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Divulging Post-Retirement Challenges and Advocating for Mental Health and Social Support

โ€ฆ๐’Š๐’๐’”๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’•๐’” ๐’‡๐’“๐’๐’Ž ๐’“๐’†๐’•๐’Š๐’“๐’†๐’†๐’”’ ๐’•๐’†๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’Ž๐’๐’๐’Š๐’‚๐’๐’” ๐’”๐’‰๐’†๐’… ๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’• ๐’๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’–๐’“๐’ˆ๐’†๐’๐’„๐’š ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’‰๐’๐’๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’„ ๐’”๐’–๐’‘๐’‘๐’๐’“๐’• ๐’”๐’š๐’”๐’•๐’†๐’Ž๐’” ๐’Š๐’ ๐’๐’‚๐’—๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‚๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’•๐’‚๐’ ๐’‰๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’•๐’‰ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’๐’„๐’Š๐’‚๐’ ๐’Š๐’”๐’๐’๐’‚๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‘๐’๐’”๐’•-๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’†๐’†๐’“.

Krishna Kumar Sanyasi

In the often-overlooked landscape of post-retirement life, a complex interplay of mental and physical challenges unfolds for individuals bidding farewell to their professional careers. Retirement, often regarded as a period of leisure, can paradoxically induce emotions of grief, reduced self-worth, and a reassessment of one’s identity. Social isolation, resulting from the lack of routine workplace interactions, emerges as a substantial determinant, precipitating feelings of solitude and possible disengagement.

The combination of financial uncertainties and changes in lifestyle can lead to increased stress levels, which, in turn, can have detrimental effects on both mental and physical health. Moreover, the increased availability of leisure time during retirement could present obstacles to the development of healthy coping strategies, potentially leading to physical health issues.

Nandi Kishore Chapagai, an accomplished government servant with 36 years of committed service, sheds light on critical concerns involving mental health. According to him, the current system lacks dedicated aid for mental health, leaving retirees to rely on familial support and personal initiatives when seeking medical care.

Moreover, he said, “I have not observed any remarkable programs or activities designed specifically for retired individuals. The lack of professional support for retirees is evident, and there appears to be a lack of distinction between those who have dedicated their careers to public service and those who have not. Retirees must receive recognition and be offered specific perks in the fields of healthcare and finance. This might be achieved by the development of a retiree identity, enabling them to receive the required services and support they need.”

Loday Rabten, a retired individual, has articulated concerns about the challenges faced by retirees, asserting, “Retirees are often neglected, and it feels as though we are no longer of value to the government. Personally, it seems like I have been discarded into the dustbin.” Furthermore, he emphasizes that despite changes in government, there has been a persistent lack of improvement in benefits for retirees. The prevailing sense of neglect is disheartening.

Beda Nidhi Chimariya has brought attention to shared concerns, stating, โ€œAfter dedicating thirty-eight years of service to the government, there is a noticeable absence of recognition. Even when I visit my former workplace casually for a stroll, I experience a lack of acknowledgment, and I sense a diminished level of respect compared to my active working years. Presently, people perceive me solely as a ‘retiree.โ€

Namgay, a retired civil servant with 33 years of dedication to teaching, echoes common concerns regarding post-retirement experiences. He shares, “After retiring, I experienced a sense of isolation and lethargy. I found myself reluctant to venture out due to a feeling of neglect. Despite attempts to engage myself at home, those efforts proved ineffective. Subsequently, I sought guidance from a lama and began practicing meditation, which has proven to be beneficial.” Namgay suggests that implementing programs to keep retirees engaged would significantly contribute to the well-being of retired individuals.

Dr. Damber Kumar Nirola, a psychiatrist employed at the National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, has observed that a prevalent phenomenon among retirees is the experience of a profound sense of isolation in the post-retirement phase. โ€œThis sentiment is often triggered by various factors, eliciting a spectrum of emotional responses, including feelings of loss, diminished self-esteem, and a reassessment of one’s connection to their professional role. The sudden discontinuation of daily work-related activities can engender a pervasive sense of purposelessness and, in some cases, contribute to the onset or exacerbation of mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders.โ€
Dr. Damber Kumar Nirola emphasizes the critical role that carers or family members play in addressing these concerns. In instances where retirees are grappling with such issues, he advocates seeking assistance from healthcare professionals and proactively seeking consultation.

Dr. Nirola extends a message to retirees, stating, “It is essential to approach retirement as a new chapter in life, embracing the opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment. Regular self-assessment and adaptation of strategies will contribute to maintaining optimal mental health during this significant life transition. If you have specific concerns or require further guidance, do not hesitate to consult with a mental health professional like me.”

Additionally, he highlights the essential need for emotional support for retirees during this transitional phase.
Tshering Penjor, a physiotherapist at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, underscores the significance of maintaining physical activity post-retirement. He asserts that simple activities such as walking and adhering to a regular exercise routine contribute significantly to the overall physical health of retirees. Engaging in activities like brisk walking triggers the release of endorphins, commonly referred to as ‘happy hormones,’ thereby positively influencing emotions and mood.

Prioritizing physical well-being through regular exercise, according to Penjor, holds dual benefits for both physical and mental health. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of regular check-ups for retirees, providing an opportunity to promptly address any emerging health issues that may arise.

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