While the Third Age is a time when individuals can begin fully enjoying their life, free from family duties and work, it can also be challenging. Even if an individual plans carefully throughout the entire Second Age, they may still find themselves having difficulty after retirement. Two of the biggest challenges facing those in the Third Age are economics and health.
Like many countries, Italy has a pension program that is a compulsory pay-as-you-go insurance plan. However, despite the contributions individuals make over their lifetime, they often find the amount of pension they receive is not enough to cover even their most basic expenses in a month. There are several reasons for the economic difficulties that Third Age individuals face. One of these reasons is that the amount of pension received is inadequate for living expenses. Another reason is the high cost of living, especially in cities. These factors are tempting the aging population to consider shifting to countries like Portugal or Bulgaria—places where they can live comfortably on an Italian pension.
An undeniable fact of life is that the human body ages. With age things simply don’t work the way they once used to. What used to be easy and didn’t require any thought, now requires planning and even assistance. It may be that walking has gotten more difficult due to arthritis settling into the joints or needing hearing aids as it becomes a challenge to hear others. These ailments can make it more difficult to enjoy the free time to explore and enjoy the Third Age. However, there are tools, medications, and devices that can help ease the symptoms of many ailments, that can give a new lease on life.
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Protections have been put in place to protect individuals as they begin to age. However, despite these protections, retired individuals in the Third Age are often a marginalized group. They face discrimination and are shunted to the sidelines. Psychologically, this shift from being viewed as a productive member of society to one that is simply a burden, can be significant. It can cause issues such as depression and can further compound other health issues that come with age. This particular challenge can be overcome by focusing on continuing to learn and grow as an individual. Pursuing new hobbies and activities help keep the mind sharp, give Third Age individuals a chance to make new acquaintances, and help them feel accepted by others.