CARP Leadership Is Under Review

INTRODUCTION

Should CARP (Canadian Association Of Retired Persons) leadership be under review? I personally think YES it should be reviewed, hopefully by the membership of CARP. It was found in a recent AARP (American Association Of Retired Persons) survey that many individuals 50+ want to or will need to work after retirement.  The survey says that 80 per cent of the baby boom generation intends to continue working after retirement.

POST-RETIREMENT CAREERS CONFUSION

What does this mean for seniors organizations like CARP in Canada or AARP in the USA?  What will they need to do to meet the different expectations of the new 50+ demographic?  In order to cover as much ground as possible at least three questions need to be asked to prepare seniors 50+ for their second or third act in their pre-retirement or retirement life.

1. What jobs will be available and will these jobs be challenging or meaningful enough for the 50+ Group?

2. Do you begin your own small business as a for-profit business senior entrepreneur?

3. Do you give back through community service and participate in a non-profit Encore career as a social entrepreneur?

CARP ADVOCACY

a) History- In 1984 the late Murray Morganthau launched CARP, with a mission to advance the quality of life for Canadians as we age, with financial security, good health and freedom from age-discrimination as guiding Principles.

When Lillian and Murray reached their 80’s they began looking for someone to take over the helm of CARP.

In 2008, they approached Moses Znaimer, one of Canada’s foremost media innovators.  Moses accepted the challenge and turned his talents and energy into leading CARP as it’s new President, coining the phrase A New Vision of Aging for Canada.

Around the same time, Moses started acquiring ‘media assets’- radio, internet, magazine and television stations under the brand Zoomer Media.

Zoomer Media is a very important partner in CARP’s growth and success, providing access to a suite of media that help to build awareness and engagement with Zoomers (Boomers with Zip) throughout Canada.

b) Advocacy- Susan Eng is Vice-President for advocacy at CARP.  Under Susan’s leadership, CARP Advocacy has shaped the public discourse on key issues such as pension reform, investor protection, mandatory retirement, workplace age discrimination, home care and age friendly cities. Susan’s initiatives are outlined in CARP Action Online, an e-newsletter distributed twice monthly to 95,000 opt in subscribers and on http://www.carp.ca.

A major accomplishment was a successful campaign for the elimination of mandatory retirement in federally regulated industries removed the final major piece of legislated age discrimination, effective December 2012.  But older workers still face barriers in keeping the jobs they have, in getting new ones, or returning to the workforce after leaving it to care for loved ones or to recover from the devastation of their savings in the recent market downturn.

AGING BOOMERS/ELDERS

Sometimes during 2014 ALL Boomers will be at least 50 years old.  Traditionally, this is the age where many employers begin to analyze when they should act to put some of their older employees ‘out to pasture’.  At the same time, policy-makers have finally started to realize our need to prepare for the ramifications of the boomer bulge’s massive collective move toward the exit.  They’re justifiably concerned about our capacity to absorb the fallout, the spikes in health-care costs, the confounding logistics of general social support.

Janice Kennedy in Postmedia News in an article titled, ‘Ageism an affront to human dignity’ said, “When ageism seeps in, it robs that community of the enrichment that comes of appreciating what all people, irrespective of age, bring to the table.  But it really wouldn’t be that hard to eliminate.  Seniors themselves can start by challenging ageist slights every time they run into them”.

Everyone else?  Try looking beyond the physical signs of age to see a unique person. Appreciate what that person was, and is.  accept that not everyone over a certain age is the same, recognizing instead the diversity in interests, backgrounds, talents and abilities that transcends generational typecasting.

Likewise, try to understand that not every senior is hard of hearing, confused, a drain on the system, needy, crotchety—or even sweet, for that matter. Remind yourself that discrimination is discrimination, no matter how benign you may think it is.

OTHER POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR POST-RETIREMENT CAREERS

On Friday, May 2/14 I personally attended the CARP (Edmonton Branch) Annual Meeting. The guest speaker was Susan Eng, VP of CARP Advocacy.

Because of the presence of Susan Eng I expected some ‘big things’ to happen since I assumed that are own membership would be chomping at the bit to experience first hand Moses Znaimer’s ‘A NEW Vision of Aging for Canada’.

First of all, I was disappointed in the attendance numbers probably estimated to be under 50 people.  CARP Edmonton Chapter 13 region has more than 2,700 voices and there are more than 11,000 CARP member voices throughout the Province of Alberta in Canada.  Obviously, there is a dis-connect between the number of actual number of members and the activity level of the current membership.  The average age attending this meeting is probably estimated to be 70+.  Would this explain why there is such a strong CARP focus on the subjects of health care and pension entitlements/pension reform?

If CARP wants to become an advocate for the more active, creative and productive senior 50+ it will basically need to change from supporting the predominately older and more passive senior, to help those that are still in the game and want CARP to focus on some NEW subjects such as Financial Literacy, Financial Education, Lifelong Learning, Productive Longevity and Entrepreneurship & Small Business Startup Training for Seniors 50+. I know that this will be a difficult transition for many seniors and for CARP itself.  To provide some help in this area I have written a new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: their Time Has Come.

It was also mentioned in the CARP Edmonton Branch by Susan Eng that they intend to create and organize ‘job fairs’ across Canada for the 50+ demographic.  I think that this is a starting point and it could help some CARP members however; many seniors including myself will not be interested in ‘job fairs’  A very important new trend to notice is that most of today’s seniors are highly educated and highly skilled eg. Doctor’s, Lawyers, Engineers, Scientists, Professors, Teachers, Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners.  These people will demand more new opportunities that are suitable to their own lifestyles and finances, and go beyond just having ‘job fairs’ related opportunities.

I think that we will definitely need to expand the scope of the present CARP Advocacy to go beyond ‘job fairs’ and provide more challenging options for post-retirement careers.  I’m thinking about CARP possibly creating a new VP (Productive Longevity) position for Seniors 50 Plus. We also need government and private sources (foundations) to provide more time and resources and to give seniors more business support, and also some new opportunities for seniors to become eg. business and/or social entrepreneurs.  This will enable more seniors to enjoy a more meaningful and useful retirement life. At the same time seniors will continue to be productive in their retirement years and as a result, not seen as being primarily leaches of the Tax Payer funded Government entitlement programs.