Mobility changes during the first years of retirement

Publisher's full text

Mobility is an important aspect of well-being, activity and participation. Retiring from paid work is a transition in later life when people need to adjust to a new daily structure and fill the day with activities other than work. Life-course transitions influence demands for mobility and choice of travel mode as people adapt to new circumstances and learning processes.

The purpose of this paper is to explore how mobility strategies develop during the first years of retirement. A qualitative analysis based on initial interviews with a total of 27 retired people during their first year of retirement and again, about three years later.

Important changes during the first years of retirement included illness or a decline in physical health. Mobility had become a means of achieving certain goals after an illness, such as learning to walk, being able to drive or enjoying the time that was left. While some enjoyed not having commitments, others experienced difficulties in filling the day. The results indicate four dimensions of mobility: means of carrying out activities which are needed and desired; resources for creating activities; a leisure activity in itself; and subordinate to staying at home.

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