Posted by suzanne on Nov 10, 2017
Moreover, the benefits of learning are many. Lifelong learning opportunities provide social connection, mental stimulation and a sense of purpose.
Learning helps people to expand their horizons. Learning fuels personal growth and development. Furthermore, advances in personal development stimulate learning.
Every community needs to provide lifelong learning options for mature residents. In some areas and locations, there are lifelong learning and Third Age Learning Groups. There are also learning programs offered through municipal park and recreation centres, school boards, seniors’ centres and other community organizations. Furthermore, in Canada, book clubs are a favourite way to learn and connect with others.
Learning is an important later life pursuit. Intellectual and personal growth are a critical for healthy aging.
Posted by suzanne on Oct 12, 2017
Incredible motivation, or lack thereof. Motivation is a great strength. It makes a big difference when working towards goals and objectives. As with all things in life, success and achievement take work. High motivation makes it happen.
Searching for the ‘next challenge?’ Strong motivation can be an asset when making this transition – an occupational redirection or change in your life. It takes work to redirect and the pathway forward may not be clear.
Motivation is key
Let’s be honest. Nothing is easy. Work is involved in redirecting. Forethought and effort are required. It is possible to lose motivation, or temporary ‘misplace’ it. Sometimes motivation is ‘low’ or lacking. It is a huge downfall when motivation is absent. This is when motivation must be recaptured.
At other times, success comes more slowly than expected; therefore, motivation needs to be sustained. Transition takes time. In addition, it is not easy to maintain motivation when the going gets tough. Everyone needs a push forward now and again. Using a mantra is one way to increase motivation. The Mottos to Motivate in the image above may help when choosing a new mantra. A motto or mantra can help people to reach toward their goals and keep moving forward.
To stimulate motivation, it often helps to look back on previous accomplishments. Once you have reached a certain age, it is possible to gain greater perspective and realize that many obstacles and hardships have already been overcome in life. This indicates how resilient people just keep trying. They eventually achieve goals and objectives through hard work and perseverance. It is possible to look to previous experiences and see how resilience made it possible to overcome barriers. Being a resilient person helped to keep you motivated and moving forward.
Today, it is important to take steps towards your redirection.
It is up to you. If not now, then when?
I will discuss additional tips for motivation in my next post.
Posted by suzanne on Jan 26, 2016
I coined the term redirection to refer to the new stage of career as individuals transfer their skills, experience and knowledge in a new direction. By pursuing a new occupation, individuals are able to use some of their strengths while learning something new. This provides revitalization.
Attention Northumberland County Residents, please click here: Magnet Redirection Project.
The Redirection Project examines how Canadians in their 50s, 60s and beyond are turning away from traditional notions of ‘retirement’ to seek new employment. There is a radical change taking place with an expansion of our working lives and re-imagining of retirement as the baby boomers enter what has traditionally been viewed as their retirement years.
The Redirection Project is a CERIC-funded national research initiative. The project consists of a national survey (see below), success stories to help inspire others and a documentary film (see the story contest).
The research examines partipants’ experiences with later life work and career development as they shift gears and pursue new types of work.
If you are age 50 or over and seeking new employment (or have already found your new career), you are invited to participate in important research about this topic in order to help others in similar circumstances.
The project has received great coverage in the Globe and Mail.
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.
Posted by suzanne on Dec 9, 2014
What happens when lifelong learners are invited into spaces and places normally reserved for young learners? You get Intergenerational Education. This new and emerging type of education occurs when you mix passion, dynamic innovation and out of the box thinking and bring it all into the classroom. The results and the benefits are phenomenal.
Dr. Chris Alfano, my colleague in Kingston, teaches high school students and older adults in an intergenerational music program. The vibrancy of this classroom is incredible and it has been my pleasure to observe this class on more than one occasion. Chris and his music class received some much deserved attention for the incredible work they all do to bring music into people’s lives through intergenerational education. Great joy is created when they share what they have learned and bring music out into the community.
I teach Sociology of Aging at York University using an intergenerational education model. I have been thrilled to see this new trend catching on. Recently, I visited two intergenerational education class opportunities. This confirmed the rich learning potential for young and old alike.
Last week, I visited the University of Victoria to observe an interdisciplinary, intergenerational class as well as speak with the professors leading this course (The YUFA Teaching and Learning Development Grant that I received from York University facilitated my visit). The UVic students are enrolled in ‘Exploring Aging through Film’. What an inspired idea for an interdisciplinary university course that brings young and old together while strengthening links between research and teaching. This course is the brain child of Dr. Holly Tuokko and her colleagues. The support for this creative course, the vibrant learning environment and the high student interest were striking. It was wonderful to see the development of intergenerational education and how far it has progressed on the West Coast.
My colleague at York, Dr. Gary Turner, also incorporated intergenerational learning into his class for the first time two weeks ago. Again, everyone was pleased with the results and I have every expectation that he will do it again next year.
These classes use Experiential Education to engage students, both young and old. This model has rich potential.
There is a new brand of education emerging in the field and it demands that we pay close attention to it.
Posted by suzanne on Sep 30, 2014
Our time as a society is unprecedented in terms of our ability to develop positive opportunities for multiple generations to live, work, play and learn together. We have more forums, research and technology available for exploring these opportunities to make this a “society for all ages”.
One such forum is the upcoming 43rd annual Canadian Association on Gerontology conference Oct.16-18, 2014 in Niagara Falls where the theme is Landscapes of Aging, which is appropriate in that it explores a wide, bountiful horizon of “emerging possibilities”.
At this year’s conference, I am chairing the Saturday morning Divisional Symposium: Intergenerational Learning within Formal Educational Programs: Older Adults and Younger Students. My presentation within this is entitled Intergenerational Learning Partners: Learning through Lived Experience at the Undergraduate Level, focusing on my Sociology of Aging course developed at York University.
In this course last academic year (2013-14), eight older adults were invited into the undergraduate classroom and the students learned empirical and theoretical perspectives on aging and later life through “lived experience”. The majority of the students were in their 20’s and did not inherently have knowledge of this area of study. Both the students and the older adults regularly interacted in this university class, which is an innovative method of linking these generations.
Posted by suzanne on Jan 24, 2014
Older adults are lifelong learners. They like to learn new things and there is a need to celebrate the learning of all age groups. This is especially the true for seniors. The myth that older adults don’t like technology is being challenged; more and more older adults are embracing technology.
Often, older adults jump at the chance to be shown how technology can make a difference in their lives and how they can better use it. I hear anecdotal reports of grandchildren teaching a grandparent how to use a cell phone or iPad. The wonders of technology can be taught intergenerationally, as the program Cyber-Seniors and the great new documentary film of the same name indicate.
Older adults’ openness to technology is evident when statistics on technology use are reported. More than half of seniors are on-line. Those age 65 and older use the Internet and email, with technology users usually active on-line on a daily basis. For example, among those seniors who use the Internet, 70% go on-line daily. This breaks stereotypes many of us hold of older adults!
Seniors like to research government websites, obtain financial information, such as stock quotes or check mortgage rates, or search for health information on-line. And 44% of seniors age 65 to 73 watch videos on-line, with 34% of them visiting social media sites. In addition, a large proportion of seniors – 7 out of 10 – own a cell phone. Check out the PEW report on Older Adults and Internet Use.
Stimulating curiosity and intellectual growth and development are the real joys of learning. Grey hair or not, we are all lifelong learners! Sometimes older adults need support and encouragement to try something new. It is time to debunk negative stereotypes of aging and develop more intergenerational programs. There is great joy and vitality when the generations interact. A special opportunity to view Cyber-Seniors is available through the Peterborough International Film Festival this weekend.
Posted by suzanne on Oct 2, 2013
Many individuals are drawn to the new and the novel, yet they often fear change and new experiences.
People are curious about the world, about the possibilities lying just beyond the sightline. A love of learning drives curiosity and an interest in new things. Learning new things is fun, exciting and enjoyable.
New things capture the imagination and create excitement; however, the double-edged sword is that the new is also anxiety-provoking. The new is uncertain and never guaranteed. It represents the unknown as well as the unfamiliar, so that while we gain energy and enthusiasm for the new and novel, this newness and uncertainty make us anxious. These contradictions are part of what makes us interesting as human beings but also part of what holds us back when new opportunities arise.
The uncertainty that derives from the new and novel can curtail the pursuit of our goals and our learning as well as our growth as individuals. We tend to get stuck in the same familiar ways of routine and habits rather than having the motivation to continue learning something new or taking the steps toward change. We can become overwhelmed by the change and the new direction rather than make a big change.
1) As individuals, we enjoy learning new things and are attracted by the new and novel
2) While new things are exciting, they also make us anxious
3) The new can lead to change, growth and transformation if we make a choice to go with the change
There is a newness and unexpectedness of each day when we change, embrace that change and welcome the beauty of the new day into our life. Change keeps life fresh. Novelty is vital in life. It keeps life interesting. For those who welcome it, there are ample rewards.
Posted by suzanne on Feb 8, 2013
Last week, I was in Ottawa attending and presenting at Cannexus13. This is the annual conference for individuals in career services (e.g. career counsellors and career coaches) and academics who study career and career-related issues.
It is no surprise that a growing number of individuals attend this conference every year; career and occupation are important not only for financial security and life style; they are critical for identity and self-esteem and a big part of life.
My interest is in older workers and their career and occupation as well as in the transition to retirement. I am not sure that employees and employers are on the same page when it comes to these issues. I am seeing a growing divide in attitudes and expectations between older workers and their employers and society in general.
The most progressive employers are doing innovative programing for retirement planning as well as providing a bouquet of options for the transition to retirement. Through my presentations, I discuss my model of the new retirement and describe various inspiring examples of retirees who are finding meaning, fulfillment and purpose during the second half of life. These individuals and their experiences are motivating and can help encourage others to seek out options that provide renewal and rejuvenation. This is because the second half of life is an opportunity to ‘seize life’.
Posted by suzanne on Jan 17, 2013
As an Academic Entrepreneur, I see the value of transferring knowledge including research and theory into practice. A key aspect of academic entrepreneurship is moving knowledge production to knowledge, resource and technology transfer within organizations and businesses. By achieving this, knowledge and awareness are promoted within the community and the broader society.
Knowledge translation (or knowledge mobilization) means finding innovative ways to share my research and theory and put it into practice. How am I ‘spreading the word’? I am connecting with the stakeholders who are invested and involved in my work. Hence, in addition to making conference presentations for academic audiences, I am speaking to organizations and groups who are interested in my research. While I continue to write academic manuscripts, I am working on a guidebook to retirement. Finally, I am making a documentary film that will challenge our attitudes towards aging.
What are the benefits of doing this? I am able to build stronger connections to the community by ‘getting out there’ and making myself available to businesses, organizations and individuals. My connections to the community help me to focus on and continue to research the topics that matter to people. Plus, by speaking and presenting, there is greater awareness regarding these issues in our society and I am contributing to the social dialogue.
Transferring knowledge into practice is important. I am passionate about my work and believe my next steps include sharing my knowledge and expertise with those who can most benefit from it. This is the direction I need to take my research because I believe my work can make a difference in people’s lives.
Clouser, M. (2011). The Importance of Academic Entrepreneurs. http://academicentrepreneur.wordpress.com/
Erdös, K. & Varga, A. (2010). The Academic Entrepreneur: Myth or Reality for Increased Regional Growth in Europe? Working Paper IAREG WP1/03g.
Marnett, A. (2010). Professor? It’s ‘Academic Entrepreneur’ to you. http://www.benchfly.com/blog/professor-its-academic-entrepreneur-to-you/
Stuart, T. E. & Ding, W. W. (2006). When Do Scientists Become Entrepreneurs? The Social Structural Antecedents of Commercial Activity in the Academic Life Sciences, AJS, 97–144.