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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

Joyce Wayne: Retirement Matters

Two ladies laughing together at the kitchen counter holding coffee cups

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.

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A woman watering plants

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

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An older woman wearing an apron and cooking talking to someone

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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No matter how well self-isolating is going, I suggest making a calendar of online events you enjoy with friends and family – or organizations – outside the home. That way, the balancing act between isolation and keeping occupied is met, and you don’t wake up one morning wondering what you did with all that time during the pandemic.

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I belong to the Canadian Federation of University Women, where I was giving a talk about my latest novel Last Night of the World. The date was March 5. Helen, a charming member, also a neighbour, graciously drove me to and from the event. Unlike myself, she was undeterred by the COVID-19 virus. “You have to try to go on with your life,” she said, as I’m confident the majority of this lovely, intelligent group of women would agree ---even as the virus makes its way around the globe. 

Canadians took full notice, and within a day, everything changed. Our lives transformed in ways that none of us has ever experienced. Sequestered at home, or facing essential work in public, nothing was the same, or was it?

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Joyce Wayne shares how retired Canadians can remain connected to healthcare providers with the current nationwide directive for social distancing amid coronavirus scare.

Rather than dashing off to various doctors’ appointments, LocateMotion remotely connects us with healthcare providers without forcing us to leave our homes, or to wait on hold for hours as we try to connect with government health lines. I can only imagine how useful this service could be, as the Corona Virus takes its toll, and not just on physical health, but mental health as well.

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Stay Grounded

In troubled times, the question is how to deal with inner fears that aren’t necessarily based on facts. I know that the chances of catching the COVID-19 virus in Canada are relatively slim, and of those who do fall ill, only 2 per cent expire, (albeit higher numbers for those 69 years of age and older). It’s still less than the death rate for the 2003 SARS epidemic.

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The More Things Change

For those of us approaching or living in retirement, it comes as no surprise that Canada is undergoing an unprecedented demographic shift. For the first time in Canada’s history, there are more people over the age of 65 than there are children under the age of 15. The very size of our cohort is creating a deluge of ideas about how to deal with people like us.

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An older woman wearing a white turtleneck sweater holding a mug looking off in the distance

We’re not all destined to be poets. Still, in Governor General’s award-winning author Michael Harris’ book Solitude: a Singular Life in a Crowded World, the writer describes our society as one that embraces sharing like never before.

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