Posted by suzanne on Dec 8, 2016
Redirection is an alternative to retirement. A large and growing proportion of older adults are choosing to work past what has traditionally been thought of as ‘retirement age’. This represents a significant shift in our society.
The Redirection Project examines this new and emerging social trend. Results of the research will be shared in January. First, a webinar will be held on January 12th, 2017. Sign up here. Second, there is a presentation at Cannexus17 in Ottawa on January 23rd. Sign up here.
The documentary film Redirection: Movers, Shakers and Shifters discusses these issues and portrays the stories of five adults who found second or third careers after age 50. The English and French trailers of the film are available. The documentary film is been screened through feature presentations around the country to great acclaim.
Posted by suzanne on Aug 29, 2016
Work and occupation are important across the life course. It is a great thrill to share the most recent research on work and aging at the upcoming CAG annual scientific and educational meeting to be held in Montreal, Quebec. At this year’s conference, I am chairing two Symposia on work and aging. I have invited some esteemed scholars to present their work. The Symposia are to be held on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.
During the first Symposium, I will be discussing the Redirection Project. During the second Symposium, I am sharing the documentary film Redirection: Movers, Shakers and Shifters which helps bring key issues from my Redirection Project to a broader audience.
Symposium I: Policy Imperatives for Later Life Work
It is very exciting to have scholars presenting on issues surrounding work and aging and gratifying to see this much attention devoted to work and occupation as people age at CAG. As a broad gerontological topic, work and aging is particularly relevant and timely as the large cohort of baby boomers approach later life and gain their own perspective on being mature and experienced workers.
Posted by suzanne on May 25, 2016
This trend is occurring for many reasons. Some people cannot afford to retire. They need to pay bills. They need to be gainfully employed past traditional retirement age. They have not saved enough to retire. They are in debt. In other words, they cannot retire and live on a fixed income.
CBC Radio’s The Current highlighted the challenges of some of these individuals. Listen to the podcast.
Other people want to continue working. They gain a great deal from their paid work. For example, work provides self worth and self-esteem, mental stimulation, physical activity and social relationships. Some of these individuals might have retirement savings, so income generation is viewed as a benefit but it is not the primary motivation. They might be professionals who are highly educated. They believe they have more to contribute; they are not ready to retire.
When I started conducting the Redirection Project and investigating later life career development, career shift and career extension, I recognized that there is a dichotomy among older workers. Some must work; some want to work. It is great to hear from older adults about their diverse experiences (and the surveys are still available for participation). Both of these experiences are important to understand; hence, I developed the on-line surveys to reflect both sets of circumstances. The fact is that socio-economic circumstances have changed a great deal since the retirement system was developed.
Indeed, paid work during later life is important. Paid work represents many things to individuals. Motivations for later life paid work are complex. This new trend is a big shift from the previous model of retirement. It is a big shift within workplaces as well. Policy to address this social change must be carefully handed.
This is why the qualitative and quantitative datasets collected through the Redirection Project are critical for gaining a better understanding of later life career development and employment experiences and informing social policy, organizational programs and career development practice. For more information about the Redirection Project, please visit www.MyRedirection.com.
Posted by suzanne on Feb 17, 2016
The Broadbent Institute report ‘An analysis of the economic circumstances of Canadian seniors‘ is a call to action on pension and retirement issues. This report discusses many challenges with the current system of retirement and pension plans.
The report further explains that many Canadians are at risk of living in poverty during later life. Changes to CPP/QPP, OAS and GIS can provide assistance.
Individuals age 50 and older can choose retirement or they can redirect and transfer their skills, experience and knowledge into a new occupation or career. For more information, please visit: www.MyRedirection.com.
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 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 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 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.
Posted by suzanne on Oct 30, 2012
Stories are how we make and find meaning in the world. Lives are understood through and shaped by stories. We recognize our own stories within the stories of others.
Stories are powerful for both the individuals telling them and for those hearing the story; the personal connection goes both ways. This is evident when you listen to a live reading of a book or hear a really good storyteller recounting a tale. The passion of the storyteller is evident and everyone present is moved and becomes a part of the story.
In our society, some individuals, like journalists, are excellent at finding the story and honing it to convey meaning. Storytelling is so powerful that it is often used to sell products. However, storytelling isn’t just used in the media and in advertising. There is a growing interest in therapeutic medicine and the use of story, with medical narrative becoming more popular as a way of listening to patients and understanding them. This helps medical professionals to absorb and interpret patients’ stories so they can treat the whole person, not just the illness.
Story is also critical within qualitative research. As a researcher, storytelling and narrative are important to me. I like to hear people’s stories and understand their experiences, thoughts and feelings. This phenomenological way of understanding my participants’ experiences and their perspective on issues is very real and vivid for me. People and their lives are beautiful and it is a privilege to be able to listen to people’s incredible stories. In my qualitative research, I try to honour their lives and experiences. I recognize that they have taught me a great deal just by sharing their stories.
Stories have drawbacks within research. They don’t convey the larger context and this can be limiting when trying to understand something. This is why I use a mixed methods approach in my research, combining qualitative and quantitative inquiry.
Nevertheless, I believe that stories will become increasingly important. Stories both engage and connect people. As we deal with new realities and social challenges and embrace the Age of Elderhood, we need to listen more closely to each other’s stories. By valuing and respecting each other, we can work towards common goals. All of this will help us become Age Ready as we create a space for healthy aging.