JEDDAH — Most retirees dream about spending time with their friends and family, weekend getaways and making up for all those missed family occasions. And although the peaceful and harmonious years retirement offers sound very attractive, the transition from a lifetime of working to staying at home is difficult. Retirement is an emotional experience and with both Saudi men and women enjoying longer average life expectancies, many retirees feel that they are isolated from the outside world and many problems begin to arise for retirees and their families.
“Since Abu Osama retired, all he has done is interfere in the most trivial household affairs. He complains about things like the order of the furniture and the food cooked in the house. As we are both elderly, we cannot help the bickering that ensues between us. Because of my household chores, I am just as bored as he is, but at least he gets to rest now, while I have to continue with my chores. This is why I send him out under any pretext, so that I can have a moment of rest,” said Umm Osama about her recently-retired husband.
Sabah’s suffering is not much different from Umm Osama’s, as her husband also interferes in household affairs. “He wakes up early in the morning and asks for breakfast, but is never satisfied with its quality. He also interferes with the maid’s chores, and expresses constant dissatisfaction with her cleaning,” said Sabah.
Experts say the social and psychological reasons behind such interference is the sudden feeling of emptiness that evades a retiree’s life, which was earlier filled with activity. A solution for this is to restructure the whole family system, so that it is compatible with that of the retired person’s.
Nadia Nasir, a social worker, attributes retired men’s interfering behavior to the sense of emptiness they feel due to lack of activity. She notes that the most important thing that can be done is to not make a retired man feel as if he has lost his place of significance, and to continue to appreciate him.
“We should keep him occupied with hobbies, and urge him to exercise more, as he has more time now. The family system also needs to be restructured, and family members like children and grandchildren should try to spend quality time with him. The wife can organize his sleeping hours accordingly,” said Nasir who added that a suitable part-time or volunteer job could also prove helpful.