Defining your retirement identity
Jennifer Gustafson, Community Outreach Manager, Neighbors Who Care
Retirement is a much sought-after milestone. After an entire lifetime of working, it’s good to finally take things a bit easier. But retirement can also put us in a position of wondering who we are now and what our new purpose in life is. This is especially true if our jobs or pre-retirement roles defined how we were seen in society and in our own minds.
Think about it: In a social setting, one of the first questions that someone may ask is, “So, what do you do?” In a previous life, it was easy to talk about your job or your life as a parent raising a family. But what happens when you meet someone new and answer, “I’m retired”?
While talking about your freedom to play golf or stay in your pajamas until noon might incite interest and envy, you might also find that you are missing a part of your life that you once relished. It is not unusual for retirees to discover that they need to have some positive activity in their lives that not only makes them feel good, but also has an impact on the lives of others.
At Neighbors Who Care, our volunteers have found a worthwhile way to spend some of their time while enjoying their much-deserved R&R. As NWC volunteers, they are able to offer their time and talents to serve disabled, recuperating and homebound residents in Sun Lakes and South Chandler. As such, they have found a fulfilling new purpose and, in essence, a new identity.
“I feel so proud to be a part of this organization,” says volunteer Ev Rainwaters, a former community college math teacher. “Volunteering gives me the chance to pay it forward, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to help others.”
There are many ways to help at Neighbors Who Care. Our services include transportation to medical and hair appointments, grocery shopping, dinner delivery, minor household repairs, friendly visiting, reassurance calling and respite care. These service options offer volunteers the opportunity to choose how they want to volunteer and when they want to volunteer. With no set schedules, you can decide what works best for you.
“Every job here is important, and every volunteer respects the other,” says Cherie Dankas, who previously worked as a registered nurse. “We accomplish great things together for our clients every day.”
So, whether you are newly retired or want to redefine your retirement identity, we invite you to consider volunteering with Neighbors Who Care. We have an especially critical need for volunteers during the summer months when our seasonal volunteers return to their homes up north. If you are a year-round resident looking to volunteer, please consider how you can help.
Contact us at 480-895-7133 if you would like to experience the personal satisfaction of assisting your community neighbors or if you know of someone who needs our help.