomer Brand Cameos” of over fifty of the brands Boomers grew up with: Disney, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Good Humor, Howard Johnson, Hush Puppies, MAD, Ovaltine, Twinkies, WIFFLE Ball and many more. Most of these brands began during the Boomer era and are still around. Plus, Boomers will gain rare insight into how these iconic brands shaped their childhood and have a lasting impact on their life. Boomer Brands is meant to be read by Boomers, shared with Boomers, and savored for the memories!

Boomer Brand Winners & Losers: 156 Best & Worst Brands of the 50s and 60s

Regularly $4.99, now $2.49

Screen Shot 2022-12-09 at 5.13.55 PMThis remarkable book features fascinating stories of 156 best and worst brands of the Boomer era. Relive the days of Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, E-Z Pop and Pop-Tarts, cap guns and comic books. Recall the time when automobiles ruled the road and a transistor radio was “advanced technology.” Learn how television played a key role in brand advertising. Discover which brands blossomed and which were a bust. Boomer Brand Winners & Losers is a wondrous walk down Memory Lane!

World War Brands: World War II and the Rise of the Modern American Brand

Regularly $5.99, now $2.99

Screen Shot 2022-12-09 at 5.14.08 PMThis book traces the development of the American brand from World War I through the 1920s and 1930s. It then explores the interrelationship of World War II and American brands, showing how the war itself was "branded," how brand advertisers leveraged the war, and how the post-war economy helped birth the modern brand. Included are 38 vintage ads and scores of stories about some of the best-known brands of the '40s and '50s. The book also examines brands in the context of American post-war culture, moving from the war's end into the 1950s and 1960s. Many brands from this time have survived and thrived into the 21st Century.

Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business

Regularly $6.99, now $3.49

Screen Shot 2022-12-09 at 5.13.40 PMBy a baby boomer couple who start a small service business as a second career, this how-to guide covers planning, financing, outfitting, and launching a service business, as well as operations, marketing, sales, customer service, and managing growth. Included are useful tools to help couples assess their business interests and compatibility. Let’s Make Money, Honey is a must-read for Boomer couples, especially those exploring encore careers.


The U.S. isn't Ready for Aging Boomers

Woman-65675_1920In November, the Longevity Project, supported by the Stanford Center for Longevity, held The 2023 Century Summit, a 2-day event covering the global challenges of aging. Sessions featured leading professionals discussing such issues as healthcare, financial aspects of retirement, building community and more. You can view videos of all the sessions here.

While I learned many important things, I was particularly interested in one session: "Home, Place and Where We Will Live Our Longer Lives." It took on special relevance for me as an older Boomer since I had recently made the decision with my wife to downsize and relocate across the country to live near our daughter and new granddaughter.

It also struck a chord because in August, my mother-in-law reached her 100th year and then passed away in October. She had transitioned in her final years from independent living to assisted living to rehabilitation from a fall in a skilled nursing facility and briefly to hospice. I got to witness the full spectrum of end-of-life care.

This Century Summit session, in combination with my own recent experiences, prompted me to acknowledge a cold reality: The U.S. is simply not ready for aging Boomers. During the session I referenced, moderator Amy Yotopoulos, President and CEO of Avenitas, spoke with Dr. Terry Fulmer, President of The John A. Hartford Foundation and Seth Sternberg, CEO of Honor. (Rather than explain what these organizations do I have linked to them.) The discussion centered largely around in-home care.

As you may know, about 55 million Americans are over 65 years of age. You may also know that an overwhelming number of them (more than 90 percent) want to age in place.

The disconnect is caregiving.

Seth Sternberg made it clear: "The biggest barrier to in-home care is affordability." According to Sternberg, people who are well off can afford in-home care and people who are poor can apply for Medicaid to cover in-home care -- but that leaves "the middle," who typically have to rely on caregivers made up of family, friends and neighbors. One of the main problems with the caregiving industry itself, says Sternberg, is that it is "hyper fragmented," making it difficult to offer any kind of scale that results in affordability.

Terry Fulmer agreed, adding that very few of us who are over 65 "are getting the type of caregiving they want." Fulmer pointed out that a lot of this is based on payment structure. "We pay for things one disease at a time," says Fulmer.

How caregiving expenses are covered is also problematic. For example, if someone over 65 has hip surgery, Medicare will pay for hospital care and rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility. But if that individual needs longer-term assistance, such as in-home care, assisted living or even a return to skilled nursing, health insurance coverage becomes far more complicated.

Fulmer cited some statistics that surprised me. She said only 800,000 people in the United States are in assisted living, and only 1.2 million are in skilled nursing facilities, with around 500,000 of them in skilled nursing for rehabilitation purposes. The PACE program, lauded for offering dining, recreational and daycare services to seniors who remain in their homes, serves only about 67,000 people.

It seems to me these numbers are stunningly low for a population in the tens of millions. With only 800,000 seniors in assisted living facilities, why should companies that operate them improve them, make them more affordable or even build more of them? The same goes for skilled nursing facilities if a little over half a million seniors are permanent residents there.

The North Carolina assisted living facility at which my mother-in-law resided cost close to $8,000 per month, while the skilled nursing facility she was about to enter as a permanent resident after rehabilitating there was closer to $10,000 per month. Without a combination of Social Security income, a few modest pensions and long-term care insurance (for which her children paid the premiums), she never would have been able to afford living at either facility long term. In fact, she remained living independently far longer than she should have, with my wife serving as her primary caregiver.

It may be possible for some seniors to remain in their homes, but for many it is an unrealistic scenario because their home is not conducive to aging in place. In addition, paid in-home healthcare is either too expensive or too inferior in quality. This is why millions of family members and friends act as unpaid in-home caregivers. This often leads to inadequate care and/or caregiver burnout.

The alternative -- assisted living -- is often unaffordable, as is the long term care insurance that helps offset the cost. If a skilled nursing facility is required, the cost is even higher. Only the wealthy can afford to pay privately for a decent skilled nursing facility. For anyone else, it is unaffordable, except those with assets less than $2000. These poverty-level individuals can apply for Medicaid, which will cover the cost of a skilled nursing facility that agrees to accept Medicaid residents.

What will millions of Boomers who are living longer do when they need care in their later years and our society isn't ready to provide it?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!


How Many Boomers will be "SuperAgers"?

Old-age-957492_1280Have you heard about the SuperAgers Family Study? It aims to identify the inherited and natural factors that protect against human aging and related diseases.  The data from this study will be used to create a large biorepository for future researchers about healthy aging.

According to the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), SuperAgers, or individuals age 95 and older, are a promising, living source of scientific knowledge about health longevity. Their experience and biology offer unique insights into understanding the correlation between age-related diseases and living an exceptionally long, healthy life. By studying individuals age 95 and older, the SuperAgers Initiative builds on a foundation of research into the biology of aging and promising therapeutics to extend years of health.

The researchers behind the study include Dr. Sofiya Milman and Dr. Nir Barzilai. Dr. Milman, Principal Investigator, is the Professor of Human Longevity Studies at the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Barzilai, Co-Investigator, is Scientific Director of AFAR and a chaired Professor of Medicine and Genetics.

The SuperAgers Family Study benefits participants by allowing them to learn more about their own biology as well as the ways in which their genetic traits have sustained their exceptional longevity. Research from this study will inform new treatments and approaches to healthy aging for generations to come. Participants will also have the opportunity to receive information on their ancestry. The study is currently enrolling:

  • Individuals aged 95 years or older.
  • Individuals whose parents are 95 years or older, who are currently alive and willing to participate in the study.
  • Individuals whose parents-in-law are 95 years or older, who are currently alive and willing to participate in the study.

 Current probability forecasts indicate that nonsmoking women in excellent health have a 1 in 3 chance of living to age 95 or beyond, and men have a 1 in 5 chance of living to age 95 or beyond. The population of individuals 95 and older grew by 48.6 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Boomers already make up a substantial portion of the U.S. population. According to the U.S. Census, in 2020, the 65-74 age group: 

  • Was the largest of the older age groups with 33.1 million people, representing over half of the 65-and-over population.
  • Represented 1 in 10 Americans in 2020.
  • Experienced the largest growth of any older age group the previous decade. Its numbers grew by 11.4 million or 52.5%, increasing from 21.7 mil­lion in 2010 to 33.1 million in 2020.

How many Boomers will be "SuperAgers"? It's an intriguing question to ponder.

Image by Pavlo from Pixabay is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!

AARP Report: How Boomers Are Changing America

Course-1015596_1280In the September 2023 issue of the AARP Bulletin, AARP reported on trends demonstrating the impact Boomers are having on a changing America. Here are some of the key trends covered in their analysis:

The Workplace

Not surprisingly, the number of workers age 65 and older increased by 117 percent in twenty years, as has employment of individuals 75 and older, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Part-time work, phased retirement and "returnships" (short-term employment programs designed to help out-of-work individuals ease their way back into the workforce) are all trending up.


Healthcare is the only broad spending category that consistently increases with people's ages, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Boomer households spent on average $6,600 per year on healthcare in 2021 while Millennials spent a third less. One of the major trends is aging in place. Today nearly 300 hospital-at-home programs exist in the U.S., and one in six hospitals will likely offer such programs by 2030. Consulting firm McKinsey estimates that $265 billion in home health care will be delivered to Medicare beneficiaries by 2025.

Financial services

Some $18 trillion sits in IRAs and 401(k) retirement accounts held by Americans. According to the Federal Reserve, the median holding in retirement accounts is $164,000 for households of people ages 65 to 74. Well aware of these retirement investments, the financial services industry is aggressively targeting older Americans. As people live longer, a common strategy of financial services providers is to help retirees understand how to make their funds last through retirement. This is especially crucial for Americans who are 60 to 69 years of age, because more than half of households headed by this group have less than $250,000 in financial assets. The Social Security Administration estimates that about 20 percent of Americans 65 and older rely on Social Security for more than three-quarters of their income.


Older Americans are embracing fitness and exercise. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country, with 49 percent of frequent pickle ball players age 55 and older, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Everything from exercise machines to low-impact workout programs specifically target the senior set.


The top group in travel spending is Americans 60 to 60 years of age, according to AARP. Travelers in this age group will shell out an average of $7,300 this year, and those who are 50 and older will average four trips this year.


Older Americans are moviegoers, and we're seeing more older actors appearing in movies because of these older audiences. Music concerts are also popular with older Americans as performers in their seventies continue to appear on stage. Television viewing by older Americans is also strong, as evidenced by such breakthrough programs as ABC's The Golden Bachelor -- for the first time featuring a bachelor in his seventies.


You have only to look at the president, members of Congress, and Supreme Court justices to know that older Americans populate the government. What's more, older voters make a significant difference in deciding elections. According to AARP, 61 percent of ballots cast in the 63 closest races for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022 were cast by voters 50 years of age or older. While change at federal, state and local governments comes slowly, legislation focused on an aging population is beginning to be proposed by lawmakers at all levels.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!

Retirement is Really About "Restructuring" and "Bridging"

Barca-473854_1280Researchers at Harvard Business School, Questrom School of Business, Bentley University and MIT Sloan School of Management recently interviewed 120 professionals to learn about the mental and emotional toll of retirement. They discovered that retirees go through two main processes: Life Restructuring and Identity Bridging

One of the researchers, Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School, spoke with Curt Nickisch of Harvard Business Review about the study. In discussing "life restructuring," Amabile says,"You have to majorly restructure your life that day you walk out, whether you’ve been working full-time up to that retirement or part-time, you’re going to have to really approach your life differently."

Amabile suggests that the interactions with people in the workplace are significant. When individuals retire, "most of us don’t realize how anchoring and important those work relationships are.

"We also don’t realize how important the structure of work is. We have been living for several decades as kind of a tenant of a life structure that our organization has created for us. We know where we’re going to be at 9:00 AM Monday through Friday and we pretty much know what we’re going to be doing and who we’re going to be interacting with."

Amabile identifies four developmental tasks as part of life restructuring:

  1. The retirement decision: Deciding when to retire and how to retire.
  2. Detaching from work: "Some can let go completely... and for others, they have a hard time moving on at least mentally, even if they’re not engaging in work activities, they’re thinking about it a lot and they feel that they’re still in that world."
  3. Managing the liminal phase: "Liminal means betwixt and between – kind of in the midst of change of some kind." Some people plan for this carefully while others don't.
  4. The consolidation stage: That's when a new life structure is in place and it is working for the individual.

The second process is identity bridging. Amabile observes that people who can maintain or enhance aspects of themselves that existed in pre-retirement can enjoy satisfaction and enrichment in retirement. She says, "Often it’s bridging some aspect of that work identity. Often it’s enhancing, developing some non-work aspect of identity that you had. So, one of the most common things we’ve seen is that people will have had an avocation that they enjoyed a pre-retirement, that they get really engaged in much more strongly after retirement.

"And that’s very fulfilling for them, very enjoyable. Sometimes it’s the relationship they had that was important to them – an important part of their identity – and they’re now deepening that engagement, spending more time with that person."

One of the challenges related to identity bridging is how integrated identity is with working for many people. According to Amabile," So much of our identity is almost necessarily wrapped up in our work. So much of our mind space is occupied by our work, that we let other pieces of ourselves atrophy." 

Amabile notes that if people "can maintain some creative activity outside of work, even while they’re fully engaged in their career, that seems to stand them in good stead because that’s something they can grow afterward. That gives them a natural identity bridge."

If you are planning to retire -- or already retired -- maybe you are going through "life restructuring" and "identity bridging." If so, you are not alone.

Image by Karl Oss Von Eeja from Pixabay is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Check out Books for Boomers!