Looking at aging and retirement from a strictly biological or financial viewpoint could make anyone fearful. Thankfully there’s plenty of assistance available to help retirees see the bigger picture, from volunteer opportunities to spiritual guidance to inspirational films. Here are some resources that remind us of the greater questions.
On the web
Catholic Senior Spirit
Ann and Deacon Jim Cavera’s site offers page after page of wisdom.
Dr. Richard Johnson, considered a top expert on aging and retirement, produces materials used by many parishes. Whether looking for individual resources or something to use in a group setting, Johnson’s website is the place to go.
A Satisfying Retirement
Author Bob Lowry’s website addresses all aspects of retirement.
Planning for retirement beyond the financial.
This New York Times blog focuses on the Baby Boom generation caring for their elderly parents, “an unprecedented generational challenge.”
A recent retiree blogs about her first year of moving from full-time career to being fully retired.
This well-done web magazine collects content from a variety of blogs on aging.
Beyond your parish, local Catholic Charities, and favorite nonprofits, here are some resources for retirees to donate their newfound free time:
Corporation for National & Community Service connects retirees with organizations that need help.
Global Volunteers, “the granddaddy of the volunteer movement,” offers programs for families and individuals, including seniors.
Habitat for Humanity, includes an "RV Care-A-Vanners" group of volunteers with RVs who participate in homebuilding projects throughout the United States.
The Ignatian Volunteer Corp has branches in many U.S. cities. The IVC offers prayer gatherings for volunteers and a chance to discuss what they’ve encountered.
New Hope for Cambodian Children gives HIV-positive children love and a chance to live full lives.
Retired & Senior Volunteer Program allows you to simply enter your zip code and interests to find opportunities near you.
Road Scholar offers service vacations, like helping with landscape preservation at Auschwitz or building a community center in Bolivia.
Senior Corps’s main website links to all their volunteer programs, like the RSVP program, and has other information for retirees as well.
Senior Corps Foster Grandparents Program works through Head Start Centers to connect retirees with children.
Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service Program of the Military Order of the Purple Heart operates the largest volunteer program in the federal government, working with VA medical centers throughout the country.
Books on retirement
Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room, 2008) by Missy Buchanan
Aging Faithfully: 28 Days of Prayer (Upper Room, 2011) by Missy Buchanan
Shaping a Life of Significance for Retirement (Upper Room, 2010) by Jack Hansen and Jerry P. Haas
Creating a Successful Retirement: Finding Peace and Purpose (Liguori, 1999) by Richard Johnson, PhD
The 12 Keys to Spiritual Vitality: Powerful Lessons on Living Agelessly (Liguori, 1998) by Richard Johnson, PhD
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Jossey-Bass, 2011) by Richard Rohr
Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives (Bantam, 2002) by David Snowdon
Keeping Spiritual Balance as We Grow Older: More than 65 Creative Ways to Use Purpose, Prayer, and the Power of Spirit to Build a Meaningful Retirement (SkyLight Paths, 2004) by Molly Srode and Bernie Srode
Creating a Spiritual Retirement: A Guide to the Unseen Possibilities in Our Lives (SkyLight Paths, 2004) by Molly Srode
Films that offer reflections on retirement
Wild Strawberries, 1957. A bitter 78-year-old widower journeys towards self-discovery and peace in this Ingmar Bergman film.
Harry and Tonto, 1974. Retiree Harry (Art Carney) travels cross-country with his cat after his apartment is demolished to make way for a parking garage.
Going in Style, 1979. George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg are three bored retirees who decide to rob a bank. Everyone needs purpose.
On Golden Pond, 1981. Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn play a couple near the end of their lives.
The Trip to Bountiful, 1985. Elderly Geraldine Page escapes her mean son to travel to her childhood home of Bountiful, making a new friend on the way.
The Last Good Time, 1994. An elderly violinist’s diminished life is interrupted—and enriched—by a relationship with a troubled young neighbor.
The Straight Story, 1999. David Lynch’s film is about an elderly man’s struggle to reach and reconcile with his brother before it’s too late.
Gran Torino, 2008. Clint Eastwood plays an alienated, retired auto worker who struggles to find his way to purpose.
Toy Story 3, 2010. Sure, they’re only toys, but they’re still being retired. Turns out toys need purpose too.
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011. The brilliant cast includes Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy playing Brit retirees who retire in India.