Advances in Applied Sociology
2013. Vol.3, No.6, 237-245
Published Online October 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/aasoci) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/aasoci.2013.36032
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 237
Educational Preparation of Older Adults and
Their Families for Retirement
María de los Ángeles Aguilera1, José de Jesús Pérez1, Diemen Delgado2,
Mónica Contreras1, Martín Acosta1, Blanca Elizabeth Pozos1
1Department of Public Health, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, México
2Department of Occupational Health, Clinica Rio Blan co , Lo s A n d es , Ch i le
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, jjesusperezs @hotmail.com, diemen.delgado@clin icarioblanco.cl,
email@example.com, fmartin63@gmai l. com, l it aemx@ yahoo.com.mx
Received July 23rd, 2013; revised August 23rd, 2013; accepted September 1st, 2013
Copyright © 2013 María de los Ángeles Aguilera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Crea-
tive Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any me-
dium, provided the o riginal work is properly cited.
The purpose of this qualitative case study, carried out in two phases, is to systematize the learning experi-
ences and expectations of older adults and their families as they face approaching retirement, in Guadala-
jara, Mexico, 2012. The strategy implemented was an educational preparation for retirement. Six adults
had already retired, two were soon to be retired and eight family members were chosen for this study.
Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and a SQA-E format. The educational strategy was
an interactive conference. A phenomenological analysis was made of the experiences recorded. The natu-
ralistic criterial evaluation of learning experiences and expectations was applied before and after the edu-
cational intervention. Through this intervention, participants were made conscious of their problems,
expressed the desire to improve certain aspects of their lives and continued educational preparation.
Keywords: Preparation; Sensitization; Older Adults; Retirement; Family
Retirees and adults (not yet seniors) make for a vulnerable
high-risk population. Educational intervention is very important
for them to prepare for the next stage of their life and prevent
Retiring was a non-issue in the past because life expectancy
was short. Now this is a fundamental issue for the number of
people affected and for many years when they will live as re-
tirees. A third of retirees experience changes in their health dur-
ing the first six months, solve the problem for so many months,
or their problems may last up to two years (Moragas, Rivas,
Cristofol, Rodriguez, & Sanchez, 2006). Others, who appar-
ently had no initial adjustment problems have problems at this
stage of disillusionment (Atchley, 1971), as knowledge and
skills needed to deal with the changes positively.
One of the central themes of the Second World Assembly on
Ageing in Madrid, Spain was to propose that older people
should participate fully and effectively in the economic, politi-
cal and social development of their societies (Organización de
las Naciones Unidas, 2003).
However, during the transition from work to retirement, in
most developing societies, preparation is very scarce and social
rites are almost nonexistent (Moragas et al., 2006), leaving peo-
ple disabled for social participation.
The task of educational preparation for retirement is not easy.
There are few empirical references that would illustrate this. In
theory, andragogy is defined as the set of fundamental princi-
ples for adult learning that applies to all learning situations
(Knowles, 2006) and participatory models of educational inter-
vention (Gleibler & Hege, 1997; Pérez, 2003; Rodríguez-Se-
dano & Solés-Elizalde, 2008), and its fundamentals are more
suitable for educational strategies with older adults.
However, there is still a need to test the educational models
in practice to build one’s own retirement educational mode to
help improve the quality of life for seniors and their life part-
ners. The population of retired people is heterogeneous and
each person, or a group of persons, according to the combina-
tion of their personal, social, employment and retirement fac-
tors, have diverse needs in retirement from employment. On th e
other hand, it is important to engage close relatives of the retir-
ees in educational training processes for daily living. In that
case, the heterogeneity of the retired population meets the plu-
rality of characteristics of their families.
Despite these inherent difficulties, preparing for retirement
should be addressed urgently since its seriousness warrants it.
People who have difficulty in adjusting to retirement suffer
physical alterations (insomnia, hypertension, digestive and car-
diovascular disorders), psychological problems (anxiety, pes-
simism, depression, alcoholism, and reduced libido) and social
problems (loss of relationships and loneliness), which are col-
lectively called the “Retirement Syndrome” (Moragas et al.,
2006). Also it was found that some retirees and early retirees
experience stress, dependency and domestic violence during
retirement (Aguilera & Torres, 2008).
Although there are at least seven scientific theories of human
development that (Friedman & Havighurst, 1954; Cumming &
Henry, 1961; Havighurst, 1994; Atchley, 1971; Freud, 1973;
Baltes, 1989; Carstensen, 1992) have pertinent suggestions for
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
preparing successfully for retirement (Limón, 1993; Madrid
& Garcés, 2000; de las Heras, 2004), most of them have not
been used yet in most of the Latin American contexts, or at
least not systemically.
Unlike many studies that have been made on the economic,
physical, psychological and social problems that retirement has
on people, there are very few studies about the effects of
preparation programs for retirement (Skoknic, 1998; Pérez et al.,
2006; Moragas et al., 2006).
Preparing for retirement should be tailored to employees,
considering all the intervening factors as far as possible. It
should include the contributions of the various theories that
explain retirement and the findings of empirical studies (Aguil-
era, 2010) and be based on one or several educational theories.
However, before preparing for retirement, you must carry out
a process of educational awareness in participants, with the
intention of motivating a process of individual and collective
reflection on their role in the issue of retirement .
Raising awareness is a key enabling subsequent educational
activities (Chicharro & Maza, 2008). In that sense, the purpose
of raising awareness in older retirees is to enable them for so-
Sensitization is planned according to the experiences of the
subjects and is aimed at helping to decipher the source of the
problems, raise critical awareness and generate interest in prac-
tical solidarity and active engagement with changing mindsets,
attitudes and practices. With awareness we can understand the
source of the problem and enhance the understanding of the
causes (eQual, 2011).
Brief intervention programs, such as interactive lectures, can
have results comparable to longer programs as major changes
may promote a greater awareness and sensitization to certain
problems. Social awareness through interactive lectures facili-
tates the abandonment of myths and false beliefs regarding the
causes of the problem (Pick, Leenen, Givaudan, & Prado, 2010).
Conferences may involve both older adults and their closest
relatives, with the intention of improving the latter’s’ under-
standing of the issues facing retired employees.
The first step in educational knowledge is a diagnosis to be-
come acquainted with the people, trying to meet their interests
and needs. Having a good initial diagnosis facilitates the fol-
lowing steps and makes receptiveness to change a true success
It is considered that an appropriate way to diagnose people is
to access their own voice, through phenomenological explora-
tion for the purpose of describing, theming and interpreting
their experiences and subjective experiences (Husserl, 1972).
Using this form of qualitative research is useful because it al-
lows us to learn from the voice of the people affected, from the
emic perspective (Aguilera & Torres, 2008; Delgado Aguilera,
Delgado, & Rugs, 2012).
Based on this qualitative diagnosis, you can define the objec-
tives of the conference along with data awareness, information
and research that support the arguments to be presented. The
next step in educational awareness is for participants to self-
assess their knowledge and expectations, both before and after
implementation of the interactive conference. It should be clear
in the self-assessment about what, where, when, for whom, why,
how and what is being assessed (Castillo & Cabrerizo, 2004). It
is advisable to employ qualitative techniques to evaluate educa-
tional interventions which were applied to a small number of
people (Aguilera, Acosta, & Pozos, 2010).
Based on the above, we carried out this study with the overall
objective of systematizing experiences and learning of older
adults and their families before and after implementation of the
education strategy to raise awareness of retirement, in order to
provide useful information for social interventions after the
educational preparation for retirement.
Type and Desi gn of Study
We conducted a qualitative case study design, both descrip-
tive and interpretative, in two phases. Both the diagnosis and
the evaluation sought the participants’ subjective knowledge
through comprehensive tools (Morse & Field, 1995; Patton,
1987; Pérez, 1994; Taylor & Bogdan, 1992; Wilson, 1991).
The case studies were defined as empirical investigations of
a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context when
the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not
clearly evident, and in which there are multiple sources of evi-
dence that can be used. This entailed overall understanding,
comprehensive description and analysis of a situation as a
whole and in context. The case studies are compelling and cap-
ture the readers’ attention; they have a different type of aware-
ness as a general purpose (Yin, 1989; Stake, 1995; Morra &
The first phase, conducted prior to the implementation of the
conference, explored the activities, attitudes, values, emotions
and sensory perceptions (Patton, 1990), in relation to the topic
of retirement. All this was through the existential phenomenol-
ogy of time, space, and corporeal commonality (Husserl, 1972;
Maffesoli, 1997; Merleau-Ponty, 1985). It also led to the self-
assessment of knowledge and expectations on the same subject.
In the second phase, carried out at the end of the conference, the
participants self-assessed lessons learned and new expectations.
The spatial delimitation of the study was implemented in the
city of Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico. The temporal limitation
was the month of June 2012.
16 people, six of whom were elderly retirees, two seniors
nearing retirement and eight relatives attended (see Tables 1-4).
We used non-probability sampling theory for convenience in
the selection of the participants. From a general population of
volunteer subjects who attended the conference, we intention-
ally selected cases that met the inclusion criteria (Patton, 1990).
These criteria were being retired or elderly before retiring in a
period not exceeding five years, going with a free form relative
to the conference, and who wanted to participate along with
their family, voluntarily for the study.
Techniques for Obtaining Information
Semi-Structured Individual Inter views
They were useful for obtaining data on the experiences of in-
dividuals regarding retirement and preretirement, as the case
may be. They were done between 15 days and one month be-
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 239
Description of older retirees.
Elderly retired adult Time retired Age in years Sex Marital statusNumber of childrenDiseases Occupation
Moon 6 years old 69 Female Widow 3 High blood pressure Clinical laboratory technology
Land 19 years old 75 Female Widow 7 High blood p r essure Employee
Venus 3 months 64 Female Maiden 1 None Secretary
Sun 9 years old 73 Male Married 3 High blood pressure Manager
Mercury 11 years old 71 Male Married 4 Renal fai lu r e Merchant
Neptune 11 years old 74 Male Married 6 Digestive disorders Architect
Description of older retirees’ fam i l ie s .
Elderly retiree’s family Relationsh i p with Kinship Age in yearsSex Diseases Work activity
Galaxy Moon Granddaughter single18 Female Asthma and allergies Student
Pluto Land Son-in-law married57 Male None Doctor
Mars Venus Single son 29 Male None Employee and student
Miranda Sun Wife 68 Female None Housewife
Comet Mercury Wife 67 Female Diabetes a nd hypertension Housewife
Andromeda Neptune Wife 70 Female Diabetes Housewife
Description of seniors n e a ring retirement.
Nearing retirement Time until retirement Age Sex Marita l status Offspring Diseases Occupation
Jupiter 1 year 64 Male Married 3 Digestive disorders Manager
Star 5 years old 58 female Widow 1 None Psychologist
Description of families of the seniors nearing re t irement.
Family of se n ior nearing retirement Relation ship with Kinship Age in yearsSex Diseases Occupation
Polar bear Jupiter Wife 64 Female Hypertension and leg pain Merchant
Uranus Star Single son 14 Male None Student
fore the conference with both older adults and in family.
They were made pursuant to the design of four interview
scripts with questions that generated information from the ac-
tivities, opinions, meanings, values, feelings, sensory percep-
tions and context of the people.
Most people preferred to answer the interview in writing,
arguing that they could read, reflect and fill it in stride. The
researchers went back to their homes after a couple of days and
delved into the aspects considered important in looking for
The conference “Understanding My Retirement” was the sen-
sitivity strategy used. Its design was based on data, information
and research on the issue of pensioners. The content covered
the definitions of retirement, factors involved in retirement,
retirement effects on health, political and economic situation of
pensioners, contributions of science in the field of pensioners,
scientific theories, empirical studies, local research conclusions
and practical suggestions for those involved in retirement. It
lasted two hours.
The conference was interactive. Progress was made accord-
ing to the interest of the participants. When they considered it
necessary, they would interrupt the speaker to discuss some
personal experience or express some opinions and/or concerns.
Upon completion of the educational activity, there was a simple
toast where seniors and their families could spend time with the
The SQA-E format was used as a tool for cognitive matte for
participants to gain self-knowledge and learn their expectations.
We used it just before the conference to start awareness by
filling in the first two columns. The last two columns were
answered by people at the end of the conference.
Participants shared their knowledge and expectations before
and after the conference at two plenary sessions. The initial
plenary session led to a pleasant work environment (see Figure
We performed qualitative data analysis in both phases of the
study. In the first phase phenomenological analysis was per-
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
formed on the data gathered through semi-structured interviews.
The theoretical basis for the analysis of the experiences was
phenomenology, understood as the description of the experi-
ence without resorting to causal explanations (Sandoval, 2002),
and the phenomenological method at stages of description and
interpretation theming (Lanigan, 1997), whose purpose is to
explain human subjectivity and interpretation that he/she makes
of his/her social world. The concept of the experience is the
basis of the framework for the understanding and analysis of
human reality (Sandoval, 2002).
The categories of analysis were subject, subjectivity, mean-
ing, interiority and experience, seeking relevance and signifi-
cance. The four basic existential p h en om en ol o gi ca l an a lyses ar e
space lived (spatiality), body lived (corporeality), time lived
(temporality), and human relations lived (relationally or com-
munality) (Sandoval, 2002).
First was the description of the findings with the same words
used by the participants. Subsequently, the stories underwent
thematic analysis, seeking relevant phrases, naming codes and
integrating code families. Finally there was the interpretation of
data. Operational support used was the Atlas.ti version 4.1
software for Windows 95 or later.
The second phase of the study was an assessment of the par-
ticipants’ knowledge, lessons learned and expectations. The
self-assessment had its foundations in theoretical models di-
rected at the judgment of merit or worth (Castillo & Cabrerizo,
2004), specifically in the naturalistic criteria evaluation model
(Guba & Lincoln, 1989) and the model focused on the needs of
the people who participated (Stake, 1995). The evaluation pro-
cess included gathering the claims, interests and needs. Initial
diagnosis had a moment (before the conference) and the final
summation (at the end of the conference). Given that extent was
partial, it focused only on participants’ knowledge and expecta-
tions (Casanova, 1999).
Ethically, research was subject to the Guidelines of the Gen-
eral Health Law in the Field of Health Research in Mexico,
Title II, entitled “Ethical Aspects of Human Research”, Chapter
I, in accordance with Articles 16-19 and 23 governing research
Participants learned about the objectives of the study and
gave their oral informed consent. Also group participants were
protected in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration (Asocia-
ción Médica Mundial, 2008), in its current version. Further-
more, the Coordinating Office for Master of Science Program at
the Occupational Health Center, University Center for Health
Sciences, University of Guadalajara, reviewed the study and
gave it final approval.
Experiences of the Participants
In the analysis of the participants’ experiences in dealing
with retirement and preretirement, we found 12 families of
codes: living environment, daily activities, stories, knowledge
and opinions about retirement, emotions, life values, bodily
experiences, relationships experienced, length of their lives,
sense experience and general appreciation of life.
These 12 families were grouped into one of four basic
themes existential corporeality, commonality, temporality and
spatiality in order to make a description and phenomenological
categorization of themes.
Existential corporeality consisted of the families of daily ac-
tivities, emotions experienced and bodily experiences. The
commonality grouped existential knowledge about retirement,
life values and relationships experienced. In the basic existen-
tial temporality, time they have lived, appreciation of life and
views on retirement were explained through their surroundings,
their sensorial experience and anecdotes about retirement.
Within each basic existential factor, in addition to describing
the integrating families, the cases are described according to the
four types of participants in the study: retirees, families of re-
tired people, people nearing retirement and relatives of people
Corporeity in Participan ts
Among the activities of retired people we found taking care
of grandchildren, household chores, watching TV, and feeding
and taking care of pets in the case of the two widows. Both con-
sidered they were very happy. Earth remained active at home
and felt healthy. On the other hand, Moon had her daughters
and grandchildren at home during the day, but slept alone and
felt afraid and sad. She mentioned that she missed social life
outside her family, felt tired and the loneliness of widowhood
weighed on her. The son, granddaughter and son-in-law rea-
lized that they did not have a habit of looking at the body of
retired ladies and had not heard any complaints or comments
Venus, a recently retired lady, was found still working in the
same place as usual, but without pay. She had made a deal with
her boss to arrive two hours later than usual (11:00 am) and not
leave until the evening. She lived in conflict because her fellow
workers did not like to see her still there, taking up space that
they wanted for themselves. However, she preferred living in
constant conflict, believing that retirement meant going home
and working harder. She said she did not recognize any emo-
tional or bodily change, although we researchers perceived
frustration a nd negati vity.
The retired gentlemen recognized that retirement had af-
fected them but they had found a way to compensate. Sun and
Mercury returned to work in informal commerce after retire-
ment. Neptune was dedicated to taking care of his family, tak-
ing his wife to doctor appointments, to being a minister at
church, walking, and at least once a week frequenting friends
who had not died yet. He acknowledged that he had not over-
come the crisis of “assimilating it and not a wage earner”. As
for their bodies, the three retired men reported feeling “Dete-
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 241
rioration characteristic of their age” and feeling tired. Their
wives agreed that they had observed the same. Still, the retired
men recognized the value of being active while they still could.
Family members of retired persons generally expressed that
they continued doing the same activities as before their rela-
tives retired, especially in the case of wives (at home), the son
(work-study) and the son-in-law (work). The granddaughter
was studying and taking care of her grandmother Moon. The
feelings of all the retirees’ families were positive due to their
greater personal convenience. They said they felt happy with
peace and quiet while the famil y felt less pressure and stress.
The pre-retiree, Jupiter, said he worked hard both in his own
business (afternoon and evening, including weekends) and as
an employee (morning and afternoon). He also took care of his
three granddaughters. His feelings were of uncertainty and an-
xiety. He felt very tired and under pressured.
Polar Bear, Jupiter’s wife, worked at a very fast pace seven
days a week at her local handicraft store while taking care of
three granddaughters. She said she was happy and eager to see
her husband relaxed. She felt very tired and nervous about “the
retirement”. Her legs ached and she had very strong colitis.
Pre-retiree Star worked and enjoyed eight hours in the morn-
ing and in afternoon tried to relax, partaking in religious activi-
ties, reading and watching her diet. Her emotions were melan-
cholic, joyful, emotive and awareness. She felt hormonal
changes in her body and a tendency towards sedentarism. Her
son Uranus was studying as he had always done. He felt happi-
ness, appreciation, understanding, dedication and wellbeing
upon imagining his mother retired. His mother’s body seemed
to be like always to him, without any problems.
Moon believed that at retirement she would get sick or have
family problems. Her granddaughter Galaxy said she knew
almost nothing and appreciated spending time with her grand-
mother and seeing her relax in the afternoon. Moon no longer
had a good relationship with her daughters; they were rivals for
her affection to the extent that she became very mortified.
However, Galaxy categorized her relationship with her grand-
mother as excellent, full of confidence and tranquility and the
pleasure of sharing time with her.
Earth knew that he would l iv e his retirement in peace without
the pressure of time or people. His son-in-law Pluto said he
knew nothing about the subject. They talked to each other and
had a good family relationship.
Both Moon and Earth valued home ownership and retirement
income to live with dignity and not rely on their children. They
both attached great value to having a family and taking care of
and seeing their grandchildren every day, they no longer could
take care of their own children.
Venus revealed that she had very little knowledge about re-
tirement. On the other hand her son Mars clearly knew that
retirement was a goal of years of working for pay. Venus ap-
preciated not having to follow an inflexible schedule. Her son
wanted her to stop going to work, to see her rest emotionally
from the stress of the office. Both recognized that they had a
good relationship with each other
Sun said he had a pleasant experience in retirement because
he had tried to do what he liked after retiring. His wife Miranda
shared that knowledge. Sun appreciated that his time was now
his own and he was not accountable for anything. But he con-
fessed that he had isolated himself from friends and family.
Mercury and his wife Comet said they had no knowledge
about retirement and that they had a good relationship. Mercury
valued the time he could work despite having a kidney disease.
His wife appreciated that he was happy.
Neptune said he knew that retirement would cause crisis due
to the change and to the deterioration of his health, because he
had a daughter who was a psychologist who had warned him.
His wife, Andromeda, acknowledged she had some knowledge
because she had read some books and listened to talks. Neptune
valued his relationship with Andromeda, his children, grand-
children and friends, and said their relationship was intense,
positive and growing. She shared the new integration of their
marriage, family and social contribution through the Church.
Jupiter said he had only general information and Polar Bear
said she knew nothing. Jupiter appreciated he would have more
time to share with his family. Polar Bear appreciated that they
would be able to get up a little later and they would have time
to relax. Jupiter felt he had a good relationship with his family
that encouraged him to retire. On the other hand, Polar Bear felt
that her relationships were a little strained by his nervousness,
and she was concerned about everything she had had been told
would happen at retirement.
Star and her son Uranus both knew that they would receive a
monthly payment with a proportionate share of their Christmas
bonus included. Star now appreciated her co-workers more and
tried to be active throughout her workday. Her son wanted to
see her relax. They perceived their relationship as good and
Earth and Moon perceived that they would not have enough
time for everything they wanted to do, but that the time avail-
able would allow them to live peacefully. Earth felt well with-
out the pressure of work or the arbitrary orders of his boss.
Moon felt that she had retired at the right time: “When my sick-
nesses and pains became evident, I prepared ahead of time and
This was more relaxed time for Galaxy since her grand-
mother was at home be cause according to her, her grandmother
Moon no had kind of cares and was rested.
Venus considered living her new time with the ability to get
up a little later, which made Mars feel relaxed. Venus admitted
that she had decided to keep on working for a while by choice,
although she was not compensated economically. She said that
it was hard to leave a lifetime of work in such a short time.
Male retirees and their spouses shared the impression of liv-
ing in a very fast, very active time where the days are short but
they made the most of the time they had. Andromeda said re-
tirement had been an opportunity to learn and adapt. She felt
that life was very good because she was with her husband all
the time, and they talked more; they helped each other and
looked out for each other.
Sun said that when he retired he could have still worked for
more years with the same enthusiasm. Mercury acknowledged
that his retirement was timely and very good because it gave
him time to continue working on something else. For Neptune,
retirement had been an opportunity for growth.
Jupiter thought about the future and imagined a better time to
relax and have fun, traveling continuously. He said he was ex-
periencing uncertainty because it was not clear what would
happen to him and his health once retired. He believed he
should prepare mentally to accept that it was time to end his
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
active and regular life but he could start a new life. Polar Bear
said they had talked a lot about the time they were going to
have Jupiter would help her in her business and they would
have more time to sleep. She wanted her husband to learn
something related to the candle business they owned so he
could have extra income. She opined that retirement was most
appropriate for Jupiter, because he seemed very tired and stress-
ed to her.
Star lived in the present and saw that time had passed by
faster over the years. She had studied for a Masters in research
years ago to be able continue working intellectually and feel
productive. She was aware that she was near the end of her
working life after 27 years. She saw it as an achievement and
would remain active on something else. Uranus saw no change
in his perception of time but liked the idea that when his mother
retired, she would be with him for more time, because she had
worked all her life.
Spatiality in Participants
Earth said she was happy in her living environment i.e. full-
time at home although she revealed that initially she was sad
and sick. But it seemed nice to go to her grandchildren’s festi-
vals and be with her children at events: “I saw I had the free-
dom to go anywhere”. Pluto said he had seen that retirement put
people in a better mood, rejuvenated.
Although Moon lived the same environment, she said yes, at
first she was happy at home, but over time she missed hanging
out with her coworkers but not so much the work. But then
came the quiet. And now there was not enough time to do all
housework. She narrated that now that she had retired she had
enjoyed her grandchildren and had seen them grow: “On the
other, I did not spend time with my daughters their teenage
years because I worked all week and even on Saturdays and
Sundays. I had to raise them myself and I lost out on many
stages of their life.” She acknowledged it was good to make
way for younger people and put on a good face at this stage.
Galaxy said she saw how her grandma cooked and learned from
Venus said her everyday surroundings were like before she
retired because she was still going to work and was not at home,
but there was a lot of conflict in the work: “I keep on fighting
the same with my co-workers because they do not know how to
do things properly.”
Sun and Mercury’s living environment was active. Sun said
that his business was his usual environment but for his wife, the
environment was tense, because she felt the constant presence
of Sun outside the home.
Retirement had not meant anything extraordinary for Mer-
cury because the next day he began to work on his cardboard
packaging business. He said he had heard that several people he
had known lamented the poor retirement pension they received.
Neptune said he was at home almost all the time. When
asked what his living environment was like, he said: “Changing
and increasingly reclusive.” He said that right after he retired,
he tried to start a business with one of his children but it did not
work out and he chose not to work anymore. Now he feels ex-
cited about travelling, visiting places, people and food.
The wives of the retired gentlemen commented that what had
struck them most about their husbands’ retirement was that they
were at home more. Unlike Miranda, Andromeda said that she
had recovered her husband and was no longer alone.
Jupiter perceived an environment of stress and pressure from
family, justifying that maybe he unwittingly showed his fatigue,
anger and temper, and his behavior towards them told them he
needed to retire. Polar Bear confirmed that her family was
waiting for husband to retire: “Even the kids would say it’s time
to relax. We will do better in the store with your help and we
will get out more out t. My kids joke that I’m going to work
more now.” Jupiter said he was shocked by discussions or
comments of some people. He had heard that some people died
when they retired due to inactivity. Polar Bear heard that retir-
ees are depressed, sick or bored from doing nothing.
Star perceived her environment aware of her upcoming re-
tirement and she would call her friends in the afternoons to
establish more personal contact because she thought she would
miss her work, but especially her co-workers. She had heard
that some people were organized and travelled and devoted
more time to themselves and that other people were depressed.
Uranus found his environment confusing because he did not
know if everything would change with his mother’s retirement
and believed she might feel lonely and insecure, although he
wanted her to be happier.
Knowledge, Expectations and Reflections of the
Prior knowledge, expectations before the conference, the
lessons learned, expectations and reflections at the end of the
conference, are shown in Tables 5-9, respectively.
The experiences of the participants were heterogeneous. Si-
milar retiree experiences were found in the two widows and
their grandchildren, and the two men who had returned to work.
Experiences in these two groups were more positive than in the
single woman and the man devoted to his home.
There were totally different experiences in the pre-retirees.
The man manifested greater difficulties, fatigue and negative
Experiences were also different for relatives. Life experi-
ences of wives of retired men generally were positive and simi-
lar. But the wife of the man about to retire was anxious. The
granddaughter and adolescent showed more empathy than the
other son and the son-in-law.
We agree with Moragas et al. (2006) on the importance of
asking people about their experiences of living in retirement.
The contents of the lecture as an awareness strategy followed
the recommendations of Limón (1993) to instill the need to
learn to avail of free time, the importance of income, health
care, leisure and social activities and to extend the intervention
to the whole family surrounding the retiree, especially the
Some similarities were also found in the lecture contents
with the training program by de las Heras (2004) such as talk-
ing about retirement as a new stage in personal development,
emphasizing they are retiring from work, not from life. Re-
garding health care, the conference gave more emphasis to
psychosocial health, and skipped the subject of the biology of
aging, sexuality and health prevention as well as the issue of
economic planning for retirement.
We found similarities in the sensitivity strategy with
Chicharro & Maza (2008) and Pick et al. (2010) that the goal is
to raise awareness for participation for the purpose of changing
behavior, attitudes and social norms. The retirees in our study
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 243
Knowledge before the conference.
Retirees Retirees’ relatives Pre-retire es Relatives of p r e-retirees
End of a phase End of the time for work Completion of an active life sta ge
Start of the third stage
Tranquility and family
It does not means giving up
age-appropriate activities Jump to another calmer stage When you reach a certain
age you may stop working
An achievement after working most of my life
Time is mine Joy
Gratuity, end of a stage of life Glee: it is a stage to enjoy
Adjustme n t r i s k s Those who do not see this will
have died be fore a year
Need to forecast You make less money
than before No longer workin g gives
you a monthly pension
Nothing Almost nothing
Expectations before the conference .
Retirees Retirees’ relatives Pre-retirees Relatives of pre-retirees
Everything. I want to know, w hat I want to say,
what you kn o w and you want to tell me Everything mentioned is i mportant
and interesting to me. All matters relating
What I can do because I did not prepare in time.
I hope they talk abou t how you retire, because
sometimes you do not know anything.
What retired people can do to
not feel overwhelmed.
I want to know what I should
do in detail to improve
this stage of life.
I think I’m good, according to me.
If it’s a good th ing or not.
What benefits retirement bri ngs because in
some cases people fal l i nto depress i on and
because other people do not want to retire.
Is it really i mportant to stop working
even if you still have th e ability?
Why retirement is not a
favorable stage for some
people, what stages there are
and what c an be learned
If the place where a
person works can put
off retirement or not.
Learn abo ut retiree organizations,
opportunities to learn and conferences,
contacts a n d s tudy groups.
How I can make financially if I proceed
with the admin istrative process?
Where can a retiree go to get information?
To better und erstand ret irees.
Lessons learned after the conference .
Retirees Retirees’ relatives Pre-retirees Relatives of pre-retirees
What I should d o to
organize my life mor e.
It is important to be prepared to face this stage
of life and this is the best way to cope with it.
It is necessary to make a plan on how to spend
free time pleasantly.
What should I plan for in my new
phase of life and how to live it
with ease and acceptance.
How I should take care of myself more.
Being retired i s being relaxed, enjoying
myself with my health and retireme nt.
I have several choices of what to do.
Trying to adjust to life in retirem ent Retirement is a personal
Retirement is very important.
I did not have enough i nformation before. It
is hard to assimilate and I need time discuss
it with my husba nd and to reaffirm it.
The actions and reactions we can have during
pre-retirement and retirement.
In order to achieve the required
balance: health care, family,
social networks, spirituality
I learned a lot more about
retirement than I imagined. What the
effects of retirement are on people
and what it may cause.
The privilege of havi ng a
Tragedy of 93% wi thout protection
A retiree is worried months before
reaching the end of this stage of life.
Retirees have different w ays to view it. I liked it because I know h o w to
conduct my self towards my partner.
indicated that after participating in the conference, they wanted
to take better care of themselves, find options for new activities,
live a little more socially, organize their life, stay active and
help the disadvantaged.
It also coincides with Pick et al. (2010) that a brief interven-
tion program, such as awareness through interactive lectures,
has results comparable to longer programs but at a lower cost.
For example, in this study, family members of retirees agreed
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
Expectations after the conference.
Retirees Retirees’ relatives Pre-retirees Relatives of p re-retirees
Dedicate a little more to my social life Prepare to retire peacefully
Appreciate and make more effort to
the work of retirement.
Understand it be tter and do it all w ith dialogue
and agreeing and taking things more calmly.
How to assimilate personal crisis of not
being the breadwinner
How to help the 93% unprotected retirees
What readings are recommended
to continue self-taught training?
Knowing what data were
found in this study in
which we participa ted.
Continue just as I am
Continue to be active Nothing
I wish I had i nformation li ke advice
on the procedures to fol low durin g
this administrative process.
The economic expectations
I will face in retirement.
Retirement should come in stages
and last about a year to become final. Having a retirement
Reflections after the conference.
Retirees Retirees’ relatives Pre-retirees Relatives of pre-retirees
If I planned my retirement I could live happil y.
I was very happy to retire because I did
not have the pressure of a boss pressuring me.
Now I’m happy. B ut it was very hard to retir e.
I had relapses.
I want to get to retire and be as
happy as m y grandmother.
I am thankful for my husband’s
retirement because we are more united.
This is the happiest time of my life.
I am a few years away from
retirement. The information
I receive d helped me to
understand my colleag ues
who are retiring.
I want my mom to retire to spend
more time at home relaxed.
I have to put up with my
husband wh o is nervous a nd
restless but I'll bear it.
I’m going to take the opportunity
to retire gradually.
Retirement is a very diff i cult time in l if e
and we must acquire the knowledge
necessary to cope with it. You should
not wait to retire to do what you want.
I feel uncertain because I do
not know how I will do. I want to
have time to work, rest and spend
more time with my family.
I’m still worki ng and I feel nothing.
I resented anyt hing. I have no opinion.
When I retired, I planned but nothing h appened
as I expected. But I still think you need to plan. I fe e l frustrated because I will
never retire because I am a housewife.
on the importance of making a plan and preparing. Likewise,
they were empathetic in recognizing that pre-retirees lived wor-
ried months beforehand about due to the administrative proce-
du res and economic expectations. Relatives of adults approaching
retirement age said that with a sensitivity strategy they could
understand their partner better and be aware of planning for
Finally, it is consistent with eQual (2011) in that communi-
cation is a tool that can help people take control of their own
lives, raise critical awareness and generate practices of solidar-
ity and active engagement with changing mindsets, attitudes or
practices. In the case of the retired woman with problems to
retire from work, she decided she would take the opportunity to
retire gradually, because it was her right. Also, another retiree
said that although his plan did not work out 100%, he believed
in the benefits of planning. Another acknowledged how hard it
was for him to adapt to retirement.
The objectives of the study were met. We analyzed the ex-
periences, lessons learned and expectations before and after the
Generally speaking, the experiences of older retirees, pre-re-
tirees and their relatives were heterogeneous. Women’s marital
status was an influence factor (widows were happier than the
single woman) as it was the presence of grandchildren, gender
and education level in the case of preretirement (the male had
negative experiences), and work activities (the retirees with
informal employment were happier than the retired male who
stayed at home).
The couples’ relationship was affected most, both positively
and negatively. Hence there is a need to engage the couple in
preparation strategies, especially if the retiree is the male,
whether to improve relationships or promote independence
Previous knowledge was similar among all families although
it was scarce. People asked for protocols with indications on
how to act in the retirement and preretirement stages in order to
help themselves and their families.
After the conference, retired people were aware of their
problems and wanted to improve their lives. They were able to
precisely express their needs about physical and social health.
Retired people became aware of the need to take better care of
themselves, to be at peace, to incorporate new activities, to
organize their life, and to increase their social life, and of their
right to have a phased retirement, to help other disadvantaged
retirees and to work while they are no longer the family bread-
Retirees’ family members realized that retirees become wor-
M. A. AGUILERA ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 245
ried months before reaching the end of their working life stage.
Retirement does not always mean wellbeing since retirees have
different ways to view it, they need to plan and prepare to
spend free time pleasantly and they need to have a life after
People close to retirement were sensitized about the need to
plan for the new stage, have a positive attitude, take care of
their health, their family, and their spirituality, increase their
social networks and incorporate altruistic activities. Their new
expectations were to have more information about economic
Relatives of people nearing retirement realized the impor-
tance of being tolerant and understanding their relatives and
expressed a desire to communicate and appreciate them.
The phenomenological method was suitable for learning the
people’s experiences. The semi-structured interviews and the
SQA-E tools were simple, cheap and effective for the purposes
of this study.
The study was limited to the stories of the participants who
did not mention sexuality, addictions or deep fears. It is sug-
gested that retirees and those who are close to retirement should
accept invitations to participate in sensitivity strategies which
are useful for them to become aware of their problems and
make them want to take the initiative to improve their lives.
Family members of retired and pre-retired people are also
encouraged to accept invitations to participate in sensitivity
strategies because they will get information enabling them to
understand and appreciate their families, especially in the case
of wives who are homemakers.
The researchers continuously propose to offer systematic in-
terventions with a sound theoretical basis in preparation for
We propose that educational and health institutions as well as
employers and union leaders should promote and support the
actions of preparing for retirement.
The authors are very grateful to the participants for sharing
their experiences and life lessons with us.
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