Owl Opinions

Plan Your Retirement

We are living in a society today where many elderly people are suffering in silence. Many are financially unstable due to the prevailing economic situation as well as poor planning on their part. A lot of parents tell their children to go and make a life for themselves and not to worry about them (the parents). However, most parents have not made adequate provisions for their old age or planned on what exactly they will do for sustenance and care.

Care homes and retirement villages need to become more normalised in Sri Lanka. There is a stigma associated with putting elderly into homes citing a lack of gratitude and culture. The truth is that caring for elderly people is not easy. Not all are independent and healthy. Most need some assistance and they can also become infantile and manipulative when it comes to dealing with their children. This impacts marriages and causes a lot of strain on the children. This is why it is important to have options where the elderly can be within these retirement villages or care homes with some supervision to ensure they do not fall or get injured in any way.

Minette de Silva, the eminent architect, fell from her bathtub and was not found for days. She died shortly after in hospital. This is because she was living alone and we do not have enough systems in place to check on the elderly – particularly if they are unmarried and do not have children or any family. Which is why we need proper social safety nets and options for paid care.

Yes, I understand the whole independence argument. I myself despise depending on anyone as I am used to doing things for myself. But as humans we do need help at some point in life – everybody needs someone at some point. Pretending otherwise is folly. Especially as we age, and with certain medical conditions, it is imperative that we get the help we need. Being stubborn only results in more trouble for ourselves and those who are compelled to care for us.

Another aspect is loneliness and lack of intellectual stimulation. As we age, our minds are what keep us healthy. A lack of good intellectual stimulation can accelerate depression and death. This is why we need a social safety net and community to help keep those brain cells active. Not retiring from work is also an option for those who are very driven and whose sole purpose is to keep running the rat race.

Whatever your circumstances now and however many children you may have had, do not depend on them for anything. If they choose to live overseas, you will be stuck alone and you cannot assume your spouse will live forever either. So make plans, assume you will be alone, allocate a place in a home or a retirement village and have a backup fund to ensure you are taken care of. Sri Lankan pensions in this regard are of not much help because of how fast the rupee devalues. A foreign pension in USD or British pounds may serve you well. If a pension is not an option, create your own fund and invest in it from now. You, your family and loved ones will thank you for it later.

 

 

 

Meet Lilanka
“what is meant to be comes about of what one does”.
An eclectic personality with a penchant for creativity, Lilanka is an old soul who loves life, laughter and stepping off the beaten track. She finds joy in nature, travelling and venting her existential frustrations via her writing while calming her body with food and her soul with music. Her motto is – “what is meant to be comes about of what one does”.
A collection of eclectic expressions from life according to Lilanka Botejue. From her creative outbursts and passionate views to her love for nature, food, music and archaeology, Owl Muses is an attempt to capture these moments in time.
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