Posted by suzanne on Jun 7, 2021
It is exciting to share that a new workshop series is beginning June 8th, 2021. The series is entitled Pandemic Recovery Series Conquering Ageism in Employment and is hosted by the Bayview Cummer Neighbourhood Association (BCNA). It will assist mature workers who are looking for work and seeking a meaningful challenge.
Career Coach Ann Marie Gilroy and I are co-leading the series. It runs June 8th, 15th, and 22nd. It is free to attend.
Pre-register through this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAsdemsrD8oHNfyC0GO44V5lklKB7mrRZTB
For more information visit: http://www.suzannecook.ca/workshops/
Category: Active Engagement, Aging, Aging Population, Aging Workforce, Business, Career, Economic Issues, Health and Wellness, Intergenerational, Lifelong Learning, Longevity, New Retirement, Redirection, Relationships, Social Participation, Social Policy, The Redirection Project, Vital Engagement, Work
Dedicated Volunteer, Sadly Let Go
Posted by suzanne on Dec 3, 2020
This week, I listened with great interest to the story of Izzy McQueen, an 88-year-old dedicated Santa’s helper in BC.
Thirty-five years of volunteer service! What an achievement! Congratulations for your commitment to sending out thoughtful and compassionate letters to children.
What a shock to be let go from meaningful community work; and with a voice message!
I am impressed with Izzy McQueen’s work and her experiences as a Santa elf. What a dynamo! She thought she could do it, and she did! The postal service should have given her ‘grand’ recognition for her tireless work as a dedicated volunteer to children and adults alike, in Canada and around the world.
Thanks to Daybreak Kamloops with Shelley Joyce for covering this story on Dec 1st, 2020.
Category: Active Engagement, Health and Wellness, Intergenerational, Life and Living, Longevity, Redirection, Social Participation, Vital Engagement
Extension of Working Life
Posted by suzanne on May 25, 2016
People are working during later life. This is a new social trend and it is occurring as the Baby Boomers enter their later years. Recent surveys and polls all point to this shift in Canada.
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.
Category: Aging, Aging Population, Aging Workforce, Career, Economic Issues, Longevity, New Retirement, Research, The Redirection Project, Work
Posted by suzanne on May 21, 2013
In my work, I meet seniors regularly, and recently, on separate occasions, I had the privilege of speaking with a 100-year-old woman, a 95-year-old man and a 74-year-old man.
I like speaking with seniors and elders. Our conversations are refreshing and invigorating. The discussion is engaging and stimulating. It is a great joy to speak to interesting individuals with so much to share.
From these conversations, I am reminded that one key to healthy aging is connection. Whether you are an energetic senior or elder or a more frail one, it is important to find the opportunity for connection.
In fact, this is true for human beings across the life course from cradle to grave. I am quite aware that I gain as much from these conversations as the seniors and elders do themselves.
We are social and life is about connection and relationships. It is important that we remind ourselves of this often during our busy lives.
Give your loved ones a squeeze and smile broadly at everyone you meet today – both young and old.
Category: Aging, Health and Wellness, Intergenerational, Longevity, Relationships
Grandparenthood – Part Two
Posted by suzanne on Dec 21, 2012
Canadians love to read. As I head out to the bookstore to pick up some Christmas gifts, I am reminded of this. We are a country of readers and should all be born with a library card in our pocket.
As parents, we instil a love of reading in our kids and teach them to read at an early age. As grandparents, we really enjoy reading to our grandchildren. Reading brings immense joy. What could be more delightful than to sit with a child on your lap, cuddling as you read an adventure or look at a picture book together? Moreover, this is a wonderful way to stimulate a young mind because sitting together and reading is foundational for child development during the early years.
I have been on the lookout for children’s stories that portray wonderful family relationships that are intergenerational, especially books that have images of vivid, engaging grandparents. I have collected some real treasures. Here are a few of the favourites from my shelf:
- The Bye-Bye Pie by Sharon Jennings, illustrated by Ruth Ohi
- Bigbeard’s Hook: Nathaniel McDaniel and the Magic Attic by Evan Solomon, illustrated by Bill Slavin
- Night Noises by Mem Fox and illustrated by Terry Denton
- Someday by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds
I expect to see more books that provide positive images of seniors on library and bookstore shelves. As the population ages, books like the ones above will be written and published to meet the demand for good intergenerational stories. If you have some books to add to this list, I’d enjoy hearing about them.
Have a wonderful holiday. Happy reading to all!
P.S. Dear Readers - To the above list, I am adding:
- A Little Something: A Story about Love and Legacies by Susan V. Bosak, illustrated by Laurie McGaw, and
- Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes by Susan V. Bosak
Category: Aging, Intergenerational, Lifelong Learning, Longevity, Relationships
Storytelling and Narrative
Posted by suzanne on Oct 30, 2012
Storytelling and narrative are powerful methods of communicating ideas and experiences. As human beings, we are immersed in stories.
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.