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,”.
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
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.
Geriatric psychiatrist Marc Agronin begins his latest book The End of Old Age: Living a Longer More Purposeful Life with an epigraph by the painter Henri Matisse. This one sentence epigraph essentially describes the purpose of his book: how to appreciate and make the most of growing older. Dr. Agronin writes: “Aging brings strength,” which for most of us is the very opposite of how we regard getting older.” As long as I can recall, aging meant decline; it meant limiting the experiences of our aging selves and perpetuating an ageist culture. In his daring book, Agronin suggests strategies to consider aging as a positive, purposeful time in life. “We must learn how to age in a creative manner that is both the antidote to feeling old and the elixir of aging well.”
First, Mansbridge asked Ranson to describe what aging in place means. “That’s easy,” replied Ranson. “You get to stay in your house for as long as you wish.” Mansbridge suggested that most homes in Canada were built for more than two people, but now it appears that older Canadians want to stay in that same home. Ranson replied by saying, “I love my house. When my kids get married, I think about hosting receptions for them. Our home will always be where they can come back for family events, birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays.
Detective Constable Kristin Thomas, has been with the Toronto Police Services for 23 years. She is an experienced fraud investigator working in the Financial Crimes Unit, Corporate Crimes Section. According to Constable Thomas, the fraudsters’ scams play to the victims’ loneliness –and with one thing leading to another, they develop into romance. To avoid falling into the elaborate traps set by these predators, Thomas suggests being extra careful about what you post online or how you word your profile. Most victims never even meet their predator face to face. If you think you are being scammed, Thomas suggests getting support from friends, family, or your doctor. it’s essential to look for the signs of fraud that Constable Thomas describes and learn how to quickly recognize these signs and reach out for help.
Rachel and Martha decided to take retirement for a test drive. The women embarked on a journey of “Not Working,” while travelling for 95 days across America. It worked out so well that four years ago Martha and Rachel decided to retire —while in their late fifties. They started thinking about making environmentally conscious upgrades to their bungalow and arranged for a CHIP Reverse Mortgage. They both see the loan as a good investment in their home and a smart way to live the life they love.
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