The word "retirement" isn't politically correct any more. Instead of retiring, people keep busy doing something, working part-time or doing something else to keep busy. No matter what you call it, we need an occupation.
Still there is a time to let go of long held occupations, time to move on and let others take our place. Retirement needn't be scary if you have something to go to, something to take the place of what has occupied you thus far in your life.
Retirement can be traumatic for people whose whole identity and purpose are wrapped up in their career. Major transitions are easier to manage if done gradually, if another satisfying occupation is ready to be taken up. The sudden transition to doing nothing can be experienced as death by the career-dedicated.
Occupation is essential for ongoing mental and physical health. So, retirement must be seen as a career transition, not the end. Baby-boomers will be retiring in record rates but also living longer. The acceptability of contract work now allows more flexibility. The more dedicated you are the harder it is to let go...unless you have something meaningful to go to.
If you are in a dead end job you may deceive yourself into thinking that the pleasures of total retirement are all you want. Retirement viewed as escape may be a face-saving device leading to even lower self esteem when the reality of doing nothing sinks in. Well managed retirement means gradually phasing out of one role into something new. Keeping both hats on at the same time avoids the trauma of the sudden.