At been working as a Teacher for the

At the age of 40 to 65 years old, many of
us would have established our careers, settled down into a committed relationship.
Many are at the stage of their life where they would have to make ‘big life
decisions’ and ensure themselves that they are productive so that they would
not end up as a failure. They experience changes in many areas of their lives,
which includes their physical, cognitive and social needs. This essay attempts
to assess the main challenges faced by two mid-life adults during this stage of
their life compared to their early adulthood.

Respondent A is a fifty-six-year-old
female. She is living in a three-bedroom HDB flat alongside with her two
daughters. She has been working as a Teacher for the past twelve years.
Respondent B is a sixty-year-old male, married and had just recently left his
job as a construction worker. When asked about the challenges that they were
facing, Respondent A felt that her health had recently deteriorated, and this
had been affecting her work performance. As a result, she also felt that she
was unable to meet the demands of her work scope as well as her colleagues. She
stated “My main challenge is to keep up
with my heavy work-load, as I am a Teacher working in a Special Needs school. I
carry a lot of things and this is contributing to my back problem. I recently
was also diagnosed with Diabetes. Having to work with new graduates, I must
catch up with technology and learn how to use my email often. Very stressful
but I have to support my family”.

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Respondent B also mentioned that one of his
main challenges that he faced was his deteriorating health and managing his
finance. As he was unable to keep up with his work as a construction worker, he
decided to quit his job to focus on his well-being. He stated that “I am already sixty years old. I was
diagnosed with skin cancer just three months ago. My children provide a little
for me, but I think that maybe I will go find a job that is less tiring so that
I can support myself and my wife soon. I do not want to be a burden for them.”

Both Respondents felt that their health was
an issue to them. Respondent A was diagnosed with Diabetes and Respondent B
found out that he was suffering from skin cancer. Respondent A expressed her
desire to be productive at work and her need to catch up with technology and
her younger colleagues despite the difficulties she faced at work. Whereas
Respondent B, quit his job to focus on his health but at the same time
expressed that he would be on the lookout to find a job to fend for himself and
his wife and not depend on his children. As Respondent A is a single mother she
has taken up the role as the sole breadwinner of her household and she holds a
lot of responsibility to take care of her family, this is a role that a male
usually holds but because of recent change in times Respondent A decided to
take up the role of a father and provide for herself and her family. Whereas
Respondent B, is not rushing to find a job but because of his social role as
the head of the family, he still wants to provide for his family.

According to Eric Erikson, the psychosocial
stage that characterizes Middle-aged adults is ‘Generativity vs.
Self-Absorption or Stagnation’. During this stage of life, career and family are
the most important to an individual. Each psychosocial stage is associated with
a conflict or crisis where an individual must overcome to move to the next stage (Sokol, 2009).  At this stage of life both Respondent A and B
are adapting to the physical changes of middle age, having to keep up with
their working lives and provide for both of their families. Once they overcome
this crisis, they will in turn learn to be obtain the care virtue.

I have learnt in this research that middle
adulthood does not have to mean that one will have a ongoing career, an
everlasting marriage and eternal health. Many people at this stage are at
different life phases in terms of their social life, family relationships and
their career (Lachman, 2004). As Eric Erickson’s ‘Generativity vs
Stagnation’ stage is for individuals between fourth to sixty-five years old. By
2030, 20 percent of Singapore’s population will be beyond 65 years old, and up
to 38 percent by 2050 (Wen,2013). The government implemented the Retirement and
Reemployment act, to encourage the continuation of work by increasing the
retirement age to 62 and offering reemployment to eligible employers up to the
age of 65. This may have detrimental effects to this group of people, most of
them are at the stage where they should be preparing for retirement, but due to
excessive cost of living and other social responsibilities not many are able
overcome this stage of life. They might feel a sense of insecurity, experience age
discrimination at work, reality shock and learn to adapt in an unfamiliar
environment. It will also take some time for them to perceive their roles, responsibilities
and see their work as meaningful.