Posted by suzanne on Nov 25, 2020
Individuals anticipate retirement and envision it as a time for leisure and recreation, travelling and an opportunity to do many things that they have put off. However, once retired, they realize that they are longing for the structure, sense of purpose, and fulfillment of a career.
Or they feel like something is missing from their lives. Perhaps they feel not busy and not useful or not productive enough.
Sometimes something happens to make you stop and think.
Right now during the pandemic, you have the gift of time and space to focus on yourself and your redirection. It is an opportunity to ponder the next chapter and next steps.
Use your creativity and out-of-box thinking about opportunities that you would enjoy and find fulfilling. Talk to important loved ones – family and friends – in your social circle and share what you are thinking.
New ideas, new directions – your redirection – can come from the spark of an idea that you discover during this unique time in human history.
Once you have found your redirection, take the time needed to map out and plan it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your redirection.
Posted by suzanne on May 11, 2020
Canada cares. Volunteering and donating are foundational activities in our country. We get involved and support others. We inspire each other when we work together towards important community goals.
And it’s never too late to make a difference. In fact, John Hillman, a 101-year-old Second World War veteran, is walking 101 laps around his retirement home in Victoria, British Columbia in order to raise money for charity.
Hillman was inspired by Captain Tom Moore in the UK. Captain Tom completed 100 laps and raised an incredible £23m.
In turn, Hillman is inspiring others and making a difference in his community — at age 101.
What does Hillman inspire you to do?
Posted by suzanne on Nov 24, 2019
When we think about health in later life, much attention is on illness and chronic conditions. Research has often focused on illness and disease in later life, overemphasizing this as part of aging when it is possible for individuals to manage health issues and maintain a positive perspective on aging.
Older adults are healthier than in previous generations. In addition, life expectancy has increased significantly over the past 100 years. In the past, people would not live into their 60s, 70s or 80s. For example, my grandfather passed away just shy of his 100th birthday.
Many factors influence longevity. Research has discovered protective genes and environmental factors that influence life expectancy and longevity.
People continue to live with chronic health conditions such as diabetes. Individuals can manage different health issues while continuing to work, volunteer and provide caregiving to others. These activities are meaningful to individuals, families, communities and society in general. Fulfilling and satisfying activities provide broad health benefits such as belonging, social interaction and a sense of purpose. All of this contributes to mental health while keeping individuals connected to their communities.
More research should examine these protective health factors during later life rather than focusing solely on the health issues and risks.
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 Feb 1, 2017
Older adults are continuing to work into their later years. They work for meaning, purpose, engagement, stimulation…and a paycheque.
Some individuals retire, then decide it is time to go back to work.
This is a beautiful video telling the story of one woman who retired, then decided to keep working into her later years.
Mature and experienced workers have a lot to offer. It is challenging and rewarding to redirect into new occupational pursuits.
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 Jul 15, 2014
‘Young and older together.’ This was a mantra of Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Grey Panthers in the United States. Maggie was ahead of her time in recognizing aging as an issue and redefining what aging means in society.
As human beings, we need strong bonds and connections to individuals of all ages. It is up to all of us to cultivate these interactions and relationships so we can reap the many rewards. Individuals and communities benefit from intergenerational experiences.
Recently, I was quoted in the Grey Bruce Kids magazine about intergenerational interaction. Kristen B. Dyer, the author, encourages children and their parents to seek out or create intergenerational opportunities. Please check out the article “Intergenerational Bridges’ in the June issue.
Catch the joy of intergenerational interaction!
Posted by suzanne on May 8, 2014
Reading a recent Toronto Star article, I was quite moved by the story about the death of an incredible 21-year old university student named Kristina, who was studying nursing. Kristina donated her organs to help save the lives of five people. One of them, Susan Vieira, a 64-year old retired nurse, received Kristina’s heart. When she found out about Kristina, she decided to go through Kristina’s bucket list, checking off items on her behalf.
To me, this speaks of intergenerational relationships and the natural connection and affinity between young and old. Youth and older adults have so much in common. As Susan and Kristina’s story demonstrates, even in death there is a strong mutual bond. Moreover, we inspire each other. Susan, an adventurous woman, continues living life to the fullest so that Kristina’s vitality, exuberance and zest for life lives on.
Intergenerational relationships refer to social interaction between different generations – connections between individuals of different ages. In the community, the focus is often on relationships where the individuals are not related to each other; hence, beyond the intergenerational connection that occurs in families between grandparents and their grandchildren.
Our society has a tendency towards age-segregation, rather than promoting intergenerational interaction and connection and the strengthening of these bonds. Children go to age-graded schools, adults go to their places of work and older adults have seniors’ centres, seniors’ programs, seniors’ housing and…well you get the picture.
Even within families, intergenerational interaction has decreased due to social changes from employment mobility and shifting family structure. Programs that consciously engage the generations and act to connect them go against the norm of segregation.
In my work, I actively promote intergenerational interaction and have seen the results first hand. I teach a Sociology of Aging class at York University and have consciously cultivated opportunities for intergenerational connection. This has been rewarding for everyone involved.
There are more community programs being developed for the purpose of stimulating intergeneration interaction, such as Cyber Seniors and The Creative Space. In Canada, i2i promotes an intergenerational society. Community is strengthened when the generations come together. There is still much work to be done to help us realize the untapped potential of intergenerational bonds and connection.
Together, we are stronger – we can work towards our goals and reach our vision of a Canadian society for all ages.
Posted by suzanne on Apr 2, 2014
Our lives are most meaningful in the ways we touch the lives of others. This is the great beauty of life and what provides the deepest meaning and fulfillment.
When we are of an age, how will we continue to associate, interact and engage with others? As we age, some of the best moments are when we are in the company of those who are of a different age. Yet, lives are often lived separately; we segregate the generations to different domains, spheres and social structures. When we separate the ages in our society, we make this special interaction more difficult to achieve.
It is difficult to find suitable language to describe those who are older but are also young at heart. They are seniors and elders in comparison to my age. But I don’t perceive them with the connotation that the word ‘old’ describes. When I get to know them as individuals, their age disappears. In fact, when the generations interact and intermingle, we realize we have much in common after all; any differences evaporate through caring, loving and laughing together.
It is wonderful to see the young inspire the old and the old inspire the young. This is what can be achieved through intergenerational interaction.
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.