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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

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Joyce Wayne: Retirement Matters

An older woman with short gray hair smiling at the camera with hand under her chin

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.

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An older man talking on the his mobile phone

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.

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a side view of a woman sitting on a couch reading a book

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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A view of an older couple sitting on the edge of dock by the lake

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.

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A teenage boy hugging his father and grandfather while eating outside

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.

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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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A CHIP Reverse Mortgage is a home equity loan available exclusively to Canadian homeowners 55 or older.

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