Yearly Archives: 2015
Posted by suzanne on Nov 30, 2015
A few people have asked me about the term ‘Financial Gerontology’.
As a field, gerontology (the study of aging) consists of many disciplines such as health, psychology, sociology, education, law and political science, to name a few. It is interdisciplinary in nature.
Gerontologists work on both micro and macro levels. Certainly, financial issues come into play at a societal (e.g. socio-economic issues and social policy) level as well as at the individual level (e.g. later life work and income, wealth generation and savings, financial management, etc.).
Financial gerontology is the study of aging and the related financial, business and economic issues. This emerging field developed when this term was first coined in 1988.
Traditionally, the financial aspects of aging have been a bit on the periphery within the study of aging, a part of gerontology and issues of aging, but not in the forefront. Regardless, financial and economic issues, including later life work and employment, poverty and low-income seniors, pension plans and retirement savings, are linked to gerontology and a part of the field of gerontology. These are important personal and public policy issues.
In this low-growth, economically sluggish climate, I predict that all of these issues will become increasingly important to society as well as to gerontologists and the older adults they study and serve.
More on this topic is available here:
Posted by suzanne on Oct 1, 2015
This week, Statistics Canada reported that older adults age 65 and over now outnumber children and youth under 15 years of age. This is a new social trend that is expected to continue and in fact grow in the future. This demographic change will certainly impact society.
There are more older adults in Canada than ever before. They are a diverse group with a variety of needs. Furthermore, as they move through the life course, this demographic group continues to have social impact on social institutions and vice versa.
There is work to be done to address issues related to our aging population and bigger conversations that we need to be having about our aging society. Innovative policy, programs and services as well as more research and education about issues and topics related to aging and older age are required to help Canada and Canadians adjust to the social change we are experiencing.
Aging is an interdisciplinary field. It requires specialized as well as holistic, broad-based knowledge. The new collaborative partnership on aging research and education between York University and Trent University that connects their new aging-focused research centres is an innovative example of what is needed going forward.
The new research centres at York and Trent both have an interdisciplinary focus and a mandate to increase the capacity for research and education on aging and aging issues. With this partnership, York and Trent can effectively capitalize on the strengths, perspectives and expertise of scholars and researchers in the field of aging and accomplish even more innovative work. Furthermore, it will enable these two institutions to bring more resources and various viewpoints and experiences to bear on issues related to aging. The partnership will provide a holistic understanding of aging that can inform policy, programs and services for stronger, healthier communities. This is what will assist Canada to adjust to the shifting demographics and changing social needs.
What a coincidence that we are talking about this population shift and what is needed in time for October 1, the day the federal government has designated as National Seniors’ Day.
Going forward, however, there is great need to be forward thinking, innovative and purposeful to address the social and demographic changes we are experiencing.
A version of this blog was posted on LinkedIn on October 1st, 2015.
Posted by suzanne on Sep 19, 2015
For adults age 50 and over, longevity has combined with a rethinking of work and income options. There is a radical shift taking place with an expansion of our working lives and a re-imagining of retirement, combined with a demographic shift to an aging society.
Delayed retirement is a growing trend. Since the mid-1990′s, there has been an increase in the employment rate of older Canadians. In fact, Statistics Canada data show that from 1997 to 2010, the employment rate of men 55 and over increased from 30.5% to 39.4%1. During the same time, the rate for women grew from 15.8% to 28.6%. In addition, a Canadian survey indicates that a growing number of individuals expect to be working full time at age 662.
It is a pleasure to announce my new study. Funded by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), this project will examine how Canadians in their 50s, 60s and 70s are seeking out second and third careers as “retirement” is redefined. It will also look at how career professionals can best assist older adults in their career development. The Redirection: Work and Later Life Career Development Project will examine this new phase of later life career that is emerging.
I coined the term “redirection” to refer to the process of finding new pursuits during the second half of life. Redirection, which aims to move beyond traditional notions of retirement, occurs as older adults increasingly seek the rewards of work and stay engaged. It can be a stage of renewal, reinvention and growth.
1Galarneau, Diane and Carrière, Yves. 2011. “Delayed retirement: A new trend?” Perspectives on Labour and Income. Autumn 2011, vol. 23, no. 4. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 75-001-XIE.
Posted by suzanne on Jun 30, 2015
In what ways can all generations engage and participate in a conversation and dialogue about greater longevity and a vibrant later life? An excellent start is to foster intergenerational relationships with intent, harness the power of intergenerational bonds and interactions, something that is largely untapped. Research indicates that these as perspectives, experiences and interactions are not commonly engaged in either direction – older to younger or younger to older.
One part of the Age Friendly Communities initiative needs to be to encourage and cultivate non-familial intergenerational interactions. Where are the best places to seek out intergenerational interactions? Here are the five top places and spaces for intergenerational connections to thrive. These are through:
- Volunteer and service work, as individuals from different generations contribute their time to the same cause or issue in the community
- The workplace, where individuals from different generations work, converse and solve problems together
- Associations with neighbours when interacting with people living in the neighbourhood
- The broader community where individuals meet and speak with others as they engage in daily activities and daily interactions, living their lives; and
- Learning and educational institutions, especially as intergenerational learning becomes more prevalent such as in the Sociology of Aging course I taught at York University
If the generations engage more readily in these five top places then the trigger questions for success are – how can dialogue and conversations be encouraged on meaningful issues of mutual concern? How can outward facing messages be stimulated that engage all ages in conversation, so that everyone benefits?
Finally, the top tip for strengthening intergenerational interactions is to encourage good listening skills. In this way, each individual will hear better across generations. Everyone is valued and respected. It is necessary that the generations listen to each other in order to hear each other. This is how intergenerational bonds and connections are fostered. It begins by taking this first critical step. This is an excellent beginning and an excellent way to develop better intergenerational relationships.
A version of this was posted on the Planet Longevity blog.
Posted by suzanne on May 10, 2015
This spring, it is a great pleasure to announce that I am the in-house gerontologist on the new weekly show called Making Our Seniors Matter launched May 4th, 2015 on ListenUp Talk Radio where my interview focused on a holistic approach to healthy aging. While this show will cover a range of topics of broad interest in the daily lives of seniors, it seems perfectly fitting to open with this holistic view.
Over the next thirteen weeks, the Why Our Seniors Matter show will feature many practical matters from finance to fitness, but they all tie in to one or more of the eight aspects of the holistic healthy aging – social, cognitive, physical, psychological, spiritual, purposeful work, financial and environmental.
Through my work as a gerontologist and educator, my focus has been on supporting a new vison of aging – healthy aging that is not only out of concern for the old but also for their families. This makes all this truly an “inter-generational” new vision.
As I mentioned in the Talk Radio interview, there are gaps in how we provide information on aging matters directly to seniors in the community, and there will be a growing demand on family members of all ages to become an integral part of that information food chain as the aging demographic curve rises over the next two decades.
Furthermore, we require new ways of providing information and resources to those who need it. Communities and municipalities as well as businesses serving seniors can do a lot to shape the way information about seniors’ services and resources is presented. Lack of awareness is one issue, but it is equally important that we have timely information provision.
Many older adults have complex needs and the best way to meet them is to enhance information, including knowledge of resources and tools. Provision of better information is a key way to build an age-friendly society.
Coming up in June is Seniors’ Month in Ontario. This is a great reason to enhance information and communication services focused on older adults and their family members.
Posted by suzanne on Apr 9, 2015
Mature individuals have a great deal to offer. Leveraging their experience, abilities and wisdom is critical in our aging society.
In Western society, there is a tendency to overlook mature and experienced workers. They do not receive the respect accorded to them in the past, or in other countries.
Recently, the New York Times published a lovely compendium of experienced masters - individuals who are at the top of their craft. These inspiring people, of mature age, continue to be highly productive older adults who are passionate about the work they do.
Over and above the meaning and purpose work offers for these individuals, their stories convey several key messages. First, their stories highlight their openness to learning and being present in the moment. These are qualities that need to be cultivated. Also evident is the importance of process and the honing of great works over time. Therefore, patience, dedication and self awareness are critical to becoming a master and developing seminal and socially meaningful work. In addition, they are very inspiring. Finally, I wonder if their age matters because it is their talent and their craft that stand out to me.
In any case, masters is a fitting description for them.
LEWIS H. LAPHAM (2014). Older masters at the top of their game, New York Times Magazine.