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Publication #FAR5020

Retirement and Family Life1

Brianne McCarthy and Suzanna Smith2

Figure 1. 
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Are you or is someone in your family approaching retirement age? Retirement is a wonderful achievement. Many experts define retirement as stopping work at some prescribed age. The age that many Americans define as retirement age is 65, the same age that individuals are eligible to receive Social Security benefits from the U.S. government. Whether a person chooses to retire at 65 or 45, this is a major life change.

Adjusting to retirement comes naturally to some people, while others find it more difficult. A person's health, mobility, financial resources, social ties, and the reason why a person retired all affect how a person handles retirement. Some people go through an identity crisis, because work no longer provides a source of self-esteem and self-respect. Other retirees delve deeper into different aspects of their life, such as leisure activities, and continue or redefine their family roles of parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling...

Some develop new interests or have more time to spend on lifelong hobbies. It may be time go on the overdue family vacation, to take time to pass down family recipes, or to teach a grandchild to sail. Many retirees devote their time to volunteering in their communities: maybe in their grandchild's classroom at school, or by adopting a foster grandchild in the community.

Families can also support a new retiree in so many ways. By incorporating them into daily family life, the whole family can benefit from a retirement.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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This document is FAR5020, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 165 and published February 2008. Revised May 2008. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Please visit the EDIS website at


Brianna McCarthy, M. FYCS; and Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and Executive Producer, Family Album Radio, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.