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 Nov 5, 2017
People sometimes ask me, “Are there ways to enhance motivation?” It can be difficult to keep trying to find new work opportunities or your ‘redirection’ when there are significant barriers and obstacles in the way.
It is important to find ways to motivate yourself to reach toward your goals and objectives. What are the best ways to enhance motivation?
Here are six tips:
- Set your Ikigai. Ikigai is pronounced ‘ee-kee-guy’ and is your reason for being, or your reason to get up in the morning. This is a Japanese term that I learned after reading Neil Pasricha’s book The Happiness Equation. An Ikigai is like the ‘la raison d’être’ in French. Write out your Ikigai. Put it where you can see it first thing every morning.
- Set small, measurable goals or objectives. Write them down. Then, track your progress on a weekly basis.
- Choose a mantra. Use a mantra, motto or quote that connects to your goals and speaks to you. The mantra can motivate and help spur change. It points to where you are going. Pick a mantra that makes you want to reach your goals and keep moving forward.
- Select a touchstone, an image to ground and inspire you. Choose a visual image or object that makes you want to keep striving towards your goals.
- A social network can be a good source of support and encouragement. Share your goals with your family and closest friends, or more publicly with colleagues, friends, neighbours and your broader social circle or network.
- Get out and spend time everyday with nature. This regularly creates reflective time in your life to help you design, review and evaluate goals and to think about your objectives.
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 May 4, 2017
People share with me that they want to continue to be active and engaged in the community. They want to create a retirement lifestyle that they can enjoy for the next few decades. They envision and anticipate spending time in volunteer or paid work roles, engaged in travel or pursuing leisure and recreation activities during their retirement. Some individuals expect to accomplish all of the above, which is wonderful.
Being active and engaged requires good energy to start the day.
With active living, it is especially important to select foods that are healthy and nutritious. In addition, individuals want to take better care of themselves.
Which foods provide good nutrition? After discussing nutrition and diet with my colleague Sandra Crowe, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, we decided to create a joint video blog about healthy breakfasts that individuals can choose for an energetic day. This will assist people who are eager for knowledge and information conducive to an active lifestyle and increased healthspan.
View the video to learn more about the ways to emphasize high protein and low carb healthy breakfast options.
It is important to have enough energy for the day. It all starts with a healthy breakfast.
You can sign up for Sandra’s blog at http://www.fitkitchendiva.com
Posted by suzanne on Apr 30, 2017
Thanks to our aging population, increasing numbers of people are reaching mid-life. They have made it to a certain age and realize they need step it up a bit to maintain their health. Some decide they need to work harder in order to become healthier.
In fact, people are paying more attention to the benefits of healthier, more active lifestyles across the lifespan. It is possible to improve health by working at it. The objective is for people to have not only increased lifespans, but increased healthspans. The approach of using the seven dimensions of active aging can help.
The seven dimensions of active aging is a model for health and wellness. I often share this model when people are interested in learning more about health, wellness and aging and want to understand how to live fuller, healthier lives. This model helps people to design a rich, well-rounded lifestyle and set goals for health and wellness.
The seven dimensions of active aging are the key areas to be aware of for healthy aging in order to improve the quality of life as individuals age. The seven dimensions of health and wellness are:
- Cognitive – brain health
- Physical – body fitness and sexuality
- Psychological – emotional health
- Social – relationships and social connections
- Spiritual – divine, psychic and transcendent
- Occupational – vocation, work and calling
- Environmental – the natural and build world
With this holistic approach to health and wellness, these dimensions are interconnected to create the whole person and their life. Being active and engaged helps individuals by stimulating at least one, and often, many of these dimensions. It is important to live a balanced lifestyle so that each of these dimensions are developed or stimulated. This is what individuals strive to achieve.
The Canadian population is aging and there are more older adults than previously. People are also living longer today than ever before. They want to live longer and healthier lives. They want to maintain or even improve their health and are paying more attention to health and wellness in order to achieve health-related goals and objectives. Healthspan is very important. The seven dimensions provide a broad perspective of the best ways to think about health and wellness. In addition, the dimensions indicate the areas for improvement in order to live healthier, more satisfying lives.
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 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 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 Nov 28, 2014
Volunteers have a highly valued role in society. Volunteer efforts are very important from coast, to coast, to coast. This is because they help keep communities, non-profit organizations and charities going.
Volunteering is a great way to stay active and also to contribute and give back to the community. It is socially and mentally stimulating and is good for aging well.
I am always pleased to hear about the ways that older adults volunteer in the community, especially the length of time they have been volunteers and the different volunteer roles they hold.
I recently wrote a short piece about volunteering that appears in the Fall/Winter edition of Revera Living Magazine. Please read it here.
Posted by suzanne on Aug 3, 2014
This August, it is timely to recognize leading-edge American social activist Maggie Kuhn for her work in the field of aging. August 3rd marks the 109th year since her birth. Maggie was a champion of aging and the later years. She founded the Gray Panthers in August 1970.
Maggie’s work is notable not only because she was ahead of her time with her vision. She also broke stereotypes and, at age 65, embarked on the most important work of her life. In fact, rather than accept being pushed into a quiet retirement by her employer and societal pressure, she chose to take action and work for the rights of older people. After being forced into retirement from the Presbyterian Church, Maggie, along with her friends who found themselves in similar circumstances, organized and founded the group that became the Gray Panthers. The organization focused on the issues of older people including pensions and pension rights, health care and age discrimination. Gray Panthers also addressed the larger social issues of the time such as the Vietnam War.
“By the year 2020, the year of perfect vision, the old will outnumber the young.”
Maggie was a charismatic and energetic leader. She advocated for older adults to have a voice and the opportunity to provide input into programs, practice and social policy. She encouraged older adults to stay involved and take action on social issues. In doing so, she started a cultural revolution.
Maggie also believed in the power of intergenerational connection. One of her mantras was ‘Young and old together’. Under her guidance, Gray Pantners came to represent the possibility and power of later life and to stand for social and economic justice and peace for all ages. The organization’s motto is ‘Age and Youth in Action’ very much echoing Maggie’s sentiments. Maggie herself demonstrated how older adults can be active in the world, working for social issues that are important to them.
“Learning and sex until rigor mortis.”
Until her death at age 89, Maggie continued her work as an activist and advocate. She redefined aging and is a role model to all of us – women and men, young and old alike.
“There must be a goal at every stage of life! There must be a goal!”
Maggie Kuhn was a visionary leader. She inspired many people to view aging differently. She left an incredible legacy. Unfortunately, ageism, discrimination and lack of intergenerational connection continue to be issues that require attention in our society. These are barriers to a cultural revolution that would shift our society from a youth-oriented culture to a society for all ages. In our aging society, we need more people like Maggie to help move the cultural revolution forward.