I came across an article in the Montreal Gazette in the Opinion Section titled: “Growing old is no fun” on August 2nd with individual responses to the article on August 5th in the Editorial Section under Your Views.
The gist of the article is aging and getting older has not happened as expected. Many thought retirement would offer more time for hobbies, traveling, volunteering, time spent with grandchildren and other leisure interests. Some are finding as they age their health is worsening, mobility and strength is diminishing and they need more assistance with routine tasks of shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, transportation to various appointments, and with finances. Older adults are living longer and in some cases outliving their retirement funds.
Due to the cost of basics like food, clothing, access to healthcare and home maintenance whether one owns or rents, these costs are often more than what an older adult can afford or has in their bank account.
On the other side of all this, for those who are healthy, active and have the financial means, getting older is viewed as a time to enjoy life, to pursue leisure and hobbies and should one require assistance with routine tasks, to hire private help as needed.
Older adults have much knowledge, have witnessed and lived through a huge chunk of history, are wiser, and have much to offer. They can mentor individuals related to past employment sectors, mentor youth through intergenerational programs, share stories related to life their experience, offer friendship and more.
As a society, aging or getting older is an area that needs a modern look that describes reality both positive and negative. As one individual quoted, “…As we age, we take the good and try to apply it to what we are still able to do. People need to keep busy doing what they enjoy and live day by day.”
Another said, “Some of us run out of money each and every month and live with daily pain, to say nothing of our dwindling energy. I do not fear death, but do fear living each of the months ahead with a thinning wallet and growing pain.”
Both of these quotes show reality for those that are retired and aging, but they also describe changes that are needed and wanted. There must be a starting point.
By Victoria Brewster, MSW