Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Julie Grabanski


Aged; Health Promotion; Life Change Events; Retirement


Retirement has evolved from traditional stereotypes to an individualized plan. Transitioning into retirement can be a stressful time and it is generally accepted that pre-retirement attitudes impact post-retirement success (Marshall, Clarke & Ballantyne, 2001). A wellness program can make the transition into retirement less difficult by incorporating different dimensions of wellness: social, intellectual, occupational, physical, emotional, and spiritual (Strout & Howard, 2012). Currently there is very little research indicating the effectiveness of a wellness program that addresses these dimensions. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain insight into useful topics for a wellness program based on perspectives of currently retired adults to assist those who will retire in the future.

A phenomenological research design was used to develop semi-structured interviews with four male retirees from the Midwest regions of Grand Forks, ND and Minneapolis, MN. Interviews were conducted to gather rich detail about the participants’ retirement experiences. Data analysis was based on methods developed by Giorgi and Giorgi (2008) to draw out common experiences among the participants.

Themes that were important during the transition to retirement included retirement planning, supportive relationships, and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Finances and possible decline in health were the major concerns for retirees. A primary limitation of this study was due to the small, Midwest-based, male sample size.