Sometimes, the golden years aren’t all that golden.
As we age, along with the loss of memory (and often decay in the body) comes the loss of autonomy. For many retirees, depression can set in especially if they feel that choices are being made for them rather than in consultation with them. Such was the case of one retiree who had no choice where he found himself upon retirement.
Many older people would be happy with retirement on a sunny, warm beachfront property, but not this man. And it especially galled him that he still felt like he had contributions to make to society, that he still could be a productive man even in retirement. But, again, the choice was not his to make, as is often the case with retirees. For him, the retirement felt more like a prison.
The wife was long gone, and man was estranged from his children. So, the state made the choice for him, the choice without consideration of his wishes, to place him in this home.
The home offered programs for him to enjoy, but he found no pleasure in them. There were many social events offered, and, when he did rarely participate, he would be sulky and sullen and withdrawn from the rest. Others could not understand his attitude. His caregivers were attentive, and the facility even offered meals that were cooked to order. None of this could change his mentality.
Understandably, depression dogged him. His doctor noted his moodiness, and he said that they were times when the retiree would be practically non-communicative. Yet, the mind was still active, and the man sought his own distractions. He expressed the desire, as many retirees do, to possibly begin writing books. He had been a veteran and thought about telling the stories of his time in the army. He toyed with learning another language in an effort to keep his mind active. His caregivers reported that he spent a lot of his time playing variations of solitaire.
This last distraction seems to be the most fitting for the retiree. He not only felt alone and abandoned, but he also felt, well, exiled.
That’s because he was.
The island of Saint Helena, 1200 miles off the west coast of Africa, would be where Napoleon Bonaparte would spend his last days.