Do your retirement ideas include the right pace of retirement life for you? In this conversation on our podcast on retirement, we interview Dr. David Ekerdt, University of Kansas professor and President of the Gerontological Society of America. He has found that for some people a slow retirement is the right fit, even though it flies in the face of our culture which prizes busyness. He shares his observations and findings from his research on what influences our views of retirement, how people should embrace different lifestyles in retirement – and how preparing for downsizing ahead of retirement can make you more nimble.
David Ekerdt is Professor of Sociology and Gerontology at the University of Kansas. From 1988-1997 he was Associate Director of the Center on Aging and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He directed the KU Gerontology Center from 2003-2016. He teaches the sociology of aging and research methods, and he has supervised graduate students on both campuses.
Dr. Ekerdt has three areas of research. (1) His funded studies of work and retirement have examined the retirement process and its effects on health, well-being, and the marital relationship, as well as behavioral expectations on later life. (2) He has used interview and survey methods to study the ways that older people manage and dispose of possessions during residential relocation. (3) He is one of an international team of psychologists and sociologists funded by the Volkswagen Foundation to compare older adults’ conceptions of aging, time, and the future in Germany, Hong Kong, and the U.S.
These projects have resulted in 100+ articles, chapters, reviews, editorials, and edited books. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Aging, a four-volume, one-million-word work published in 2002, a work with seven specialty editors that covers topics in biology, health care, social and behavioral sciences, humanities, ethics, and social policy.
A graduate of Boston University (Ph.D., 1979), Dr. Ekerdt has also been a member of the faculties of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Boston University School of Public Health.
Dr. Ekerdt is also president of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging. He was elected by GSA’s membership, which consists of more than 5,500 researchers, educators, practitioners, and other professionals.
On Lifestyle Choices in Retirement
“The key task is to settle into some sort of lifestyle, and find that lifestyle, and find yourself running a new program for yourself. That can take some time, and I think people should be patient with themselves in getting to that new lifestyle that they might occupy. There are various classic lifestyles. A lot of men and wives that I’ve talked to, settle on really a lifestyle of family devotion, giving a lot of time over to their kids. They enjoy their kids, and their kids have needs, need help, and spend a lot of time with their family members. It becomes the main motor of their day Some people go into community service and political activism, community volunteering. Other people, their main story about their retirement is, how much they’re devoted to fitness, health, and engaging in sports. And for other people, it’s about self-gratification and leisure. You see this bumper sticker on the road, “We’re spending our children’s inheritance.” People conclude, this is my time, this is time for me now, and that’s what I’m going to do. Some people continue to work. They find second careers or they find part-time employment to occupy themselves. Some people continue to be occupied even with their same occupation. They find a way to remain engaged, either some sort of mentoring, consulting, or in some allied way.”
Article by David Ekerdt
In Defense of the Not-So-Busy Retirement – The Wall Street Journal
Stick Around for the Noteworthy segment where Joe & Denis discuss an article worth reading
This week’s selection is To Control Your Life, Control What You Pay Attention To
by Maura Thomas, an interesting piece on how we can benefit from Attention Management instead of Time Management.
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