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Abstract

Introduction: Ageing population is a great challenge for modern societies which have to adapt themselves to this new reality. Increasing longevity and low birth rates also contribute to an aged population, with implications both socially and economically. With increased longevity, people live more years after retirement and should be more prepared to deal with the difficulties that can arise from this transition. Retirement is one of the major transitions in adult life and it can originate different kind of vulnerabilities. If it difficult to retire alone, it can be even more difficult when it happens as a couple. Objective The project REATIVA is a Portuguese project funded by the European Union and the Portuguese government which has as goal to promote health during the transition to retirement. We aimed to know the perceptions of couples who experience adaptation to the retirement process and the strategies adopted to address them. Methodology The research team conducted a descriptive study of a qualitative nature. The target population was couples in which at least one of their spouses was retired for less than five years, registered in health care providers in Primary Health Care of the Regional Health Administration Center. The selected participants were subjected to an approach for semi-structured interview, after signing informed consent, and the information was gathered by digital audio recording and subjected to thematic analysis using the NVivo10® program. Results The following themes were revealed: Before retirement, Moment of retirement, Today's experience, Expectations for the future and Recommendations for future intervention with couples. The theme before retirement presented two subthemes: expectations and idealizations and marital dynamics. Regarding the moment of retirement, the three sub-themes that emerged were: perceived changes, resources used and vulnerabilities. The theme of today's experience consisted of portraits of conjugality, resources and vulnerabilities of this moment of couples. The theme expectations for the future unveiled idealized resources and difficulties that couples expect to have. Recommendations for future intervention with couples were located at the level of individuals, couples and formal and informal networks. Conclusions We concluded that retirement planning and organizing is beneficial for a successful transition and it happens at an individual but also at a marital level. The individual is central in the process but the conjugality seems to be a key resource in this phase. A functional couple, and with a good history of marital dynamics, is more prepared for retirement. Networks provide a bridge to social and family activities that allow individuals to escape from the isolation that can happen after retirement. Retired couples are an important aid to plan and carry out intervention with couples in the pre-retirement period, to prepare them to this new phase.
Methods: Data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a biennial prospective observational
cohort study of individuals aged 50 years or over living in England. Sample of 11,391 core members
followed up for 8 years. The outcome was low QoL defined as the first quartile of the self-enumerated
Control, Autonomy, Self-realization and Pleasure 19-items scale (CASP-19). Our main predictors were
internet use assessed according to responses to the statement “I use the Internet or e-mail” (yes/no) and
weekly level of physical activity (no, mild to moderate, and vigorous). The covariates were sex, age, quartile
of total net household wealth, paid work, education measured as the highest qualification obtained and
categorized as university degree or equivalent, intermediate qualification, and no educational qualification,
self-reported functional impairment categorized as difficulty in at least one of seven instrumental activities
of daily living (IADL) (yes/no), smoking, depressive symptoms measured by a score of >=4 points on the
eight-item scale of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), self-reported doctor-
diagnosed arthritis and cardiovascular diseases. Unadjusted and adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRR) and
95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated through 2-year lagged Poisson regression models with
Generalized Estimating Equations, adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle, and health variables.
Results: Higher age (IRR=1.06 CI95% 1.02-1.11), depressive symptoms (IRR=1.42 CI95% 1.33-1.51),
smoking (IRR=1.09 CI95% 1.04-1.15), cardiovascular diseases (IRR=1.08 CI95% 1.05-1.12), arthritis
(IRR=1.24 CI95% 1.15-1.33) and IADL impairments (IRR=1.30 CI95% 1.22-1.39) were associated with
lower QoL. Physical activity (IRR=0.90 CI95% 0.87-0.93), higher socioeconomic position (IRR=0.82 CI95%
0.79-0.85), paid work (IRR=0.87 CI95% 0.80-0.95), use of internet (IRR=0.88 CI95% 0.81-0.94) were
protective factors against low QoL.
Conclusion: Physical activity and use of internet are modifiable factors that can help maintain quality of
life of older adults.
HOW DO COUPLES ADJUST THEMSELVES TO RETIREMENT?
H. Loureiro; A. Mendes; A. Fernandes; A. Camarneiro; A. Fonseca; M. Veríssimo; M. Carvalho; M. Silva; R.
Rodrigues; A. Pedreiro, Nursing School of Coimbra, Avenida Bissaya Barreto Apartado 7001, 3046-851
Coimbra
Introduction Ageing population is a great challenge for modern societies which have to adapt themselves
to this new reality. Increasing longevity and low birth rates also contribute to an aged population, with
implications both socially and economically. With increased longevity, people live more years after
retirement and should be more prepared to deal with the difficulties that can arise from this transition.
Retirement is one of the major transitions in adult life and it can originate different kind of vulnerabilities.
If it difficult to retire alone, it can be even more difficult when it happens as a couple.
Objective The project REATIVA is a Portuguese project funded by the European Union and the
Portuguese government which has as goal to promote health during the transition to retirement. We aimed
to know the perceptions of couples who experience adaptation to the retirement process and the strategies
adopted to address them.
Methodology The research team conducted a descriptive study of a qualitative nature. The target
population was couples in which at least one of their spouses was retired for less than five years, registered
in health care providers in Primary Health Care of the Regional Health Administration Center. The selected
participants were subjected to an approach for semi-structured interview, after signing informed consent,
and the information was gathered by digital audio recording and subjected to thematic analysis using the
NVivo10® program.
Results The following themes were revealed: Before retirement, Moment of retirement, Today’s
experience, Expectations for the future and Recommendations for future intervention with couples. The
theme before retirement presented two subthemes: expectations and idealizations and marital dynamics.
Regarding the moment of retirement, the three sub-themes that emerged were: perceived changes,
resources used and vulnerabilities. The theme of today’s experience consisted of portraits of conjugality,
resources and vulnerabilities of this moment of couples. The theme expectations for the future unveiled
idealized resources and difficulties that couples expect to have. Recommendations for future intervention
with couples were located at the level of individuals, couples and formal and informal networks.
Conclusions We concluded that retirement planning and organizing is beneficial for a successful
transition and it happens at an individual but also at a marital level. The individual is central in the process
but the conjugality seems to be a key resource in this phase. A functional couple, and with a good history of
marital dynamics, is more prepared for retirement. Networks provide a bridge to social and family
activities that allow individuals to escape from the isolation that can happen after retirement. Retired
couples are an important aid to plan and carry out intervention with couples in the pre-retirement period,
to prepare them to this new phase.
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