“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou, American poet
Much was made of it last year when Statistics Canada released a report that noted that for the first time ever, there are now more people in Canada aged 65 and over than there are under 15 years of age. And that gulf will continue to grow as the “baby boomers”- those born between 1946 and 1964 – age.
While our culture typically focuses on retirement (around age 65) as a milestone, “retirement” can actually last for another 35 years, so the question is, what should those later years look like, and how can they be put to the best use?
“Our traditional idea of what retirement should look like no longer matches real life,” said Gail Hinchliffe, former president, United Active Living. “At one time, once we left the work-a-day world, retirement meant extended leisure time and turning to hobbies to fill our days. While that aspect of later life remains true, today’s baby boomers are expecting more from those years than their parents did. They want new learning experiences and exposure to the arts and other interests.”
What if 65 has actually become mid-life, with a life expectancy of 110 or 120? Filling our time with meaningful pursuits means taking the way we view traditional retirement and turning it around. No longer will we simply stop working. How we use our time will change. It could mean starting a second career and earning an income well into our 70s or longer, or using that time to pursue other creative outlets.
Often, an older adult’s interest in music, art and other pursuits surprises their adult children.
As the boomer generation ages, and their views and interests become more topical in the mainstream media, there will also be a shift in the language we use. The word “seniors” is being replaced by “older adults” because those in their later years don’t identify themselves as seniors, and the image the word conjures in our minds is negative – frail, slow moving with perhaps cognitive decline issues.
“We are starting to see more in the popular press about challenging ageism and challenging all of those stereotypes and looking at our life and our lifespan in a different way. Not by chronological age, but by how we view ourselves, our interests and our view of what aging really means,” said Gail.
United takes a unique approach to aging, incorporating lifelong learning opportunities into daily resident activities, and supporting resident interests in the arts, music, dance and fitness. Getting older at United means having the freedom to stay active, learn new things and ensure our later years are fun, enjoyable and meaningful.
If you’ve been thinking about the best way to use the free time you have, living in a United community offers a positive solution with a wealth of programs and activities, community support with assisted living and memory care options should you need them. When is the best time to make that decision? There are several triggers that may help you with that decision. Read about them in our two recent blog articles.
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