Posted by suzanne on Apr 12, 2017
There is a realignment of work and retirement in society as the population ages. It is a growing trend. Older adults are continuing to work past traditional retirement age.
CBC’s The National followed a couple of Canadians as they reflected on their decision to keep working into their later years. They found work opportunities for their ‘next act’ that help generate an income and maintain their lifestyle. Furthermore, their work is personally fulfilling and meaningful to their community.
Benefits go beyond the paycheque; working keeps people active and engaged. It was also nice to hear another perspective on the benefits of hiring mature workers.
I coined the term redirection to refer to the new stage of career as people transition into new pursuits and occupation to stay engaged and continue to work. Redirection is an alternative to retirement. It is an exciting time of life. New possibilities are investigated and explored. Older adults discover that their skills and competencies are transferable. My new documentary film explores five people’s experiences with redirection.
CBC News discusses the trend towards delayed retirement. Provinces like Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are already rethinking and implementing policy to address this new trend.
It is time to rethink government policy to consider the ways people are and can work longer and what this means for social structures and institutions in Canada.
Category: Active Engagement, Aging Population, Aging Workforce, Career, Economic Issues, Family, Health and Wellness, Intergenerational, Life and Living, Longevity, New Retirement, Relationships, Social Policy, The Redirection Project, Work
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 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 Jan 31, 2016
It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to focus on Canada’s aging workforce at the recent symposium devoted to this topic. In fact, since presenting at CEDEC‘s Maturing Workforce Symposium held at Cannexus16 a few days ago, I have continued to reflect on some critical issues.
The aging population equates to an aging labour force and this has implications at the individual, organizational and societal level. These complex issues demand employer policy as well as social policy to help address them.
Life spans have increased and individuals are responsible for saving more for their retirement at the same time that financial markets and investment returns are shaky. It is no wonder various polls report that more people expect to continue working past traditional retirement age.
Mature or older workers have different goals and needs than younger age groups. They want flexibility from employers. They need career pathways that help them meet specific objectives.
Both the way we work and the linear career path of the past have changed. This collides with our intergenerational workplace and makes it urgent that employers create new programs and policies to facilitate talent management, training and development and career progression.
Later life career development is new terrain in the work-life landscape. Navigating job change and moving into mentorship roles are difficult tasks. In addition, succession planning and knowledge transfer need to be mapped out. Businesses and organizations are trying to identify and understand what this means in their workplace.
With these powerful demographic and economic forces, we are undergoing a major social and cultural shift surrounding later life work and retirement. We are in a revolutionary transition and social policy is required to help guide and manage this significant change that will affect established social structures in Canada. New evidence-based policies and programs are required.
Finally, these issues are complex. Collaboration and partnership are required to navigate this emerging later life landscape.
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 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.
Posted by suzanne on Jun 12, 2014
June is Seniors’ Month. In fact, the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat explains that this year’s theme is ‘Aging Without Boundaries’ as we mark 30 years of celebrating seniors. It is amazing to see, highlight and recognize the contributions that older adults make to their communities everyday. It is important to acknowledge their achievements and to support their work.
However, the image and concept of ‘senior’ no longer fits today’s older adults. Older adults might not want to be associated with the term ‘senior’ because they believe it really does not reflect them. Negative images predominate and overshadow any positive potential images. Older adults do not want to be labelled and viewed with the negative connotations associated with the term ‘senior’.
This is an issue that needs attention. To truly celebrate older adults, we need new language and new ways to discuss and honour later life and aging. This is one reason why I am producing a documentary film about healthy aging. With this film, more diverse images and positive role models of later life can be shared.
Moreover, as the population ages, it is about more than having a longer lifespan. It is critical to have a longer ‘healthspan’. It is about finding ways to foster adding more life to the gift of years individuals are blessed with. This is why healthy aging is important.
Posted by suzanne on Mar 14, 2014
My scholarly article entitled Redirection was recently published in The Gerontologist. In this paper, I discuss the sociological and psychological process of later life career development as an individual enters a new career stage. To date, this has received little attention in the career development field.
Retirement is changing. There is great knowledge, skill and experience that older adults can transfer into new roles. I predict that organizations and communities will begin to recognize this.
The fact is that more people will reach this life stage as life expectancy continues to increase. More individuals will be looking for the next challenge.
What is your next challenge?
Posted by suzanne on Feb 21, 2013
Retirement has changed.
While images of the ‘ideal’ retirement abound that are vivid and compelling, in reality, we each have our own idea of retirement. More often, we are rejecting the old images. Clearly, things have changed. Now we have the ‘new retirement’.
Wherever I go, people are talking about retirement and the second half of life; however, there is little opportunity to facilitate, cultivate and design the new retirement. I hope to change this.
In my work with Generation X, Baby Boomers and seniors, individuals are sharing their image of retirement with me. Through what I am calling the New Retirement Project, I will be sharing some images of the new retirement that people have drawn or mapped out as they consider and contemplate their retirement. I will be sharing these images through social media.
Stay tuned, dear Readers!