“Miriam Decides to Retire”
psychology life span. case study
The last refrain of the “Happy Birthday” song was still ringing in Miriam’s ears when she submitted the necessary paperwork to make her retirement official. She turned 67 today and her coworkers gave her a scrapbook with memories covering the last 40 years of her career as a nurse at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue Washington.
Most of the other nurses in her department weren’t even born when she started working there, but that didn’t stop them from fully joining in celebrating Miriam’s birthday. She is one of the most beloved nurses to ever care for patients at Overlake.
Miriam has seen it all, from the trauma unit to premature infants and she never lost her composure. It doesn’t matter if she’s changing bandages on a boy with third degree burns because a firecracker blew up in his face or talking with a young egocentric, smart-ass resident who thinks he knows all the world’s medical knowledge. Miriam stays compassionate, focused, and in charge. She’s smart and loves her work, but her husband, Sam, retired two years ago and has been antsy to do some travelling while both of them are still in reasonably good health.
Miriam agrees that it’s time to hang up her stethoscope and visit those places she has only been dreaming about for the last 40 years. She always laughs when telling people she and Sam are going to see the great pyramids of Egypt next summer. She says they’re one of the few things older than she is, but she bets their feet don’t hurt as much as hers do after a ten hour shift.
Miriam’s first marriage ended in divorce 15 years ago and her two daughters are grown with careers and families of their own. It would be fun to drive to Virginia and New Mexico to visit each of them once or twice, but in all honesty, being that close to her grandchildren for very long isn’t how Miriam wants to spend her free time, and the possibility of ever living with either daughter makes her cringe. The idea of becoming a “full time” grandma has no appeal for Miriam.
She loves her family dearly, but would rather take in two or three of those young, self-centered med students as boarders than give up her house and live with one of her daughters. She’s too independent to feel comfortable listening to anyone’s well meaning lecture on why she should no longer be driving, or living in a big house, or whatever her daughters and sons-in-law think they have the right to dictate to her when that time comes.
Outside of her meds for hypertension and a watchful diet to avoid type 2 diabetes, Miriam is in excellent health. There’s plenty of living left in her bones, and she’s ready to get on with it.
Click on the link below to take you to Retirement Online to see how this article compliments what our textbook says.
Using the online article and chapters 14 and 15 as your guidelines, address the following issues or questions as they relate to Miriam and her decision to retire:
- How is Miriam’s identity going to be affected by her retirement?
- How is Miriam’s health going to be affected by her retirement?
- What are the likely emotional reactions Miriam will experience following retirement and how can she prepare for their psychological impact?