Lethargic in retirement

Q: Although we continue to live on the home quarter, we turned most of our farm over to our two sons three years ago.


My husband thought it was time for him to retire and both of our boys were eager to get out from under their dad’s control.


So far it seems to be working. 


But I have noticed that Dad is also a bit sad these days. He does not do much. He reads, watches television and slips into town every now and then to join the guys on coffee row.


But he is otherwise pretty lethargic. I am getting a bit concerned. I think that he should be busier and I definitely would like to seem him less agitated and happier. What do you suppose that I can do about it?


A: We who live in the country tend to deny it but research shows that more than average numbers of people living in the country struggle at least to some extent with depression. 


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We do not like to admit to it, and we definitely don’t do much about it. But depression is real and dealing with it head-on is important.


You and your husband also have to realize you are getting older.


Studies show people who are older, living in the country, and who are also not as active as they might be, tend to get depressed more easily than do those who work their way through daily activities.


Fortunately the converse is also true. Studies show that those who increase their activity levels will ultimately be less depressed than they once were. 


The key activity on which the research focused is walking. The probability for depression is less for those who go on walks than it is for those who don’t.


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The trouble with walking is that people tend to think that they walk more than they actually do. Almost everyone I know who lives on the farm thinks that they walk excessively. 


Certainly, those who matured through life within your generation see themselves as walkers. But most spend more time driving the truck than walking and the time left over is often committed to the television set.


If you would like to spark things up at home for you and your husband, try picking up a couple of odometers from the sports store. 


You can use them to measure the kilometres that the two of you actually walk. And once you have done that, you can set some new goals. Set a schedule to get those daily walks in and the odds are good that you will soon be less lethargic.

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Jacklin Andrews is a family counsellor 
from Saskatchewan. Contact: jandrews@producer.com.

  • old grouchy

    I realize that the ‘expert’ has already weighed in – – – – but I think that they’re wrong. What you husband needs is something to occupy him – – something to challenge him – – – not something huge but something that makes him want to get out of bed in the mornings. He’s been busy and pushing his whole life – – – now is is just sitting there – – – either he is going to get going at something or his longevity is going to truncate. In my experience people who retire to nothing just don’t last and I also know one lady who was planting apple trees at 86 and she’s still with us at a few months shy of 95.

    • Harold

      You are everything and more than the expert simply because anything that you will do rewrites their thinking. Having said this, the title Counsellor is not at the level of an expert. Those with experience over and above your own they are all experts until you exceed their level of understanding. People cause within them a great injustice when they accept the words of a Title over their own words of conscience.