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Making Time Just For You in Your 50s & 60s

  • August 2, 2018
  • By 50 Shades
Making Time Just For You in Your 50s & 60s

I often converse with women of my age, mostly those that have retired from full-time employment and have grandchildren. They all tend to lament that they barely have time to scratch themselves in their retirement and as a consequence they are tired and rundown. My initial thought is “how come they’re so busy? Isn’t being an empty nester and a retiree supposed to be the time in your life when your time is all your own?” Well apparently in a lot of circumstances this is not the case, so here’s my tips for making time just for you in your 50s and 60s.

Why are women in their 50s and 60s so busy

There are two main reasons: grandchildren and elderly parents. The majority of women in my age group have much loved and adorable grandchildren, and as such the expectation is that as retirees we have plenty of spare time to babysit. In a lot of cases grandparents give up a day or more to care for their grandchildren whilst the parents are returning to the workforce.

Making Time For You in Your 50s and 60s

Although I don’t have grandchildren yet, I have already been asked whether I will be on hand to help out with childcare once they arrive. Naturally I’m excited about the prospect!  But have discovered from grandparent friends that they are often taken advantage of and are virtually on call 24/7.

The other caregiver role that affects my age group is assisting elderly parents, who are now in their 80s or 90s. In my case I have an 87 year old mother who requires help with shopping, meals, cleaning, ferrying to appointments and maintenance around her unit. This can erode away a lot of our spare time and it tends to fall on the female siblings in the family, rather than the male siblings. Well it does in my case anyway!

Making Time For You in Your 50s and 60s

Becoming a grandparent is such a joyous occasion

Tips for dealing with “family expectations”

We all know that “family is everything” and we love our kids and grandkids to bits. However I think it’s important to set some ground rules when it comes to “family expectations”.

  1.  Agree on a day or days that you are available to babysit or care for your grandchildren and stick to it. It’s easier to schedule in “me time” just for you if you have designated days or hours that you babysit, rather than just being on hand 24/7.
  2. Make sure you tell your children that your interests, hobbies or social outings are important to you and your own wellbeing, and it’s not always easy to cancel your plans at a moment’s notice.
  3. Learn to say “no” if you feel that you are being overburdened or overwhelmed with babysitting duties. Your health and wellbeing is extremely important as you get older and your children need to be made aware of this.

Making Time For You in Your 50s and 60s

Seeking assistance for elderly parents

With a growing ageing population there are now many great initiatives for keeping the elderly in their homes with government assisted schemes, financial aid, and mobility equipment like rollabout chairs and walkers for adults who need it. Alternatively, you can also opt for senior living facilities where your elderly parents can receive 24/7 nursing care that cannot be provided at home.

In my mum’s case she requires assistance with cleaning, shopping and transport for appointments. There are several options for getting help so that the burden doesn’t fall solely on family members. Making Time For You in Your 50s and 60s

Many of us having ageing parents that need care

  1. If you have siblings to share the burden then call a family meeting and organise a roster for some of the tasks required. If they’re not willing or able to help out then maybe ask for financial assistance so that a helper or aid can be employed.
  2. Make it clear to your parent that you’re not available 24/7 and suggest alternate arrangements, such as calling a taxi for transport requirements, shopping on a designated day and hiring a cleaner. Like babysitting duties, your parent needs to know your time is precious and you can’t always drop everything to help them out.
  3. There are plenty of in-home support facilities for the elderly, including day-to-day tasks such as cooking, transport and social support. For more information visit the Australian Government’s My Aged Care.
  4. In my mum’s case, we have organised a cleaner and a social support person to come in for two days a week. She absolutely loves having the social outings for shopping, having coffee or sightseeing, and it has made her a more content person.
Making Time For You in Your 50s and 60s

There is home help available for your elderly parent

Making time just for you

Although I’m not quiet at the retirement or grandchild stage of my life, I find that family expectations can sometimes be overwhelming. There are days where I feel as though I’m being pulled in ten different directions! Fortunately I generally schedule some “me time” at the beginning of the week and I stick to it and I have a newly acquired skill of saying “no” if I’m too busy.

  1. Get yourself a weekly planner and plot in all of your engagements and appointments for the week and try to adhere to it. This prevents double booking and taking on too much.Making Time For You in Your 50s and 60s
  2. Don’t think that your daily walk or yoga class is unimportant, if something else arises. Make exercise a priority in your life because it’s paramount to your wellbeing both physically and mentally.
  3. Make sure you tell your family and friends that you have a “life” and that social engagements, exercise and even things like having a house cleaning day, are important to you.
  4. Have regular holidays or mini breaks to rest and recuperate from your busy life. Even retirees can burn out if there is too much happening in their lives!
  5. Be organised. Just because you’ve retired from work doesn’t mean that you don’t need some type of routine in your life.
  6. Learn how to relax and unwind by meditating, taking a stroll, watching a movie, reading a book or indulging in a facial or massage.Making Time For You in Your 50s and 60s
  7. Have regular medical check ups and keep your distance from your grandchildren when they have a cold or tummy virus. As we age viral illnesses tend to be more serious and harder to shake. Don’t forget that your mental health is also a priority. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or down get some help. Try the convenience and affordability of online counselling services with BetterHelp.com.

I believe that life in our 50s and 60s should be our time to put our feet up and forget about the pressures of work, home and children. However in saying this it’s still important to spend time with our families and help out where needed. It’s about finding balance. We’ve done our bit, so it’s our time to shine!

What are your thoughts? Do you think it’s fair to be overburdened with grandchild babysitting duties and caring for elderly parents once we’ve retired?

This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

and of course me, Kathy from 50 SHADES OF AGE

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By 50 Shades, August 2, 2018 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

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  • Jo Tracey
    August 2, 2018

    My parents are (thankfully) not at that stage. I am however super busy – aren’t we all – with a busy day job, a side gig as an author, blogging, and not to mention being present as a wife and mother (even though she’s 20 now). The only time I have is that hour in the morning when I walk – and hubby comes now too. I’m trying to carve out a morning to write once a week & take myself somewhere different to do so. Without time alone I get hugely claustrophobic.

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes I need my hour in the morning too to walk or do a Pilates class to gather my thoughts before I start work and dealing with the day ahead. I only work for half a day usually and then the rest is household tasks, shopping, helping my elderly mum, catching up with friends and blogging. I’m starting to wonder how I’m going to fit grandchildren into my busy life. With my son getting married next month I have a feeling it won’t be too long before this happens!

  • Ingrid
    August 2, 2018

    I don’t yet have grandchildren, my eldest twins are only 18 but I can imagine it would be hard to say no to grandchild babysitting!

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes I believe it will be incredibly hard to say no to helping out with grandchildren. I think my son and daughter-in-law will have children fairly soon and I’m looking forward to this immensely. I’m hoping I will be able to help out at least one day a week. #TeamLovinLife

  • Lydia C. Lee
    August 2, 2018

    The elderly parents is so hard. I’ve had to find so much time that I don’t really have – so exercise is going and I’m constantly behind at work. It’s not really working but I’ll have to figure something out. I’m a long way off grandkids but I’m in the throws of childrearing. Better find time for that exercise somewhere.

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes slotting in your own personal time isn’t easy when you’re a mother. I have been there and done that. I was doing a lot for my elderly mum after she broke her hip a few years ago, but had to ask for help because it was impacting very much on my life. Fortunately she has care now and I don’t need to visit as often. #TeamLovinLife

  • Natalie
    August 2, 2018

    My siblings and I rotated elder care duties initially, however, my parents’ health issues have become more complicated than any of us can handle so we arranged for health care aides to come 2-3 times/ week. We’ve also looked into long term 24/7 care in case they need it later. I do reserve some time each day for myself. It’s the “putting the oxygen mask on yourself first” approach.

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      You’re lucky that your siblings were able to help out. I found that I was the only one (presumably because I don’t work fulltime), that was doing most of the care for my elderly Mum. Once we got her a carer a couple of days a week it took the burden off me and now I mainly visit my Mum socially, rather than to drive her around or make her meals. It’s very important to have that “me time”. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    August 2, 2018

    I Kathy,I’m part of the sandwich generation and totally agree that we need to make time for ourselves. In fact, I was gathering the thoughts from my members of the Facebook Group this week. I have my grandchildren who I like to spend time with and look after occasionally plus I have my MIL. Even though my MIL is in an aged care home there are still days when I need to visit her or make sure her needs are met. I don’t know where I would be without my running and my Saturday Sisters. I run and keep active for my mental health as well as being physically fit. It is so hard to say ‘No’ isn’t it? Especially if you are someone who likes to help others. However, there are times when we just have to think of our own needs and give ourselves some self-love. Thanks for the reminder and have a beautiful day,my friend. xx

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes Sue you do a lot for your family and that is wonderful. I see how much you love to help out your MIL and also spend time with your cute little grandson. I look forward to be a Grandmother and offering to help out where I can. As long as I get the balance right and I’m able to still have some “me time” I’ll be happy. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jodie
    August 2, 2018

    That and we think we have to do it all. Which is quite humorous because we never do it all. I’m so glad that “me time” is a thing, and I try to embrace it wholey!!
    I’m super lucky that my mom is so self sufficient right now although it won’t last forever, I’m afraid!!

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes my Mum was fine until she broke her hip and was incapacitated as a result. I was really happy to help her for a while but then I got overburdened by it all and had to seek help. Me time is so important! #TeamLovinLife

  • Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    August 2, 2018

    What a fabulous post! Such an important topic and great tips Kathy! :-) #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Thank you Min. I think people tend to think of retirees of having all the time in the world, but most of the ones I know are busier than ever.

  • Deborah
    August 2, 2018

    It’s funny as my mum is REALLY busy. I know she gets stressed about it all sometimes but she’s not good at saying no. Having said that most of the stuff is stuff she enjoys. She has exercise classes most days. She has church commitments 3-4 days a week (including running a church breakfast for homeless people, doing readings, counting money, baking and going to bible classes). And then there are the morning tea and lunch catch ups she has with friends.

    I only get grumpy with her when she keeps offering to do extra things on top of what she’s doing – driving people from church etc around. She’s WAY busier than I am but likes to keep busy, though still gets time to read and watch TV.

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      I think it’s great to be busy, but not when it impacts on your health and wellbeing. I’m seeing some of my friends being burnt out by babysitting duties and caring for elderly parents. I ended up having to seek help with my Mum as I became overburdened.

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    August 2, 2018

    Our granddaughter is 2 hours away so we don’t get called on for babysitting. I’d be more than happy to give up a day a week to look after her if I had the opportunity. My MIL is becoming more of a burden these days and is constantly needing support – I often wonder what we’ll do when we’re elderly because I know my kids won’t be on hand to be at my beck and call. It’s something that I often ponder upon – I just hope my husband lives longer than me and we’ll just have to look after each other.

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes we all hope that we won’t be alone in our old age. Unfortunately my Mum is on her own and has needed assistance since she broke her hip a few years ago. I will look forward to babysitting grandchildren when they arrive, but I will be making sure I still get my “me time”! #TeamLovinLife

  • Jan Wild
    August 2, 2018

    This is such an important post Kathy. My parents are now both long dead as are Rowan’s and our grandson is remote from us. Consequently as a couple we are not faced with these issues, but I see plenty of evidence that many women are sandwiched in between grandchildren, children and ageing parents. As you say it is so important to take charge of our own time and if not at retirement then when will we ever have that chance. Learning to set boundaries and say no is a critical skill at all stages of life but not something most women are very good at. I am sharing this on my social media x

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes I have friends that are constantly running between taking care of grandchildren and elderly parents and simply cannot say no. I felt for ages that I needed to be my Mum’s prime carer until it all got too much for me. Fortunately we sought help for her and this took the burden off me. I am looking forward to grandchildren, but hopefully will still maintain a balance in my life. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo
    August 2, 2018

    I agree Kathy, as we get into later stages of life suddenly our family’s perception of us changes and our lives become less important in their eyes. It’s a generational thing. I think we all imagine we’ll have more time when we retire, when in fact we get around to having less.

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      Yes indeed. Sometimes my own kids think anything that I’m doing is insignificant compared to their lives! I feel that I certainly won’t be bored in my retirement as I have a feeling that grandchildren may be on my horizon soon enough. #TeamLovinLife

  • Denyse Whelan
    August 2, 2018

    A timely article for many and I think all you have considered is spot on.
    I was always delighted to help (and care for) with grandchildren as they came along. In fact, I was still a Deputy principal when #1 was born and I took leave three days a week for her first 6 months. What a privilege it was to be part of her life then. I never stayed at home with our kids as I loved my work life at school much more. But by the time I got to be Grandma I was ready! plus, I got to send her home. We did this too, over the years for our son’s 3 – and I was then doing part-time teaching. We sometimes cared for our son’s eldest from 8 till 5 and he had his moments as a baby but we set our place up for the grandkids so it was Ok. Fast forward to the year we decided to move away from family and whilst I was “ready” to do that physically it was a wrench emotionally. Nevertheless, it happened and we see the kids less but that is to do with them growing up. I am comforted by the amount of time we had with 7 of the 8 of our grandkids whilst we lived near them. Mum (now passed away) and Dad insisted that we were never to be their carers and we feel the same for our kids. However, when Mum was really unwell, I would drive the hour it took to give Dad respite. My Dad is now in independent care and very well (94!) and my brother and his wife are close by for real emergencies (a few recently) and I drive down with some meal for him from time to time. This is the first time in our married life we have truly been a couple andwe are relishing it and we also have our own interests and time to be alone. Life is good!

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      You certainly did a lot for your children helping out with childcare. I will look forward to doing my bit when the day comes, but I still want to have time to do the things I enjoy. My Mum is being well cared for with home support a couple of times a week and that has really eased the burden for me. We’re also moving away soon so that will impact on our availability to babysit. But we’ll still be within 30 minutes of our son. #TeamLovinLife

  • Cathy Lawdanski
    August 2, 2018

    Kathy, it is so important to get “you” on the schedule. If you don’t, your time will belong to everyone else. In fact, I wrote a blog post on this exact topic this week and how I dealt with it! Must be a recurring theme in midlife!

    • Kathy
      August 2, 2018

      I see so many of my friends being overburdened with babysitting and caring for elderly parents and I feel that they need to take a step back. Hopefully these tips may help. I will head over to take a look at your post Cathy. #TeamLovinLife

  • Natalie @ Be Kind 2 You
    August 5, 2018

    I am one of 5 and Mum had always said, “I will never be a full time babysitter. I’ve been there and done that.” So we never expected it. And with 12 grandchildren – who can blame her.

    • Kathy
      August 5, 2018

      Oh yes 12 grandchildren would be a challenge! My mother used to babysit my two kids once in a while, but I never overburdened her. I know many women my age that give up a lot of their spare time to babysit. Many of them make a huge sacrifice to do so. #TeamLovinLife

  • Janice
    August 7, 2018

    Wait until you have grandchildren! There is no way I would or could say no to looking after them…why would I want someone else enjoying them or particularly sending them off when they are sick….that is when they need you the most if they can’t have mum. I feel sad for my friends who say they won’t babysit as they have done their time….they are missing out on the best stage of their lives! Yes I have alot of things I do in my life but being with my grandchildren is by far the most enjoyable.

    • Kathy
      August 8, 2018

      You’re not the first one to say that to me! I will welcome grandchildren with open arms and I will be available to help with babysitting duties where required. However I still want to do the things I enjoy doing. It sounds like you have found a good balance and I applaud you for this.

  • jan
    August 9, 2018

    A great post for our age group Kathy. Now all I have to do is put it into action lol.

    • Kathy
      August 10, 2018

      Thanks Jan. I do think we need to take better care of ourselves as we get older. #TeamLovinLife

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