Q: I was a sales manager in a major department store for 28 years and looked forward to having a new and exciting lifestyle in retirement. I finally retired in the last year, but I'm finding myself bored to death!
While working, I liked the feeling of accomplishing things, meeting new people and taking pride in my work. Now I've lost my sense of focus.
How can I feel like my old self?
A: Start by realizing that you now have the opportunity to switch gears and look forward to a new lifestyle. Be grateful for the blessings you have, as not everybody has them.
Do you think that you are anxious and fearful for the future?
Some difficulties that many retirees face are losing business contacts and longtime work friendships, and not having a reason to get out of bed.
However, you now have the chance to develop new skills, such as learning how to relax, taking your time to appreciate life, choosing new hobbies and adventures and developing your relationships with others.
Now that you're retired, you are in control of your personal life. Now that you don't have work commitments dictating your daily schedule, you have to build your life from the bottom up. Find reasons to be excited for every day.
Retirement is what you make of it! -- Doug
Q: After having a stroke six months ago, my husband hasn't recovered completely. Although he's improved significantly, he still finds talking very difficult. He speaks slowly and has trouble finding his words. Trying to speak often leaves him frustrated.
How can I support the man I love?
A: The best thing that you can do is to help him adjust to his new challenges. Although he will doubtlessly be frustrated with himself, you can try to give him some extra help avoiding common obstacles.
Speak clearly without raising your voice. Speak at a slightly slower pace, but don't overdo it.
Avoid spaces with a lot of background noise, like crowded restaurants or hardware stores.
Say one idea at a time, and avoid complicated sentence structures. Hand gestures, facial expressions or the tone of your voice can make it easier for him to understand you.
If he makes mistakes when speaking, don't make a big deal of it. The more he practices speaking, the easier and less stressful it may feel.
Finally, give him time to talk, and don't interrupt. Although you may want to help, interfering could be demeaning and foster dependence.
When talking about aphasia, remember that language impairments aren't the same thing as cognitive difficulties. Although your husband isn't able to speak as he did before, that doesn't mean that he is less intelligent.
Depending on the exact nature of his stroke, he will find particular communicative tasks challenging. Every case of aphasia is slightly different. You can help by talking with him about what he struggles with and figuring out coping methods.
Most of all, continue to be patient and loving. A positive attitude makes it easier to get through all struggles. -- Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry's advice column, "Dear Doug," written with Emma Mayberry, his daughter, is available at creators.com.