It’s been weeks since Queen Elizabeth passed away, yet I find myself thinking about her more than I expected and with increasing admiration. I’m curious if others feel the same way I do: that the Queen was a fixture in my life, indomitable and reliable. She became Queen when I was an infant. As Prime Minister Trudeau remarked, “she was Queen almost half of Canada’s existence.’’ Her many appearances here and throughout the Commonwealth marked the coming to adulthood of a generation of Canadians who observed the marriages, divorces, missteps, and follies of her children and now her grandchildren, all the while mirroring shades of our private dilemmas and family divisions. As the Queen and her children aged, we grew older and possibly wiser, along with her.
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
Challenge Factory focuses on what Taylor calls “talent as equity,” which challenges the typical premise that “people are a company’s greatest assets.” What’s impressive is talent equity replaces the concept of approaching employees as assets, acquired for a price and depreciated over time. Instead, Taylor’s idea is to consider employees as an appreciating asset, as “people equity.” When career and talent programs assume that after employees leave there is no on-going value relationship, older workers and retirees are simply discarded. Instead, Taylor suggests seeing them as alumni or even better, providing opportunities for later-life career changes that leverage experience, while reducing management responsibilities.
I don’t believe there is anyone, anywhere who wants to pay more for their groceries this month than they did the month before. But that’s what is happening in Canada as inflation reached a high of 8.1 percent in June, with food inflation rising to a hefty 9.2 percent in July. The Bank of Canada’s interest rate is at 2.5 percent – with the most significant raise in 20 years. The big banks’ prime rate is 4.7 percent. What’s a retired person on a fixed income to do? I realized that the best option is to try to stick to a financial plan, not dwell on the inflationary prices at the check-out counter, and recognize that older Canadians remain in a privileged position compared to younger folks.
At first, I noticed the price of gas, higher than I’d ever seen it. Then on the same day, Statistics Canada released its Consumer Price Index for June, with the cost of food rising by 8.8 percent. That’s higher than the 7.7 percent figure seen in May and is the highest year-over-year increase since January 1983. Searching this Index, which is the primary measure of inflation, I saw that Canadians paid 54.6 percent more for a tank of gas than they did a year earlier. When you are retired, and on a fixed income, the difference between my old monthly grocery bill of less than $800 and my new monthly bill of $1000 ends up being more than we can easily handle
The saying goes, “dogs are a man’s best friend,” but I’d prefer to narrow that down to children and older people. We are the ones who suffer most from loneliness and isolation. Committing to a dog for a pet and companion is an effective and joyful way to push negative thoughts out the door. It’s next to impossible to feel lonely or unhappy when playing with your dog or just snuggling on the sofa together. According to the science, simply petting your dog brings down blood pressure and walking the dog does a better job keeping you healthy and active. In fact, the benefits of owning a dog increase as we grow older. Numerous studies show that dogs can mitigate against pain and help us heal. “Anxiety, depression, having support or being dismissed can all have an impact on how we experience pain,”.
Today retired men who were kids when “The Hustler” premiered, are discovering enduring ways to play pool. Last week I visited the snooker room at the John Colborne Recreation Centre for Seniors in the town of Oakville. In the 19th century, billiards was a popular pastime among the British Armed Forces stationed in India. Snooker is played on giant-sized tables and is regarded as much more difficult to master than pool. The Colborne Centre, unlike the dingy pool hall in “The Hustler,” sits on a green expanse of well-tended grass, a block from Lake Ontario. In the airy snooker room encased by picture windows, more than a dozen men are busy aiming their snooker cues at the colourful billiard balls sitting upon the bright green snooker tables on the day I visit to see how things have changed since 1961.
Did you know that boomers born between 1946 and 1965 make up more than 25 percent of the Canadian population? I’m one of them, and that’s what drew me to a fascinating new book by Gillian Ranson, called Front-Wave Boomers Growing Older, Staying Connected and Reimagining Aging. When I saw the book’s title, I was interested immediately. We front-wave boomers are re-learning how to navigate growing older, both the challenges and the rewards, and for many, the learning curve is steep. Ranson researched and wrote this book in her seventies.
There are more older Canadians than ever before, and more of us are speaking out about what we want to live joyful and safe lives as we age. One startling statistic is that over-85s are one of the fastest-growing cohorts in Canada and the 2021 census shows that the number of those age 85 and over is expected to triple in the next 25 years. No question, we’re concerned as we ponder our future.
During our lives, and mainly as we grow older, Personal Support Workers (PSWs), could play increasingly significant roles in maintaining our health, comfort and happiness. During Covid, we’ve learned just how crucial PSWs are to the health care system. The difference between ample staffing and professional training of PSWs often made the difference between life and death for older Canadians relying on caring health support.
No one wishes to extend masking requirements beyond their usefulness. The big question is: how do we know when masks can be avoided, and how does each individual decide what is best for them? It appears that there isn’t a blanket, one-size-fits-all answer, and that’s where a little research, discussions with health providers and a hefty dollop of good sense can make a difference. Suppose you’re like me, over 65 years of age, with underlying health conditions, or you are immunocompromised. In that case, the guidance you’re looking for is probably not found under the blanket lifting of mask restrictions.
SUBSCRIBE FOR BLOG POST
Sign up with your email address to receive update when there is a new blog post.