Having just read many of the comments from other viewers, I am dismayed by the
"holier than thou" attitude of some retirees. Great...you found your Shangri-la,
but aren't all of us, no matter age or current locale in this boat together? (At 61
I find myself wondering as did Marian). Perhaps if you are happy and fulfilled
during your working years, you will be so in retirement...and vice versa. But I am
dismayed that our society by and large excludes the elderly. We shall probably
never recover the years when three or four generations lived together, as they
continue to do in Italy, China and other countries. But the answer is not pity or
The generations currently in their 70's, 80's and even 90's were told that the South
was their paradise...warm weather, lower costs, etc...and what choice did they have
but to believe? So let us younger "geezers", or "boomers" defer our condescension
and explore possibilities for all our seniors.
Some can afford to volunteer, some cannot. Why not find, and then compensate,
seniors who wish to work in responsible positions, i.e....Day Care Centers, Youth
Counselors, Ombudspersons, etc...our society can and must do more or there may go
all of us...Grace of God or not.
I thought that this was an excellent piece of journalism. I am a member
of the infamous "Generation X" and this segment gave me hope. It told me
that when you get down to it, man reaches his peak of emptiness and
self-concern when he ceases to serve his God and his neighbor. Purpose,
hope and meaning; these are continually sought after by persons in every
avenue of life. This is why Qouheleth says, "Remember now thy Creator in
the days of thy youth, before the evil days draw near..." Show some
spunk and give this message a spot.
My wife and I watched your program on retirement and enjoyed the show over all.
The disappointment with the show is it had an underlying theme of do not retire
since we cant afford it. Rather than present a balance picture you chose to show
only the downside to retirement. Your boomer doctor carried your theme in almost
every discussion he had. We are on our approach to retirement and were amazed as
to how many regretted this part of life. We listened to folks who were so focused
on the end of life they saw nothing else.
Now you may wonder how we could have
enjoyed the program with our comments so far. The show if looked at as a guide as
to what not to do when one retires it can be quite useful. Considering this
approach we have had many of our beliefs reconfirmed and learned a few more on
paths we don't want to go down. Our compliments go to the many folks who
commented on their very productive and enjoyable life retired. We both have come
away from your
program convince more than ever that retirement as soon as possible is the right
path for us.
Thank you for a thought-provoking, inspiring and yes, occasionally depressing
portrayal of selected attitudes toward retirement. I hoped to find a broader
perspective in comments shared here and was not disappointed. At 49, I have been
downsized and am making a
transition to freelance work at home - work I can do for many years to come. While
great to escape the stress mill, daily
commuting, and cut-throat corporate crap, the
isolation and freedom from structure require
an adjustment not easily made after 25+ years of go-go-go, Type A frenzy. This show
afforded the chance to fast forward - and to consider, perhaps it's too soon for me
to withdraw this far from the fray. The search for balance continues. Oh, and
Howard Salzman is a treasure!!!
I was impressed by the TV Frontline program when I saw people making their lives
work and be alive in the structured physical 'confines' of their retirement
building--they didn't need much more than themselves to come alive and stay alive.
Los Angeles, CA
I am 69 years of age, and have been retired for three years. Last night my wife and
I watched your program, billed in the local television program guide as presenting,
"Retirement options to help baby boomers enjoy their later years". We watched in
dismay and disbelief.
We were dismayed that the "geezer" models presented were not "baby boomers", who,
as a class, have been given much, but persons of my generation - a generation born
in days of national economic depression, raised in times of world conflict,
maturing through contribution to the design and achievement of major programs of
national and world reconstruction - who, as a class, have given much, but whom you
displayed as persons concerned only with what could be done for them in their
retirement years to entertain them until death.
We were in disbelief that your program gave no attention to the retirement option of
continuing a life of service to others through community-service organizations and
projects, thereby gaining the positive enjoyment and satisfaction that
participation in such efforts brings - to old and young alike. That is another
genuine option, one being pursued by many of my generation - one that I would
wholeheartedly recommend to any baby boomer, my own children included - one
decidedly more achievable for most retirees, and ultimately more rewarding than
the superficial life-style that your program offered.
W. Stanley Kruger
Your show resonated loud & clear. I retired 3 years ago at age 64. I used to
"I have no hobbies" So I decided to take up golf. Never got around to it.
My wife & I have been bicycling for many years both on weekends & on
vacations. I stepped up my biking by joining first one & then 2 more recently
retired men. We bike to lunch every Tuesday on round trips of 30 to 60 miles.
I also took on some volunteer work & we travel several times a year including
one major bike trip. We see our grandkids once or twice a week & our children
all live nearby(almost). I also bought a new computer to keep track of my
investments, my friends around the country & other stuff. So far my money &
my body are holding out & my wife hasn't strangled me yet. It helps, in
southern California. We haven't had to move to a retirement
community as our neighbors have been growing older too. Thanks for your
discussion of retirement & other things.
Huntington Beach, CA
"Retirement Dreams" gives a skewed picture of retirement years. All of the people
displayed seemed to be seeking a means of finding a place for themselves in the
limited and shallow activities portrayed. It did not show one example of the
innumerable retirees who have found a marvelous way of spending their retirement by
giving back a little of what they have received by performing volunteer work in
innumerable ways and this includes professionals such as doctors, lawyers,
scientists, engineers, accountants, businessmen, etc., etc., etc. They, too, should
be portrayed as far better examples of those who have found a useful niche during
their retirement years.
Longboat Key, FL
It was interesting what that select, "younger" retirees in a upper middle class
environment have to say. But as a still married, with the same woman, and 82 years
and still active it is only a small snapshot of the problem. We decided a long time
ago that we did not want to be in a death awaiting housing setup. But with most of
our friends now dead the problem of activities has become more difficult. Maybe a
new type of housing needs to be pushed, where couples can find new interests, etc.
As I get older, the problems seem to have become greater, with less stamina and
mental agility to solve the daily problems.
Most of last night's program (or rather some of the retirees themselves) and the
filmmaker's text in which he refers to retirement and old age as "the exit from the
American dream": bummer! I mightily resent Marian's blanket categorization to
this stage of life. I thought part of the American dream included living life to
the most fulfilling extent possible. "Exit"? - no way. If one accepts his downer,
one will end up like some of those people in the program; bored out of your mind,
with nothing to look forward to but making it out of bed each day with no clue
whatsoever as to filling the hours with satisfaction; again, what a bummer.
Actually, some aspects of the program were quite sad; the traps that people can and
do put themselves into. Some of the people who've responded to this site exhibit
much more common sense than some of those in the program who really should get off
the couch or out of the chair and do something besides stagnate.
My husband and I took early retirement at 50, we're now 59. We've had the chance to
do the things there never was time for. We've loved every minute of retirement,
finances somewhat aside. Actually, my husband is much more contented and happier
than when he was "productive". I fully subscribe to his theory that change is
important, including something so simple as a change of seasons. So much for the
retirement Mecca of Florida. His theory isn't limited merely to living venues
either; however, we're planning to move now and become more mobile; probably living
in quite a few places before making the last move to an area we like. The program
did make me consider something I'd not thought of before - namely, the cluster
syndrome. You can bet that we won't move to a complex housing 13,000 people!
Small is better! For our last move, we plan on entering a life-care retirement
community but, now, a small one; even then, though, you're dead in the water if you
don't reach beyond that retirement community to what the local area provides, learning institutions
come to mind; whatever is available to provide a mix of ages. And to keep the mind
active. If one refuses to reach out and get involved, refuses to keep the mind
agile and merely gathers mold, then retirement is a dreadful, stifling situation.
I prefer for my own emotional well-being to view retirement as affording new
experiences to be enjoyed, not as a penalty for living.
I was very excited to see that Frontline,
a program that I have always respected as a
reliable source of thorough and insightful
journalism, was going to do a program on
the important topic of retirement. But I
have to tell you that I was extremely
disappointed by the program. It focused
on a small subculture of middle class
retirees in caricature and treated their
self-indulgent lives if they
represented all retirees and all older
I have worked in the field of
aging and with older people for 25 years.
The show in my opinion, repeated
dangerous stereotypes, frightened aging people
unnecessarily, and fostered the ageism that
is represented by the offensive term "geezer".
It appeared to be based on very shallow
research. It left out the many valuable
contributions older people make as volunteers,
family members and supporters of their
peers and communities.
A follow-up program highlighting fulfilling
retirement roles, for example, as RSVP or
Health Insurance Counseling volunteers,
is needed now to counteract this show.
You missed an opportunity to make a real
contribution to the national dialogue on
the meaning of an aging population.
Your program dealt with a narrow segment of retirees but did illustrate the mindset
of some in that age group. The brother especially who was still looking for an
alternative to FL but unable to connect.
For Boomers and Xers the money to fund those retirement dreams may be elusive. Those
in 401-Ks and other retirement plans are getting record earnings but the many
without retirement plans are doomed to working forever or living on family or Soc.
The "retirees" of tomorrow will be single moms who worked in low paying jobs all
their lives and didn't accumulate money for retirement. The government will end up
taking care of them in the future.
Thank God there are many retirees who lead active, productive lives and enjoy the
independence they worked all their lives to attain. They may be a vanishing breed!