Prevent post retirement suicide

Retirement and the Rising Rate of Suicide – plan to avoid this outcome

Prevent post retirement suicide
Know the risk factors, the warning signs, and the phone number.

You have had tremendous success in your career. Perhaps you started the company yourself. You at least had a major impact on its success.

For years you have been planning for retirement. Your financial portfolio is ready. Your succession plans are in place. Your family is excited to have more of your time.

Or, maybe retirement has come before you are ready. A buy-out or lay-off situation seemed to come out of nowhere.

Any of these situations can lead to the almost unthinkable outcome of suicide.

Rise in Suicide in the US

The Centers for Disease Control released new data in June 2018 about the rising rate of suicide in the United States. Over at least the last decade, the population with the most increase was men ages 45-59 followed closely by those over 60. All but one state has seen an increase in suicide from 1999 to 2016.

Note, during this time two key variables could be playing a role.

  • The Boomer generation has a different perspective on life and religion as compared to previous generations. This generation has explored a wider range of religions and a larger segment has moved away from traditional religion.
  • There was a recession that changed the economic portfolio for many people. Although age and health might indicate it is time to retire, the financial situation might have taken a hit from which it has not yet recovered.

Depression and Suicide in Retirement

Another factor for anyone who retires is the possibility of the post-retirement-blues. Those with hobbies and a broad social network seem to get through this the best. But, especially for those who spent most of their time working and had their social network primarily consist of work colleagues, retirement can feel like sudden isolation.   So much planning has gone into getting to retirement. Then, once there, the sudden stop of the normal routine and the uncertainty about what comes next can have a big effect. In some cases it is mild disillusionment and an impetus to start creating new routines exploring new opportunities.

In some cases, it leads to a loss of self. A deeper, darker depression can erode confidence, meaning, and a sense of relevance. For some, this downward spiral can lead to suicide.

  • If you ever have a desire to end your life, or know someone who may be contemplating suicide, please reach out to a resource such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number 1-800-273-8255.

Planning for Retirement

Much effort often goes into planning for the financial component of retirement and the succession at work. But, what about preparing mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically for the personal transition of retirement? This is at least as important as the other planning.

At Retirement Wellness Strategies, we have a unique mapping tool to help you plan for this next chapter. Retirement should be meaningful, active, sustained (for a good long time), and healthy. That is where we come in. Don’t leave your transition to chance.

You can reach us at www.retirewellness.com, michelle@retirewellness.com, or by calling 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Life can be so stressful. Even during the transition to retirement, life stressors can overtake you.

Retirement is meant to be a time of new possibilities, adventure, relaxation, and no more rigid time rules. It is a reward that is earned through years of hard work.

Yet, many people, especially men in positions of leadership and great responsibility, struggle with this transition. It impacts every aspect of their being. It is too easy to get lost in the separation from work life to retirement life.

We are assured throughout the Bible that we will encounter difficult times.

John 16:33  NIV

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Romans 5:3-5  NIV

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

We are also assured throughout the Bible that we will not be left alone during these struggles.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Psalm 34:17-20 ESV

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

I encourage all who read this to consider how they can help those who are giving up to see these promises of Christ! Even Christians and successful leaders can fall into despair.

I often wonder if someone who chooses suicide could have held on for just another couple of minutes, if the outcome could have been different. Our deepest valleys do eventually dissipate into a more hopeful scenario.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

How can you help decrease this rise in suicide in our country?

Blessings,

Michelle

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Why is DIVORCE during and after retirement on the rise?

Protect your marriage
Protect your marriage from the stresses of divorce

Divorce around retirement – You’ve seen it in pop culture, in famous people. And, you’ve likely seen it in your own community. It won’t be surprising if you are seeing this trend in your own family, even your own marriage.

The incidence of divorce over age 50 is experiencing a sharp rise. It has nearly TRIPLED since 1990. (Interestingly, the divorce rate among younger adults under age 40 is declining). So, why are the Boomer’s divorcing at an unprecedented rate?

The role of RETIREMENT in divorce

Retirement is one of the top 10 biggest life adjustments. It is a time of huge transition ranking right up there with marriage, having children, moving, and loss of a loved one.

Many people enter retirement unprepared. They often haven’t thought about the daily changes, the sudden loss of routine, and the sudden increase in togetherness time with their spouse.

In a perfect, romantic world, more time together is exactly what each couple wants. Nothing in life is perfect, at least not for long.

That’s not to say that marriages can’t thrive in retirement. They absolutely can. But that usually requires some communication, compromise, and adjusted expectations.

A healthy marriage in retirement

Both partners have a lot of change to navigate with retirement. Time spent together usually increases. Either partner might find that restrictive. The more we are together, the more complicated communication can be as well. (It is much easier to say the wrong thing when you’re talking more).

  1. The most important step to a healthy marriage in retirement is to talk about it before it happens, or at least before relations get very hurtful after retirement. Rarely do both partners have a clear picture of what retirement will really be like. But, both have some ideas of what they want it to be like. How much have you talked about this?
  2. Until it happens, sometimes people don’t even know what might annoy, frustrate, or stifle them in retirement. Agree to be open with one another as these stumbling blocks present themselves. Recognize that they will occur, and before they are personal or hurtful, calmly talk about them.
  3. Plan for how you will maintain some independent interests and activities. If you have had only a few hours in the evening and on the weekends together for decades, 24/7 togetherness can be overwhelming.
  4. Talk about expectations. What are common aspirations, plans, and desires? Unmet expectations are almost always at the center of a divorce. Often, one doesn’t know what the other was expecting until the relationship is too far-gone. Don’t let that happen.
    1. I’ve seen examples where one person wants to travel while the other wants to stay home.
    2. Sometimes one has always dreamed of taking couples dance lessons and the other would rather do anything but that.
    3. A big issue I’ve seen is one spouse wants a lot of togetherness going and doing things while the other wants to spend most time with the grandchildren.
  5. Include the more intimate parts of your relationship in your planning. This is an area of frequent mismatch in expectations. There is NO truth that sex ends at a particular age. It is very helpful when partners can open discuss these expectations and honor what motivates the other partner to share the same desires.

Planning is key

Don’t leave your marriage to chance after retirement. Recognize that retirement is a major life transition. Respect the wide range of emotions and adjustments each partner will make.

Retirement Wellness Strategies is here to help!   Let us help you preserve your health and strategically plan for all aspects of your retirement such that it is Meaningful, Active, Sustained, and Healthy!

Learn more at www.retirewellness.com, michelle@retirewellness.com, or call 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Marriage is sacred. Marriage vows are committed in the presence of God and witnesses.

Yet, marriage can be very hard. Marriages go through good and bad times (as usually stated in the vows).

Today’s culture values feelings over commitment. Culture supports and sometimes even promotes greater focus on self than on a partner.

I know so many lovely people who have experienced the trauma of divorce. Know that you are deeply loved. God knows the details. Give the grief, disillusionment, and any other feelings over to him who can heal all wounds.

Where have you made mistakes in your marriage?

When have you put yourself above your spouse?

When have you been hurtful and unkind?

When have you taken your marriage for granted?

I believe all married people have done these things. We all have difficult days.

The commitment of marriage doesn’t mean sunshine and roses.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

There’s a reason these verses list all of the ways we mess up in marriage or any love relationship.

If you feel like you’ve done it all wrong, don’t give up hope. Love comes from God, and He can fill your love bucket at any time…just ask. Love is so much more than a mushy feeling.

Ephesians 5:33 ESV

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

1 John 4:7 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

I pray your love and marriage are resilient. If your marriage has officially ended, I pray you find healing, forgiveness, and hope for a bright new future. God is good!

Blessings,

Michelle