by Luong Thu Huong
Ngo Thi Tien was employed by a printing company in Thanh Xuan District of Ha Noi, but after retiring at 55, she started working as a cleaner in an office on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
"My mother used to find much pleasure in working. She even seems much younger when she goes to work, so she was very sad when she retired," said Nguyen Xuan Nguyen, Tien's son.
"Though nearing the age of retirement, my mum still looks young and agile. She was often fret about staying at home after years of having been busy at work. More seriously, she has no one to talk to because all my family members also have to go to work."
Afraid that his mother will get depressed, Nguyen spoke to her and the whole family supported the idea of finding her a relatively less stressful job so that she could get rid of her boredom. As a cleaner in an office, her main duty is to just clean the floor and wash the dishes.
"I am pretty satisfied with my extra job after retirement. It is not too hard and it is very suitable for my health. I usually start my work at 8am and end at around 2pm. Going to work actually makes me feel younger and healthier," Tien claimed.
The retirement age for women in Viet Nam is 55 years and for men it is 60, most of whom agree to stay at home and look after their grandchildren.
However, for many people, who are still in good health and often find happiness in their former jobs, they might not easily get used to the leisurely pace of life involved in staying at home, especially when they have no grandchildren to take care of. Some even get depressed when they suddenly feel "useless".
Financial difficulty is also one reason why retirees seek re-employment.
"My wife and I both retired recently, but our total salary is just around VND4 million (US$200), which is not enough to make ends meet. My son's salary is just sufficient for his family so he cannot support us much, and my daughter is still a student. While my wife stays at home to look after our grandchildren, I have to work as a taxi motorbike driver to earn extra money," says Nguyen Quoc Toan from Cau Giay District.
As Viet Nam's population is getting older, the demand for jobs after-retirement is also increasing. However, it is not always easy for retirees to find one.
"My mother-in-law is not very comfortable with staying at home. There is nothing for her to do at home, except cook, and her grandchildren have already started attended nursery school," said Duong Lieu, whose mother-in-law retired last October.
"She keeps asking me to find her a job, but not many companies agree to hiring a 55-year-old like my mother-in-law. It is also very difficult to find a job suitable for her," she added.
Lieu also pointed out that she had encouraged her-in-law to stay at home because she had devoted all her life to working hard.
"I also told her it is time for her to take rest and to enjoy life with her grandchildren or pursue other interests."
According to psychologists, retirees feel a strong desire to communicate, which is reflected in their quest for re-employment. If that demand is neglected, their mental and physical health will be affected consequently.
The retired are therefore encouraged not to indulge in too much leisure time within the four walls of their home if they want to avoid a mental crisis. Instead, they should socialise with people belonging to all age groups, especially the youth to keep their mind young or take up some suitable work.
"My father has no particular hobby, such as growing bonsai or raising pet birds. He is only interested in teaching, which was his former job. Therefore, even though he is over 70, he still makes lesson plans until very late at night to teach in his morning class. He does not earn much from this extra job, but it helps him have a happy and sound mind, so my family does not oppose it, but very much supports his interest," said Nguyen Minh Trang from Ba Dinh District. — VNS