1. Will boomers/seniors become more active, creative and productive in their pre-retirement or retirement life OR will they be ‘put out to pasture’ before their time?
2. Will boomers/seniors share their ‘Crown of Life’ with the rest of society or will their dream die inside them with no voice to express themselves?
It was seniors week in the province of Alberta, Canada June 2-8 and the theme was “Seniors Rock.” That theme echoed all over the Edmonton, Alberta area with music, song dance, theater performances, tale telling, poetry reading and all sorts of activities, driven largely by organizations (Arts community) for senior citizens.
CREATIVE AGE FESTIVAL
The chairman of this years Creative Age Festival is Alice Major, Edmonton’s first Poet Laureate (2005-2007).
“Art is really important, it’s been an important part of my life,” she explained. but art for ALL of us is also “about staying healthy, exercising our creativity,” and staying creative is as important as staying physically active.
There’s no limit to creativity, Major suggested. “My favorite story is of Mary T. McDonald, who published her first novel at 83.”
IDEA FOR CREATIVE AGE FESTIVAL EXPANSION
Personally speaking, I also started in the category of ‘Liberal Arts’ by self-publishing a non-fiction self-help book for seniors 50 plus.
A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to discuss with our previous Mayor, Stephen Mandel the possibility of adding a ‘small business theme’ to the Creative Age Festival; because the field of entrepreneurship and small business ownership can also be a creative event for the benefit of seniors 50 plus. Mayor Mandel suggested that we could add a “business symposium” that would go beyond the current focus on the ARTS. To date nothing has changed to get more recognition for the late blooming senior entrepreneurs and small business owners. I believe that this is one of the reasons why many men 50 plus don’t participate in these pre-retirement or retirement activities. Even though I benefited from the field of ‘Liberal Arts’ other men are more interested in science, engineering, teaching, entrepreneurship and small business ownership versus the Arts.
LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST
On June 19/14 I attended a ‘Special Event’ put on by the Minerva Senior Studies Institute in Edmonton, Alberta. The title of this presentation given by Dr. Jane Simington, PhD. and owner of Taking Flight International corporation. The topic was Health & Wellness and living a meaningful & purposeful life.
Similar to the Creative Age Festival I mentioned above there wasn’t a balance between the 50+ women and 50+ men attending this session.I estimated the attendees to be 90% Women and 10% Men. Again we find that the men in general are being isolated, made unimportant and socially discountable. It’s a well know fact that women bond together easier and usually have the social skills in terms of networking and meeting other like-minded people. Proper communication and the skill of asking questions is very important if you plan to startup a small business later in life.
Question- What is living life to the fullest?
Dr. Jan Simington says that “It is about living a life that is meaningful and purposeful AND it is about living a life in which one can feel hope and joy.”
SENIOR ENTREPRENEURS NEED MENTORS, TOO
Jeremy O’Krafka, a professor with the entrepreneurship and small business programs at Toronto’s Seneca College and founder of MENTOR network CA says that in Canada small business owners, contribute more than 30 per cent of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).
Low startup costs, social media and options like crowd funding also mean it’s, “never been easier to start a business,” Jeremy said.
The bigger challenge is finding something that’s viable and being willing to take a risk- because there’s still a very high failure rate for entrepreneurs and startups in general.
“Once you’re actually up and running a business to have somebody to give you that 10,000- foot view of what you’re going through can make all the difference in the world,” O’Krafka said.
Working with mentors also means being held accountable, he added.
RETIREMENT IS CHANGING
Today’s boomers and seniors can expect their retirement to be different from their parents.
Jacquie Eales, a University of Alberta (Edmonton) researcher and co-author of a report on the costs and contribution of older adults in society said that, “Retirement today is more of a process than a fixed event, in which people move in and out of the labour force.”
While some may work fewer hours a week, others will work on and off, or go in and out of the labour force for a few years beyound “normal” retirement. Still others will find Encore careers or possibly own a small business after retiring because they enjoy work and miss the social and intellectual rewards of the workplace.
WHAT IF QUESTION?
What if potential 50+ entrepreneurs or small business owners were finally recognized for their skills, knowledge, resources and experience experience, what is your idea for a ‘gathering place’ in your own community where the 50+ Group could get together physically and be able to collaborate with other like minded Boomers/Seniors 50 Plus?
This would necessarily empower the boomers/seniors and be able to guide them ‘hands-on’ to suitable resources and people for developing their own project. At the same time seniors will be in a better position to self-discover their own real possiblities and hopefully, this will be enough to share their ‘Crown of Life’ with their own families and with the rest of Society.