The State of Senior Entrepreneurship in Canada

SEASONS GREETINGS

With another New Year starting today I’d like to wish all of my friends and readers of this blog a very Happy Holiday season and a prosperous 2015 New Year.

INTRODUCTION

I have mixed feelings regarding what I am going to write about today.  To date I have already written 36 only blog posts about senior entrepreneurs and seniors issues in Canada and for the most part there seems to be very little interest in this subject matter.  Maybe I’m getting way ahead of myself and I need to have more patience. On the other hand, I think that the Federal & Provincial governments in Canada see the potential of senior entrepreneurship and how this area could improve the quality of life of Canadian seniors; but at the same time this cohort is basically ignored.

As a result, it appears that many Canadians 50 plus have enormous health, education, lifelong learning, and ‘productive longevity’ challenges. If seniors are not provided with adequate training resources and facilities I’m afraid that this group will find it easier to be stuck in the past OR just work and play alone because nobody cares to help them go to a higher level and find some opportunities to give back to society.

Is there any light at the end of this dark tunnel? Remember the popular TV show Star Trek? Instead of being stuck in the past, the Captain of the space ship Enterprise, William Shatner now 83 years old has not quit because of ‘old age’ just being comfortable on his ‘pasture land’, contemplating his past accomplishments.  Instead, William Shatner, a speaker, author and a seniorpreneur (senior entrepreneur or small business owner) is presenly working on a “Catch Me Up” book project.

Shatner advises that seniors need to embrace new technology and accept new challenges at a later stage of life. Seniors have skills and life experience that they can leverage to achieve great things. But in order to do that, they have to ‘catch up’ to the technology of the day.

LIFE REIMAGINED- CARP & AARP

I believe that there is a huge differents in real activities to help seniors and specifically on the topic of ‘Life Reimagined’ between CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) and AARP (American Association of Real Possibilities).

I believe that CARP is basically stuck in the past preferring to focus on getting more entitlements (Health Care) and Pension reform for Canadians rather than discussing and creating new initiatives to help seniors in Canada who want to become more active, creative, productive and prosperous in their pre-retirement or retirement life.  I’m still waiting for the day that CARP will facilitate some workshops for those Canadians who need some more help to shift from a passive retirement to a more productive and meaningful retirement.

Life Reimagined was launched by AARP (American Association of Real Possibilities) in 2013. Life Reimagined is a first-of-its kind source of online and offline experiences that guide people through life transitions by helping them discover new possibilities and connect with a community of people pursuing similar passions and goals.

Life Reimagined online centers on an exclusive, customizable roadmap available at http://www.lifereimagined.org that helps people understand where they are in their journey to achieve their goals and dreams, reflect, and make decisions in planning their next steps.  It also includes a ‘Sounding Board’- a new kind of private social network for people to surround themselves with trusted friends and allies.  Through the ‘Sounding Board’ and other connection tools members of the Life Reimagined community help each by offering advice and support to help reach their goals both big and small.  Life Reimagined Institute for Innovation, is a world class group of thought leaders in the areas of life and career coaching, psychology, personal development, health and entrepreneurship.

Question- What is  Senior Entrepreneurship?

This is my particular area of focus, passion and interest. I think that the leader in this field is my good friend, Elizabeth Isele of Wasington, D.C. who is the Founder and President of Senior Entrepreneurship Works.  Senior Entrepreneurship Works was founded in January, 2012, the organization, designed to help seniors age 50+ launch their own businesses has transformed into a Movement. For Canada to be involved in this Movement it’s critical for both CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) and Startup Canada based in Ottawa, ON to adopt some of the Life Reimagined and Senior Entrepreneurship ideas and principles; in order for Canadian seniors to become more active and creative producing meaningful projects.

The Movement is comprised of individuals, organizations, corporations and governments from all corners of the world across sectors in unlikely coalitions creating systems to boost economic self-reliance, vitality and growth for individuals, communities and the world.

Elizabeth’s Senior Entrepreneurship Works is strategically focusing on four pillars to grow and sustain this Movement and amplify it’s impact:

1. Entrepreneurship Education & Training Programs

2. Access to Capital

3. Advocacy and Public Policy

4. Research

The End goal of senior entrepreneurship is changing the negative paradigm of aging to one of positive and creative social and economic opportunities by activating seniors’ wealth of experience, wisdom and resources. This will drive our new economy through their business startups, and boost prosperity for all ages; as they pour investment dollars back into their own communities.

CONCLUSION

Today, I strongly believe that Canada is a long way from having the right kind of public policy to promote the new trend of ‘productive longevity’.  As a result, I think that the State of ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’ in Canada is hopeful because of the developments in the USA, but within Canada itself not I think that it’s not very good.

FUTURE BLOG ARTICLES

I’d like to dream that everything is fine, however; I think that there has been very little or no progress regarding Canada’s role and responsibilities in promoting ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’ and Lifelong Learning for Seniors 50 plus.

January 1, 2015 is an important date.  It means that now we can say that EVERY Boomer/Elder is at least 50 years old.  I’s now more crtical than ever to have something in place before this huge 50+ cohort approaches retirement, with a strong possibility that many seniors will have nothing purposeful and/or meaningful to do. I hate to see seniors being unimportant, invisable, politically weak, socially discountable, and economically insignificant.

Myself, I’m going to take an unspecified amount of time (sabbatical) away from my present blogging activities to focus more on RESEARCH in the area of ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’ and find out how in Canada we can take this subject to a higher level.  I will be able to study what is happening in REAL time in different countries around the World.

For those friends, readers and the leadership community who want more information about my ‘Seniorpreneur Project’ I have the following references:

1. My new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come. (Available on Amazon.com)

http://www.amazon.com/Encore-Seniors-50-Entrepreneurs/dp/1493793608

2. My website- http://www.seniorpreneur.ca/

3. My Blog address- (37 Only Blog articles) https://seniorpreneur.wordpress.com

4. My Empire Avenue Site- http://www.tsu.co/seniorbiz

5. My e-mail address- joewasylyk@hotmail.com

Thanks for your interest.  If you want to leave any comments or any ideas about how we can expedite the 50+ entrepreneur movement in Canada please feel free to do so below.

Playing ‘Old Person’ On The Encore Stage

CAREER TRANSITIONS- QUESTION(S)

If your are a person in the 50+ demographic, are you ready to find your calling in life?

The transition from a long 30-35 years in the corporate life to a for-profit small business or a non-profit social enterprise is not an easy one; especially if your not in your young body anymore.

If your already standing at the side of the encore stage, what need in the world will ignite your passions in your heart, tap into your personal gifts and educational background, and bring new vitality to all?

Isn’t it time to think of seniors 50 plus as entrepreneurs or even active and productive encore career participants, and not the traditional image of seniors as primarily being unproductive and only concerned about entitlements.  So, where does this traditional negative image of seniors come from?

PLAYING ‘OLD PERSON’

An example of trying to define the traditional negative image of seniors is found in the book titled, ‘Enjoy Old Age’ written by authors, B.F. Skinner and M.E. Vaughn.  These authors explain that all the world’s a stage, and you are not the first to play the part of Old Person.  The audience has seen the play thousands of times and knows your lines better than you do.  The role you are expected to play is not flattering.  The Old Persons who have walked the boards before you have been crotchety, stingy, boastful, boring, demanding, and arrogant.  They have complained of their illnesses and many other things.  The audience expects such a performance and will not tolerate many changes. And just as an audience will laugh at everything a great comedian says, so it will interpret your slightest gesture as the skillful portrayal of a familiar, and usually unpleasant, character.

UNCHARTED COURSE- DRESS REHERSAL

The Reverend Sam Shafer, a parish priest living in Oakland, California stated three questions to help you find your calling in life.

1) Who am I? Distill what you have discovered about yourself during your life and uncover the attributes that have been elusive or buried for a long time.  It is also helpful if you are nobody but yourself in a world that is always trying to make you everybody else.  Fight one of the hardest battles a human being can fight……discover a new purpose in life that will require you to live more authentically.  Do not bend to the outside forces around you.

2) How do I function best?  How are you wired and in what circumstances do you perform best?  What natural talents and learned skills do you have to contribute?  You may have knowledge of your abilities, but other gifts may be waiting to be discovered.  You need to carefully assess your natural talents, favorite skills, and the fields of knowledge you have gravitated towards most of your life.  What have you been praised for doing well?  What experiences have you had that ignited a passion?

3) Why am I here? Take a leap of faith that you were put here for a purpose, that you have been given gifts you require to achieve your mission.  What is the place that you can provide the greatest good?  Finding that place may not be easy, clear, or concise because it is a work in progress.

A providential force beyond your control is always going before you and opening doors for you to walk through.  It may take two to three years of shedding old ways of thinking and then you will discover your heartfelt passions.  New pathways will become clear.  Remember that the journey is an integral part of the mission, and both the passionate heart and the needs of the world are constantly changing.

CURTAIN CALL

This is the most exciting time for most seniors 50 plus who want to become more active, creative and productive in their own pre-retirement or retirement life.  When your standing at the side of the encore stage think about people like Paul McCartney, 71 year old musician who tirelessly gives 3 hour performances at an unheard of number of new live concert appearances every year OR Susan Boyle, 50 years old who stood at the side of the encore stage in a Britain’s Got Talent appearance and boldly declared that “I’m going to rock this audience,” and she did putting on a stellar performance even though the crowd initially was laughing and snickering.

Cicero in the middle ages said that life is a play with a badly written last act. If this is not your particular fate you’ll need to find out HOW you can play the ‘old person’ in modern dress and more important to learn some new lines and a new stage business.

A GREAT PERFORMANCE

Again, B.F. Skinner in the book, Enjoy Old Age’ said that “when played with skill the part of ‘old person’ is marked by tranquility, wisdom, freedom, dignity, and a sense of humor.  Almost everyone would like to play it that way, but few have the courage to try.’

If only a few seniors have the courage to re-invent or re-educate themselves to have a  great performance, then I think we’ll need to create and set-up ‘special workshops’ to facilitate a new senior’s mindset; and then provide some hands-on mentoring in such a way that everyone who plays ‘old person’ will give a better performance.

Also, I think it’s important to say that all the seniors cannot be placed in the same box.  Every senior including myself are different as individuals.  Many seniors will need economic security since in Canada we still have 300,000 seniors struggling and living below the poverty line.  Seniors will need multiple sources of income to balance the present and future high cost of living that can be very challenging for most seniors trying to live on a fixed income.  I suggest that the Federal Government could seriously consider a ‘Guaranteed Annual Income’ which could act as an economic foundation for ALL seniors.  This development will allow seniors to get back on the encore stage, without having to worry about paying off the mortgage, paying the rent, or even having some extra money to play a round of golf, or possibly startup a small business or pursue an Encore Career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grandeur of Old Age

Harsh New Reality

In Vancouver, B.C. Canada, the YWCA is receiving 40 applications for every 12 spots in a new program designed for men and women over 55 who want to get back into the workforce.  The average age of participants is 62.

“We’ve had people who haven’t been able to pay their rent or are living at a relative’s or a friend’s couch,” YWCA career adviser Lynda McFee said. “There’s such a need out there with mature workers.”

Participants in the Job Options Older Workers Program may have retired a few years ago, but found they are going through their pensions too quickly, McFee said.  Others are not yet collecting their (CPP) Canada Pension Plan and are desperate for income.  Many have had health issues or stopped work to care for aging parents, and now face job hunting not only as senior, but also with a gap in employment,  Many are single, confused and don’t know what the future holds for them.  The golden age is not so golden after all for many seniors facing retirement hardships.

Gap In Employment

Personally speaking, I realized how important a gap in employment is to potential employers.  The average waiting time for seniors looking for part-time or full-time work is approaching 2 years and more.  My own unemployment lasted several years when eventually I became permanently unemployed with no hope of getting any kind of corporate job.  I was forced to create my own employment which led me to the Encore Stage of my Second Act.

Waiting For The Revolution To Come

David Hurdon is one of the growing number of Canadians who can’t wait, “I need to work,” he says.  Hurdon left his last full-time “formal” job as vice-president of retailing at winemaker Kittling Ridge at age 54.  That was 10 years ago, and since then he has been self-employed and never earned enough to set aside a retirement nest egg. 

When David heard about a job fair run by CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons)-a group representing older Canadians; that is specifically aimed at people trying to get back into the workforce.  David was optimistic about finding a good job.

Lisa Taylor says he has every right to be optimistic.  Taylor is president of The Challenge Factory and is an activist promoting a transformation of the Canadian workforce. “The concept of continuing to work in your sixties and seventies is a fairly new construct,” says Taylor after giving a pep talk to an audience of some 200 elders at the event.

Where Is The Beef? (Meaningful Jobs For Seniors 50 Plus)

The problem is that most of the jobs being offered to highly skilled mature workers right now just aren’t that attractive or meaningful.

About 600 people attended CARP’s elder job fair, billed as “work re-imagined,” for example.  But the jobs on offer were not the kinds of things the people were hoping for, said Lisa Taylor.  Lisa saw David Hurdon slumped in a chair looking discouraged; having been offered minimum-wage and volunteer jobs.  There was Mary Kay and Avon, and many less-well-known products to sell door to door or to friends.  There were franchises that required an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There were agencies like the Third Quarter trying to help you find jobs.  Angelina Hamangoda is a lawyer who has worked around the world.  Her last job before becoming unemployed was part-time at an after-school daycare, and she could find nothing at the CARP event.  “I feel very frustrated right now,” Angelina said at the CARP event. “I think all my education is down the drain.”

Open Message To CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons):

I think that there is hope and possible solutions to help the Canadian seniors 50+ transition to a comfortable pre-retirement or retirement life.  At the present time CARP’s strength is basically advocating for more entitlements from the Federal Government.  However; Canada and many other counties are shifting their resources to help seniors 50+ create their own job or small business.  Currently there is a 50+ entrepreneur movement happening around the World that promotes productive longevity vis-a-vis the present passive retirement, more closely related to a leisure retirement and sponging more entitlements from the government.

When we hear of stories such as David’s and Angelina’s given above you would think that alarm bells would be heard by large organizations such as CARP for example.  I personally think that we need a round table discussion group organized by CARP.  At the same time let’s have the seniors themselves create and organize local community coffee meetings which would provide real information from the grassroots.

I’m assuming that CARP is knowledgeable about what is going on in the USA  on this specific subject. Recently I listened to a live conference through the Internet based in Washington.  The US Senate Hearings were discussing the topic of ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’.  The partners that participated in these hearings were AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), S.C.O.R.E. (USA Retired Executives) providing mentor ship to potential entrepreneurs and small business owners, the SBA (Small Business Administration) and other ‘senior entrepreneurship’ experts.  There is an urgent need to discuss and implement ways to help seniors 50+ hands-on individually (not going to some useless job fair). Instead of the David’s and Angelina’s of Canada being frustrated and confused we need to develop some suitable community based programs, that would improve the quality of life for ALL seniors and necessarily make them more active, creative, productive and prosperous. The seniors deserve to have some meaningful and important work or even working as an entrepreneur or small business owner in their Second or Third act.

Seniors (50 Plus) Search For Meaning

INTRODUCTION

The dilemma is Seniors 50+ are anxious about retirement and having a healthier longer life, but at the same time they dread the possibility of not having a meaningful retirement life. Seniors need to ask themselves some questions such as Who are you, What do you know, What can you do and What resources do you have on hand to create something of value? Also, What is your present physical, mental and emotional health, and do you need to work on some aspects to help you be a more challenging person in your pre-retirement and retirement life.

Question- Many seniors want to know how is it possible to say yes to life in spite of the different challenges seniors face such as pain, guilt and death?  Can life retain its potential meaning in spite of everything?

MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING

The author, Viktor E. Frankl in his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, said that “life is potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those which are most miserable.  And this in turn presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive.”  Victor explains this by saying, “In other words, what matters is to make the best of any given situation “The best,” however, is that which in Latin is called ‘optimum’- hence in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at it’s best always allows for: (1) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; (2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and (3) deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action.”

Quotation: “Never live in hope and expectation with your arms folded”- Anonymous

CONQUER DEFEAT

At age 65, Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC) turned a setback into a victory.  The Colonel used the cooking skills he learned from his mother and later in life opened a little restaurant that failed when traffic was re-routed away from it.

He was 65, a senior citizen and he was broke.  This is when the Colonel sat on his front porch searching for his meaning of life when the mailman came up the steps and handed him an envelope.  It was from the U.S. Government and contained his first social security check in the amount of $105.  Staring at the check there was something surging within him that said, “My life isn’t over and I’m not going to sit in a rocking chair and take money from the Government.”  To make a long story short, the Colonel made Kentucky Fried Chicken become an almost instant success. Becoming an instant success was not part of the advice given to other 65- year olds.  He said that “If a child of God thinks right, if he is right, he will have the power to rise above any defeat and conquer it.”

RETIREMENT GROOVE FOR US MORTALS

Personally, I am still learning and I am also searching for the meaning of life.  On January 15, 2014 I attended a seminar presentation given by Alexis Leclair of Uptake Consulting who said that “Retirement has always been a huge life change.  Although we still call it by the same name, today’s retirement is different.  It’s longer. It’s healthier.  Options are diverse.  Our needs and expectations may not be the same as generations before us.” 

In essence, Alexis talks about the core subjects of needing to matter, finding meaning, valuing work, small business or an Encore career and managing retirement satisfaction and happiness.

Alexis summarizes her thoughts in the following paragraph:

Mattering, because most people have never heard about it but psychologists say it is critical to our happiness.  Meaning, because since dirt was invented, people-retired or not-have wanted to have it in their lives. Work, because it’s gotten a bad rap by media and society, and we need to see work in a different light.  Managing happiness (optimism and resiliency), because ours may have been eroded when our identity, our connections and more dwindled in retirement years.  All of the topics, information and strategies were chosen because many of us never learned about them from our parents or in our busy adult years.

FINDING MOTIVATION AFTER RETIREMENT

To stay on the theme of seniors search for meaning, I attended another seminar presentation on January 22, 2014.  The presenter was Carol Kodish-Butt, an Outreach Coordinator with (SEESA) South East Edmonton Seniors Association Activity Center.  Approx. 20 members attended this seminar.

Personally, I always thought that seniors have different values and expectations compared to others.  in most cases many seniors will need a ‘hands on’ learning approach in any given Lifelong learning session.  This presentation given by Carol was not a lecture standing in front of the room but it was an ‘in your face’ round table discussion where none of the seniors attending could escape or hide anywhere.  In a lecture presentation usually you have 1-3 questions asked at the END of the presentation, whereas; in Carol’s talk everyone was on the Encore stage by first introducing themselves and then EVERYONE contributing in the 90 minute ‘pressure cooker’ like session.

Instead of being isolated and ignored everyone experienced part of what Victor Frankl shared in Man’s Search For Meaning when he talked about pain, guilt and death eg. one senior in the group shared the fact that his spouse died recently.

In this particular presentation Carol introduced ways to: stay interested in your life when you’re no longer working in a corporate job; figure out what will make your retirement life more satisfying or make you happy; and answer the question- What to do when the dreaded “de-motivation” bug attacks?

De-Motivation, What De-Motivates You?

Briefly, we know that the biggest stigma most seniors have to confront is Ageism.  Even when legislation is in place to stop this practice there are still those forces in corporate life and personal life as well that refuse to give in to this human right for seniors.

Seniors also have the same opportunities to climb ‘Maslow’s’ Ladder i.e. going from the first step your basic needs (food, shelter, safety) through to self-esteem to the highest levels of knowledge and understanding.  At the top of the ladder are the lofty goals of transcendence and self-actualization.

Carol also outlined the possible reasons that can de-motivate you.  These are as follows:

*Fear- still do it.

*Wrong goals- essential vs social self vs self-acutalization.

*Lack of Clarity- try to vision a more meaningful retirement life.

*Value Conflict- prioritize your values.

*Lack of Autonomy- get control over your project(s).

*Lack of Challenge- not small or big just grow from where you are today & enjoy.

*Grief- take time to heal & retire creatively.

*Loneliness- Get more new connections replacing old work connections if needed.

*Burn-Out- Get complete rest & re-energise yourself to perform on Second Encore Act.

*Not Knowing What to Do Next- Breakdown your own situation into more manageable pieces.

Last Quotation:  I’d like to end this particular discussion by a quote from Viktor Fankl when he says, “Just as life remains potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those that are most miserable, so too does the value of each and every person stay with him or her, and it does so because it is based on the values that he or she has realized in the past, and is not contingent on the usefulness that he or she may or may not retain in the present.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PERSONAL NOTE- I’d like to hear from my readers if they have been helped through this Blog and what you have learned if anything in order for you to achieve a more active, creative, and productive retirement life?  Any comments will be very much appreciated.  Have the great retirement life that you deserve!  Thanks for Listening.

 

 

 

Lifelong Learning & the Local Public Library

ENTREPRENEURIAL PREPARATION

Lifelong Learning everyday is the key to pursuing an active, creative and productive life.  In preparation for becoming a senior entrepreneur and for successful aging it is very important to consider and study active brain activities.  Richard Restak, a neurologist said that, “aging can be thought of as the result throughout the body of a general wear-and-tear process.”

In all body organs except the brain, increased activity leads to more wear and tear and accelerated degeneration.  In the brain the principle of operation is unique.  Activation of nerve cells doesn’t lead to a general degeneration of function but, instead, to the maintenance of neurons during normal aging.

This is really quite an extraordinary situation if you think about it: the brain in contrast to every other organ in the body, has the potential to improve with use and to keep the edge into the ninth decade and beyond

BAN ‘OLD’ STUDENTS, EH?

In a satire piece written recently by a 30-something, fourth-year University of Alberta molecular biology student wrote in his student newspaper, the Gateway that “old people don’t belong at the U of A.” One of the reasons mentioned for this apparent social exclusion was that mature students ask “too many” questions and that these students often mention “what used to be”.

I understand that mature students have different behaviors and different expectations, but HOW can we create some structures that are more senior-friendly and show more respect for seniors?

CAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES BE THE ANSWER?

I was very surprised to learn that Montreal and Vancouver tied for top spot in a global ranking of the world’s best public libraries, according to a recent study published by the university of Dusseldorf. The name of the study is, Public Libraries in the knowledge Society.  The key for Montreal and Vancouver was offerings such as the libraries digital resources and use of social media.

BOOMERS CLOSING THE TECH GAP

Not too long ago digital resources and the use of social media wasn’t important because only about 1/3 or less of all seniors were computer literate.  Recently, telephone surveys with more than 6,000 Canadians conducted on behalf of the Media Technology Monitor were used to compare technology trends among members of Gen Y defined as 24 to 33-year-old consumers, Gen Z (aged 18-23) and the 47-to-67 boomer demographic.

“While (boomers) have not grown up with publicly available Internet and wireless technologies, they have become avid users of these offerings,” states the report.  Younger people led in wireless technologies eg. early adoption of smartphones and streaming web video.

A significant fact is that the younger boomers in the survey between 47 and 57 were most likely to embrace tablets.  About 36 per cent of the consumers in the cohort said they owned a tablet, which is more than Gen Y (34 per cent) and Gen Z (28 per cent) respondents.

DIGITAL LITERACY @THE LIBRARY

The Stanley A. Milner Library in my own hometown aims to provide an engaged learning experience in the heart of Edmonton, Alberta Canada.

In my own research I have found that seniors have different expectations in the fields of Lifelong Learning and Entrepreneurship.  What better way there is to engage more seniors than having them come to their own local public library.  in fact, Peter Schoenberg, Edmonton Public Library Manager of digital literacy initiatives and web services said, “Rather than borrowing a book and returning it three weeks later you LEARN something, it’s creating a space for hands-on learning,” said Peter Schoenberg.

The SPACE and it’s equipment are designed to allow the community a flexible area to pursue their creative outlets or just sit back and play video games with friends.  Novices can experiment with the space’s hard-and software and avoid the startup cost of a new creative pursuit.  I think that this is a perfect environment for seniors that already have surplus time but now need some empowerment to pursue new and different activities in their pre-retirement or retirement life. 

THE CALL FOR ACTION

It’s my belief that we need to graduate from the traditional seniors’ centers to some new concepts in order to get more seniors to become more creative and productive.  My personal vision is to create community facilities that include wellness/recreation centers (including fitness centers c/w personal trainers), lifelong learning centers c/w program rooms that have senior-friendly hands-on learning.  The lifelong learning centers could start with the local public library as the HUB which through participation there could lead the senior in the direction of their own skills, interests, knowledge and resources.  Also, somewhere in those new facilities we also need space for a deli, coffee and Wi-Fi access for laptops, tablets, e Readers and any ‘other’ future digital products & services.

I think it’s also important to assess the ‘medical condition’ of the senior to ensure they are not trying to do more than they should for the present shape that they are in.  I believe that this new concept of learning would encourage seniors to be more active, creative, productive and prosperous in their second or third acts of their own life cycle.  Also, it would be a more holistic approach for the well being of every senior living well and being fully engaged in their own communities.

FEEDBACK

If anybody has some ideas about how we can create more senior-friendly lifelong learning facilities, please advise below?

SEASON’S GREETINGS

Happy New Year, to everyone reading this Blog article!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Retired Boomers Go From Wasted Consumerism To Becoming More Productive?

Question- What is the hardest thing for most retirees to understand and put into action?

Answer- It’s what to do next?

On the Internet, EE Wint says, “When are we going to get over this belief that we all have to scrimp and save, do without during our entire working lives, living in self-induced poverty so we can retire and die with a few bucks in our pockets. Change the whole economic system so people can contribute and live a full life, not suffer so a few can live in sickening opulence.”

In my new book, Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come, Boomers say their generation has changed the world for the worse when it comes to world peace and poverty.  This condition will continue if Boomers focus on increased consumerism and entitlements as thy enter old age.  We must change this paradigm from wasted consumerism to seniors becoming more productive.  More productivity will lead to more joy and more independence.  It could also create more peace in the world by striking a better balance between the rich and the poor.

Question- How can we help seniors achieve productive longevity at the municipal level?

Edmonton’s Senior Declaration Act

The Act is 2-years old on June 3, 2012 and this declaration is based on the four ideals:

1. Individuals are respected regardless of age.

2. People of all ages are safe in their homes and neighbourhoods.

3. The City’s transportation system, urban design and physical infrastructure allow all people to participate in full lives.

4. Older people have ready access to programs, employment, business, activities and services that help them stay engaged, respected and appreciated.

Linda Sloan, Edmonton City councillor and serves as a council lead for seniors initiatives across the city.  She also said that age is a gift to our city and we want to ensure our seniors’ skills, wisdom and contributions are honoured.  Furthermore, Linda said that one way is honouring the creative and artistic talents of our seniors through the annual Creative Age Festival.  This encourages seniors to get more involved in arts programs like drama, music, visual arts, literary arts, and dance.

Personally, as a senior myself I enrolled in the Writers Guild of Alberta which is part of the literary arts description above. To date I have written and self-published my new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Thir Time Has Come.  Although I am participating in the literary arts subject area myself, I would like to suggest here that we must expand the Lifelong Learning programs for seniors to include other subjects such as business and/or social entrepreneurship, biological and natural sciences, internet and social media, and possibly adding civic or community leadership for the benefit of seniors that don’t necessarily take a serious interest in Arts Programs.

Recently, I attended an Open House at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension located in the Bay/Enterprise Center Building where a new program, Citation in Entrepreneurship was announced to begin in the Fall, 2012. This should be a great resource addition for those people that are thinking about becoming an Entrepreneur or small business owner.

Some relevant advice on the topic of productive longevity was given by (KFC) Colonel H. Sanders in his book titled, Life as I have known it has been “finger lickin’ good.” Recently I was asked to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives special subcommittee which was studying the problems of aging citizens.  I told them that in the Garden of Eden God didn’t tell Adam that he should work just to retirement age.  He said in Genesis 3:19 a man should work “till thou return unto the ground”- that is, until he died.

I don’t believe that if we can afford it we should rely on loafin’. Life don’t have to be easy to be wonderful. So I think you should plan your retirement, not as though you are bein’ deprived of somethin’, but with a spirit of havin’ somethin’ added to your life.  You see, you are not startin’ out from nothin’, but from the point at which you have assimilated the lessons of a lifetime.  Those years are sort of the crown you wear as you begin the next phase of your life.

I think I’ve proved that it can be done, said the Colonel.

 

Question- So, what might happen if a productive retirement strategy is not undertaken by most seniors?

If seniors are going to be lost about what to do next, many will be found watching television all day long, reading every book they can lay their hands on, increase the sleep to half the day, or sometimes just sit.  There is nothing wrong with any of these activities so long as it is done in moderation.  Taken to extreme, these can cause depression. You need to be productive and find something you enjoy.

It’s never too late for a new career.

I’m amazed at how many workers aged 50 Plus think they must compete with younger people to secure a traditional job. At a local McDonald’s restaurant, I met a 75-year-old woman who was working part-time to save $7,500. to pay for her own funeral exenses.  She also advised me to be careful about eating too many fast foods.  I was waiting for my scheduled business seminar to start so I ordered just a coffee while remembering what she told me.  It’s just another example of a senior’s wisdom when it matters the most.

D. Weisger, on the Internet says that, “Todays conditions are the new normal, so get used to it and develop a plan that allows you to work until you are 75.  That is not doom and gloom speak, that is reality.  Everything has changed.  That said one thing has not changed, investing in yourself will provide returns no matter what happens globally.  Investing in personal training,education and practical skill sets will never steer you wrong no matter what your age.”

To add, many people 50 Plus have the maturity, wisdom, confidence, resources, and networks to start their own small businesses and become more active, creative, productive and prosperous.  They should be encouraged to do so with the help of mentors, coaches, angel investors and possibly some new business partners depending on the senior’s individual needs.

WARNING: Men, A LEISURE ONLY RETIREMENT LIFESTYLE MIGHT BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.

Women ready to go-go and men refusing to leave home are an age-old retirement portrait, says psychologist Jed Diamond, who writes about male menopause. “I see a lot of men at mid-life and older who are basically depressed.  They need understanding and help.”

Will men finally get it? Marriage counselor Kathy Nickerson says that the concept that men are the caretakers of life has been fading since women thronged to the workplace.  But Boomer women are now in a tough spot- caught between lingering memories of the way it was and newer, liberated couplings demanded by the 21st Century.

In my own personal experience last summer I attended a Walk-About: Ukrainian Cultural Heritage presented by the Minerva Senior Studies Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  The mission of Minerva Senior Studies is to provide Learning opportunities for Adults 50 Plus by developing, sponsoring, promoting, offering and participating in educational activities designed to enhance Seniors’ intellectual pursuits that enrich their lives.

On the day scheduled for this visit we all met in the morning at the MacEwan City Center Campus to get on a chartered bus for this Educational Event. I thought to myself that this was a perfect time to test the theory that most women were go-go and that men in general were no show.  I was truly surprised and shocked by the result.  There were approx. 40 people taking in this event.  Are you ready for the surprise? Out of the Total number (approx. 40 attendees) I was the ONLY male on this trip including the Host (Female).

So, what is happening here?  What happens to men who retire and cannot be budged out of the recliner or their own garage or even their garden? i.e. natural tendency to isolate themselves in their own activity.

On the other hand, women having seen the kids off on their own, cared for elderly relatives, retired from a job, see at long last their chance to experience a bit of life that has not been possible to date.  Travel beckons! Time to learn a new skill or take up yoga, dinner out and why not, become a business or social entrepreneur or small business owner through Lifelong Learning in your retirement life.  Women are tired of the domestic scene, but many of them can’t get the husband interested in anything that could develop a mutual interest and possibly save their marriage.  Men and women want to retire in style.  This is why psychologists say the divorce rate is declining for all age groups except the 60 Plus crowd.

Entrepreneurial Preparation

In preparation for becoming a senior entrepreneur and for successful aging it is very important to consider and study active brain activities.  In Chapter 3- Dare To Dream of my new writing project titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come,  I mention Richard Restak, a neurologist who said that, Aging can be thought of as the result throughout the body of a general wear-and-tear process.

In all body organs except the brain, increased activity leads to more wear and tear and accelerated degeneration.  In the brain the principle of operation is unique. Activation of nerve cells doesn’t lead to a general degeneration of function but, instead, to the maintenance of neurons during normal aging.

This is really quite an extraordinary situation if you think about it. The brain in contrast to every other organ in the body, has the potential to improve with use and to keep that edge into the NINTH decade and beyond.