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.
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
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.
Just when I thought that suburban living had lost its luster, a bright light is once again shining on homes in the suburbs, small towns and far away places in rural Canada. Who knew? Before the COVID pandemic it appeared that downtown condos, small spaces with little or no gardens, were coveted properties by young and older adults alike.
With each week of self-imposed isolation, I’ve come to realize how central restaurants are to my daily life, and daresay, to my well-being, let alone the joy of partaking in delicious food, which is, in and of itself a wondrous experience.
That day in May, geriatric experts proclaimed that the situation in long-term care facilities was a 20-year disaster in the making, yet it took a pandemic to expose it. Years of hidden neglect, overcrowding, unsanitary, cockroach infested conditions, not addressed by two decades of provincial governments, finally dominated the news, grabbing our attention while breaking our hearts.
His findings erode the idea that older adults naturally grow uninterested and uninteresting as they age and that an inevitable lethargy sets in over time. According to Dr. Daniel, there are apparent “neurochemical changes that make older adults happier.” What he terms the ‘positivity bias’ or the tendency in older adults to see the good qualities in people and situations, makes for the happiest and often most productive adult demographic neurologists have studied
It’s almost unimaginable to think that the most vulnerable of our ageing population has been left to fend for themselves in perilous conditions. When I think of what it must be like, alone and frightened, my only response is that as a country, we need to commit to changing this situation and to ensuring that it will not happen again if and when the next virus is on the loose.
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