Being members of the older generation, we’ve learned not to complain or at least not to complain too much. On the weekly Zoom happy hour call with our friends my age, we try not to focus on our ailments or aches and pains. Still, we inevitably fall into rehashing our worries about illnesses during each virtual get-together. That’s what happens after turning 65.
Joyce Wayne has been writing about social issues, business and culture for forty years.
This year she is publishing her second novel, Last Night of the World, a spy thriller about Soviet spies operating in Canada during World War II. Joyce is also the author of The Cook’s Temptation. An award-winning journalist, Joyce is most interested in the stories of men and women trying to thrive in challenging circumstances.
Here, she is exploring matters relevant to the lives of retirees and soon-to-be-retirees facing the rapidly changing circumstances of the new retirement.
Joyce Wayne: Retirement Matters
In his new book Retirement Heaven or Hell: Which Will You Choose? Mike Drak describes what he calls “the three stages of retirement” and how to escape from the second stage: Retirement Hell.
I worry about them, and by extension other Millennials. Just as they are beginning to put down roots, develop their careers and basically decide what kind of life they wish to lead, the rug has been pulled out from under them. When we talk about the future, it’s difficult for them to see their future, how they will work, support themselves and possibly raise children together.
Retirement might be the perfect time to begin a journal, to start recording your thoughts as you grow older. Or it could be the moment to launch a creative project, the painting or writing you’ve always wished to try, the musical instrument, or the potter’s wheel you have a hankering to master.
For many of us with underlying conditions, our lives have changed dramatically since March 2020 when the WHO declared the virus had become a pandemic. Since then, we’ve been living differently, but if we remain healthy, there are ways to weather the tumult and keep our emotional balance.
Older adults are often anxious about winter. When there’s ice and snow on the ground, walking is treacherous, so we spend more time indoors. The pandemic has only increased our hours inside our homes. This winter, it’s more important than ever that we create a safe environment for ourselves and our loved ones.
Older Canadians continue to contribute to society in many ways and are overrepresented as volunteers and unpaid caregivers supporting other Canadians of all ages. They also remain the most politically engaged members of our society and have the highest voter participation rates. To ensure communities can continue to support their older residents to remain independent and engaged, access to reasonable income supports, affordable housing, and inclusive transportation services should continue to be strengthened. To combat the growing levels of social isolation and reinforce efforts to end ageism and elder abuse in society, physical environments and public spaces need to be age-friendly; and health, community, social and recreational services, and employment opportunities must be designed to be inclusive with the needs of older Canadians in mind.
Happily things are changing. Women my age are addressing unaccommodating behaviour in our own way. You can bet, over the long run, it’s going to be successful. Boomers are changing the discourse around aging and how we want to be treated at work, in public and at home. So many of us joined the workforce directly after university or college and kept working through pregnancies and while raising the kids. We tried to become equal partners with our spouses, and again, many of us succeeded. As we age, those accomplishments, those massive steps forward to equality haven’t been forgotten.
We’re all feeling vulnerable these days so if you’re an older adult feeling that way, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, a new campaign called Catch the Scam, launched by HomeEquity Bank, reports that in an Ipsos-commissioned survey 91% of Canadians 55 years of age or better believe they are now more vulnerable to scams.
Have you ever read a book that changed your life? I have. The book is Lives of Girls and Women by Canadian short story author Alice Munro. This July, she turned 89. During the last fifty years, she’s won just about every award a fiction writer can win: the Nobel Prize for literature, the International Booker Prize, three Governor-General Awards, two Giller prizes, several Trillium awards and the U.S. National Book Award.
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