Forum: Trick is to maintain self-respect and find a new purpose after retirement

Mr Sherman Goh Keng Hwee's letter is on a subject very close to me now, being in my 70s and having just relinquished three executive board directorships (Set up national body to prepare people for retirement, Feb 19).

I was afraid of fading into oblivion, and feared becoming irrelevant; without status and stripped of my self-esteem.

To the nearly one million retirees by the year 2030, please take heart because retirement is not just filled with days of tending to your potted plants for the rest of your life.

There is a "successful ageing" programme started by the Ministry of Health's Ageing Planning Office in 2018, but this may not address a new retiree's needs.

The concern is how to prepare for a happy and seamless retirement, and remain mentally and physically intact. This involves a lot of personal effort tailored to one's circumstances.

A person who had a successful and fulfilling career may find it very difficult to let go and face the sudden transition, which can affect his physical and mental well-being.

He needs to find a new purpose in life to regain his confidence, and I can relate some guidelines advocated by many healthcare care professionals.

Take time to improve your physical health and keep in good shape, bearing in mind a person loses about 8 per cent of his muscle mass every 10 years. Include the correct health supplements and diet, because with a strong body, your mind will remain sharp.

Embrace the digital age and understand the intricacies of the gig economy, and do not hesitate to challenge your grandchildren at coding.

If you want respect and relevance, you need to earn them from the younger generation. Read insatiably and keep in touch with current affairs.

Also, ferry your grandchildren about and accept their fares paid with love, joy, laughter and tears.

Dress well and strive to be presentable, and always express yourself articulately, with patience, kindness and charity.

If you still have the time and energy, provide advisory services in your past vocation to maintain your professional standing.

This retirement programme is free, designed and tutored by yourself to endow you with self-respect in a way that no national body can match.

Wong Bheet Huan

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