As people live longer, more programs are being introduced to better prepare them for life after retirement.
Last year, a center in Geumcheon, Seoul under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family provided a course for men in their 40s and 50s to give them advice on how to get on well with their family and lead a healthy life after they retire.
Some 41 men attended the course and learned how to manage their time and financial assets. They also got opportunities to learn how to cook. After being taught how to make bibimbap, or mixed rice and vegetables, one of the participants said he had always considered cooking to be his wife’s job, but now he will try to help his wife by taking on some of the household chores.
One of the course organizers at the center said that as men tend to devote their life to work, and pay little attention to domestic matters, they often find it hard to get along with other family members after they retire. If their wife gets sick or suddenly passes away, many struggle to adapt and take over their spouse's responsibilities, he added.
Prof. Sung Mi-ae at Korea National Open University ran a program last year where 14 couples in their 50s and 60s sought to fix their rocky marriages. Most of the male participants were shown to be ignorant of their wife’s needs. One man in his 40s said, "I'm far from retirement, but I’m already worried about how to get along with my wife when I stop working. That's why I'm taking part in the program."
Sung urged married couples to find common hobbies to get through their twilight years happily.