Our Future is Aging: Advancing Knowledge Series
The Issue – Planning for later life…
Older Canadians are delaying their retirement for multiple reasons including the economy and personal reasons. It is also possible that the number of years spent in retirement could increase with increased life expectancy. Many people plan their financial portfolio for their retirement years but less attention is given to thinking about how they will spend their time, how relationships may change over time or how changes in their personal health may impact their social networks. Further, a lack of understanding about how changes in marital and/or health status can impact one’s legal and financial affairs can increase the potential for abuse. Information and resources to help individuals consider these aspects of their retirement is needed to enhance well-being in later life.
NSCA Contribution to Understanding the Issue…
NSCA works in collaboration with other organizations to help older adults and their families better prepare for later life. Recent and past initiatives that the Centre has led and contributed to include:
Social Planning for Later Life:Working with Community Links, this project focuses on the social aspect of retirement and ways to foster volunteerism. It involves developing and piloting a workshop for ‘soon to be retirees’ to explore the importance of social participation in retirement. Retirement-It’s More than the Money!, a 2-hour interactive workshop, is now available to workplaces and interested associations/organizations. Another component of the project involves working with seniors’ community groups to address challenges associated with organizational sustainability.
Seniors Legal Information Kit:In partnership with the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, this project addressed the important legal affairs that individuals face in later life and had a goal of deepening the public’s understanding of these critical issues. A series of information sessions were delivered throughout Nova Scotia, and an information resource, entitled “It’s in Your Hands“, for older adults and their families was developed and is available in both French and English. Topics addressed in the resource include: new relationships, identify theft, Grandparents’ rights, guardianship, powers of attorney, wills and health care directives.
Nova Scotia Action Plan for An Aging Population: NSCA held community conversations throughout Nova Scotia to gather input for the NS Department of Seniors to support the development of the provincial action plan which is expected to be released in spring 2017. These engagement sessions, in addition to a survey, invited input on a number of topics including opportunities and barriers for older adults to stay engaged in paid work and volunteerism. Many action ideas were identified that, if implemented, will enhance older adults’ social participation in later life.
What We’ve Learned…
· While financial planning is important there are other important aspects of life to consider as individuals approach retirement. Social involvement is an important factor to plan for to ensure that seniors stay connected to their communities and continue to lead fulfilling lives. Social involvement may include maintaining positive relationships with family, friends, and community members, among other. Social involvement might be achieved through activities, volunteering or working, through online communities, attending community events or religious activities or becoming involved in local organizations.
· Legal aspects of later life may be confusing or difficult to deal with but it is important that older adults and their families are aware of and have the ability to plan for such issues, especially in view of marital and health changes, so that they are protected.
· Older adults in their retirement years make significant contributions to family, community and the labour force yet barriers impacting their participation exist (e.g., ageist attitudes, access to technology and transportation, flexible work environments, meaningful and flexible volunteer opportunities).
· There are many resources available for older adults aimed at life during retirement and it is important that they are accessible and that there is public knowledge about them.
In addition to reports, brochures and other materials related to this topic you can find available at www.msvu.ca/nsca, we offer the following resources you may want to check out!
Carrière, Y., & Galarneau, D. (2012). How many years to retirement? (Catalogue no. 75-006-X).Insights on Canadian Society, Statistics Canada. Retrieved here http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2012001/article/11750-eng.pdf
Government of Canada portal linking to various sites related to Retirement Planning https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/retirement-planning.html
Volunteering and Older Adults, report prepared by Volunteer Canada, 2013 https://volunteer.ca/content/volunteering-and-older-adults-final-report