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Dear FRONTLINE,

Everyday of our lives (before retiring) was devoted to "making it work." Providing all the things in life that made survival worthwhile . Often we were frightened and worried about failing. But the joy of being in love, and feeling our job as parent and provider (not all at once all the time) made the toughest of times worthwhile. My god, what a bunch of marvelous fun it all was. Then all of a sudden there's no need to strive anymore, and that is the problem.. There is no need to MAKING IT WORK anymore.

All of sudden you don't have a good reason to get out of bed in the morning. WHAT'S NEXT.? Lots of time on your hands , negative thinking and lots of feeling sorry about your current condition. What a waste of valuable time.

I'm seventy one and lucky. I found I can do something with my time in retirement. Do a lot of studying on putting a little bit of money into investing in the shares of publicly owned companies. Besides watching the market I spend hours every week in libraries examining industries, markets and try to learn something new every day. Being in libraries has an added plus.

Frequently I'll come across a treasure of a book that will bring hours of pure joy.. By the way. an absolutely painless way to do your exercise everyday is watching the stock market while doing your aerobics, or just jogging in place ( it works)or whatever gets you going. One more thing, get to learn how to utilize a computer or the new inexpensive Web-TV devices(now only one hundred fifty dollars) Whether it takes an hour or a day, once you get the hang of it there won't be enough hours in the day for you.

Start MAKING IT WORK again.
Charles Ruffer
Highland Mills,NY

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was terribly disappointed in your program because of its narrow perspective. To limit a program on such a big part of life to one group of people from New York living in Florida totally misses the variety and richness possible in retirement. What about people with second careers? What about people donating their time to social service? What about those in poverty? What about those having major social and political responsibilities? Your presentation was a very lazy piece of journalism which did not begin to scratch the surface of the possibilities of retirement.

Clair Nielson
Los Alamos, NM
nielson@rt66.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

My ideas of retirement are similar to Howard's in the program. He has the right attitudes for successful living. I feel sorry for most of the others in the program. They look for ways to kill time, not enjoy living and learning. I've been retired for 4 years (I took early retirement at 60) and I haven't been bored yet. I
travel(I've been to France, Germany, Holland, Greece, Nepal, Hong Kong ) and will be going to Austria and Germany again.

I also quilt, read, enjoy music and go swimming three times a week (when I'm home) at the YMCA. I've read a great book which I highly recommend for anyone --- " Be An Outrageous Older Woman" by Ruth Harriet Jacobs, Ph.D. Here is another wonderful person with a great attitude about life. That's what keeps you young and vigorous.

I also believe in life after death and reincarnation, which takes a lot of the fear out of dying, because you have something to look forward to. To the reporter of the program: look elsewhere for a place to retire. I like to stay where I lived most of my life, because it feels comfortable and I know my way around. I also like to be with people of all ages. These retirement places can be "deadly". I may change my mind if I get disabled or can't drive anymore, but so for I have too many things to do.

Enjoy !!!
Eva.

Dear FRONTLINE,

For retirees there a alternatives to simply seeking diversion while waiting to die. Seniors represent a vast reservoir of knowledge and skills that could be used to contribute to the lives of others. For those whose health permits, there are countless opportunities to contribute, either as teachers or as volunteers. Participating in life in this way would add real meaning and a sense of being of value in the remaining years. Your program did not address this.

Sincerely,
Myrna Jensen
Bountiful, Utah

Dear FRONTLINE,

The show about different views on retirement and how individuals handle it was wonderful! It truly pointed out how the graying of America is changing what we think of as "old". The whole program was informative, and nicely done.

Thank you.
Phyllis Neven Schmidt

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think your program was a distorted portrayal of retirement. None of the 'Retirees' or 'Seniors' that I know, live that kind of life. I'm 57 and have been retired for 13 months and still can't find enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. I bought a computer to learn new things, to connect to all my far flung family and friends, and to load decades of collected information into. I figured that learning to use this wondrous machine would keep the 'old gray matter' free of cobwebs for a while. I also bought an acre of land 6 years ago in preparation for this time of my life, and I'm slowly creating the garden of my dreams. I've been single for over a decade, and being self sufficient has given me confidence in the future. I spend as much time with my grandchildren as possible, love to cook and travel, but the biggest thrill of all, is waking up in the morning and knowing I have a choice in what colors to paint my day.

Sylvia Tucker
Willits, California
scrt@saber.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

This was a truly provocative program, and I will be thinking about it for a long time. One thing is clear to me, and that is the awfulness of of communities with only older people living in them. It seems to me that having a range of ages around you is much more interesting, keeping you from getting ingrown with an old person's mentality. I hope so, anyway. I am in the ideal situation, I guess. I am just turning 63, have a wife who is 44, and a son who is 5. This should keep me on the ball! God bless us every one.

Bill Hayes
Albion, MI
WHayes@albion.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for exploring this topic. It helped me to better understand my 78 yr. old father and gave me insight into my own future. As a boomer, it is scary to face retirement. I guess I've always hoped that being a member of the majority will be comforting and open more opportunities than perhaps seniors have now.

I thought your representative boomer was somewhat arrogant. He seemed to have the answer for a happy, healthy old age and I realize that his suggestions are based on social and medical research. However, the seniors you profiled, who appeared to be the happiest and most involved in life each had one thing in common, a strong, energetic spirit that viewed each day as a gift. A package to be opened, explored and cherished for its own worth. I think it will be this attitude and spirit that will determine the quality of your retirement.

With all do respect to your golfing boomer, I identified with that scene at the kitchen table with his dad. Trying to get a retired parent to look at their lifestyle and suggest "beneficial" changes without sounding holier than thou. Been there and done that. But we won't know the truth of the matter until we've been there and done that.

Thanks for the show.

Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched Frontline "My Retirement Dreams" and found mostly a night mare. I am 79 years old and have lived in Florida over twenty years. I had hoped that the program would address the problems of the elderly. Instead it presented a bunch of old, middle class people that are waiting for god. There is so much that the elderly can contribute to society. I retired at 65 and took my first trip too Italy. In 1988 I took off some time from work and traveled to the USSR on a Peace Walk, one of my most pleasant and proud adventures. I went back four years later with a group students. I have volunteered in local schools. I am president of the Secular Humanists of South Florida. Helped organize Broward Citizens for Peace and Justice and still take part in demonstrations. Have worked with Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice. Volunteered to help prepare meals for Peace Camps for young people. I teach Italian (at least I try) at a senior citizen group in Sunrise. We also have a discussion group, and a music day. I try to give as much of myself as I can.

What good are all our years of life if we can't share it with others. I continue to study and gain more knowledge. Always new Questions. Sure we deserve some fun but we must also give and find pleasures in contributing our knowledge and experiences. Get out and live!

Frank Schiavone
Sunrise, FL
humanist@web2000.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Enjoyed the show as I do with most Frontline productions. Age is a state of mind. Young people can act old, and old people can act young. It is important to have a sense of purpose, and to be able to show a sense of accomplishment at the conclusion of each day.

Harvey Kaplan
Boca Raton, FL
HKGATOR@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Shallow, shallow, shallow !!!

I am 63 & just retired to Cape Cod -------- where there is an active retirement community ------- not in high rises, luxury boxes, complete w/people self absorbed & doing "fun" things all day & night ------- I feel sorry for Florida & that whole retirement life......

Let me live among a community of all ages, where I can give of myself, to volunteer at nature preserves, parks, libraries, theater groups, schools, senior computer learning --- to help seniors get MORE active in THE community of life --and have a purpose to live ------ not like in Florida where they are all JUST STAYING ALIVE............ for what?

Donald C. Olson
Eastham, MA

Dear FRONTLINE,

The program was very enlightening and we are interested in finding out how others like us are coping.

An immediate concern is monthly expense's. I will be 65 soon and would like to do other things with my life instead of HAVING to work. Where can we get info on living cost (rent-food-utilities) for the Winter haven area? We would consider a retirement complex if it was affordable and not restrictive.

Thanks
Dick Wroda
Tallahasse, FL
dwroda@webtv.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

My Mom and Dad, themselves in the "geezer" age group, never quite fully understood my need to live a carefree life, free of the trappings of a career. My formula was simple: retire now and work later. After all, in my 20's I never had to worry about finding things to do or searching for fulfillment. Everything was exciting, new and wondrous.

I am happy to report that so far everything is right on track. At 33 years old, I have just now finished my bachelors degree and am starting on a professional career. Graduate Schools will likely follow in a few years. I have spent the better part of a decade just enjoying life, working as little as possible. So I may have to work until I am 80, what of it? At least I'll have something to do. Tonight's Frontline episode has convinced me my strategy is right-on. In fact, I think I may take a few more years off!!

Sincerely,
Robert Constant
Venice, Ca.

Dear FRONTLINE,

At age 67, I do not have the luxury of retirement. Twice divorced (25 years single)mother of 3. I find myself still trying to make a living. Soc. Sec. only 200, not much with no other income other than what I can generate. I don't even think of myself as old. I am a sculptor & potter and my creativity is the center of my being. I have a good sense of humor and that helps. Life is so full of discovery.

Just moved here in Dec. with no means of supporting myself, but fell in love with the area and I had to live somewhere, so I took a risk and a few thou. savings and here I am. right in the middle of life, sure I'm scared but what else is new. Have been trying to meet someone to share life's adventure with but no luck. Now Howard Salzman, he's the kind of man I have been looking for...go ever forward and "hang" the past!!! What say you????

Marilyn J. Bader
St.Augustine, FL
mjbader@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was dismayed to see the topic tonight as I expect more hard hitting, topical issues. I found myself horrified and intrigued as the show unfolded. I am 41, very involved in my career and life, and aware of retirement in the foggy, distant future. I was shocked at some of the lives presented and their tedious existence.

Happily, there are other ends to almost any story including my own. I hope I do as well as some of them and that my health and finances hold out.

Thanks,
Tim Stanton
Venice, CA
t.stanton@worldnet.att.net  
 
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