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doug mayberry


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Retirees' Worst Fears!


We moved into what we considered to be a happy and vibrant retirement community in 2013. We are enjoying being here, but have found that, underlying the Disneyland lifestyle attitude, many residents have a long list of fears that depress them.

However, as we get to know them better, they are more willing to discuss their fears.

Every senior has a different list of fear priorities that factor into both their genes and how well they have taken care of themselves during their younger years.

How do you rank seniors' greatest fears?

A. Ranking is tough because elders have almost already predetermined their futures. Did they exercise, smoke or abuse themselves with alcohol or drugs? How did they handle their food intake? Whatever their choices were, will now be brought home as they age.

Sometimes retirees discover they have been worrying about the wrong problem and need to change priorities.

Other elders express their fears of falling, being left alone after losing a mate. Some fear rejection, are easily embarrassed, believe they are being judged or realize they cannot handle their financial affairs. While still more are hurt by their family's lack of caring, and perhaps are even afraid to tell their families they are not functional for fear they will move them to into convalescent facility. No one wants to lose his or her freedom!

Take a positive outlook, a survival mindset, laugh a little, and accept the process!

Q. The team that manages our small retirement community is finding it difficult to recruit residents to accept volunteer committee positions.

Their excuses range from believing they have paid their dues before they retired and do not need to work anymore.

When asked to volunteer, they say they are stressed out, not feeling well and are already too busy to serve. Most know existing volunteers sit through long meetings, tempers and differences that cause anger, and that the weather may not be agreeable when meetings are scheduled.

The bottom line is that finding qualified volunteers to work in retirement communities is needed. If the management is unable to recruit them more, they will hire more paid employees, which may increase homeowner's fees.

Are most retirement communities experiencing similar problems?

A. Yes. New residents are usually not aware of volunteer needs. Being released from having to go to daily work is a heady and wonderful experience.

Managing a retirement community is challenging because every resident is in a position to express his or her own opinion.

Also, seniors are living longer, incomes do not match expenses, other family members need financial help, and uncertainties as to how medical plans will work out are unknown.

Homeowners' dues are creeping up annually because, as the community's facilities age, they require more repairs and updating.

Consider your ability to volunteer and encourage others to also do so for the well being of your community. Taking a can-do attitude will expose you to meeting new friends and make your homes more desirable. Caring and helping each other makes for a better place to be!

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California Retirement community. Contact him at To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at



1 Comments | Post Comment
When you volunteer carefully consider the demands of the job. Be prepared to quit if you are bullied and that includes unreasonably long meetings or too frequent demands. I have been a lifelong volunteer and have left one board when they crossed the line in interfering with personnel decisions more properly handled by management. In another instance the duties became so demanding that it took 4 people to do the job when my career demands changed. I left on good terms and still contributed in a more limited way. Consider whether you have the skills needed to fill the role. It takes time and effort to understand board governance and be sure you are not in legal jeopardy due to board actions
Comment: #1
Posted by: retired
Mon Sep 1, 2014 12:09 PM
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Doug Mayberry
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