RETIREMENT: Realities & ReflectionsEditor’s Note: Monthly asked local writer and business consultant Jack Wilson (master of the “how not to retire’ philosophy) to provide a multi-faceted perspective regarding retirement. He interviewed a cross-section of locals who asked him to omit their last names.

Picture this: two men sitting casually in an office. The one behind the desk says to the other, “I had planned to step down to spend more time with my family, but my family talked me out of it.” Sure, it’s a funny line from a classic cartoon in Parade magazine, but there is a ring of familiarity to it. Isn’t “spending more time with the family” often stated as a reason for one’s retirement, a subject many of us think about, whether we’re facing it now or at some point in the future? But is retirement really inevitable? Is it the same for us as it was for our parents and grandparents? If not, how has it changed and how might it have changed our own thinking about these “golden years?”

Getting the most out of your golden years.

Getting the most out of your golden years.So you have successfully navigated through several of  life’s challenges in education, marriage, parenting and your career, and now you have the opportunity to excel in a well-earned, uh, retirement?

That last word seems to mean different things to different people. Perhaps it means leisure, recreation, travel, reading, family visits, etc. Maybe it includes volunteering and humanitarian activities. But if it excludes doing any form of part-time, income-producing work, you should stop reading right here and enjoy yourselves.

A look at health concerns facing the aging population of Baby Boomers.

Boom or BUST?Approximately 12.5% of the United States’ population is over the age of 65. As America ages, needs for healthcare and medications increase. The number of people who may fall into the role of caregiver increases as well. Whether it is the spouse, an adult child, or a hired helper, the job of caregiver can greatly change the caregivers life. One phenomenon that has increased is the “sandwich generation” - a group of adults who still have young or school-aged children at home but are also caregiver of aging parents.

Sometimes children may have moved far away from their parents, because of job opportunities or desire to live in a certain area. For that reason, it may become necessary to seek help within the parents’ community. However, it will take some time and decision making even when it is not feasible to become the caregiver.