Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Tag

Is Retirement Bad for Your Health?

A friend told me about some pretty shocking statistics indicating that retirees experience dramatically poorer health than their working counterparts. At first I couldn’t believe it, so I did some research of my own.

Sure enough, many studies (some of which are referenced at the bottom) have shown that statistically, people who retire have not only poorer physical health, but poorer mental health as well. They were more likely to have mobility issues, serious ailments and experience depression.

However, this doesn’t mean that we should try to keep working until we’re 90. Upon closer inspection, the statistics show that it is those people in full retirement who are suffering these ailments. Retirees who take on part-time jobs or have full social calendars generally maintain much better health than those who retire and become idle.

When you think about it, these statistics makes sense. The workplace provides an automatic social network which gives people more incentive to take care of themselves physically. You don’t want to be seen as slovenly by your colleagues, and so you are more likely to eat well and exercise. Even if all the exercise you get in a day is walking up the stairs to your office, at least it means you’re moving from the couch.

It is well-established that people with healthy relationships sustain better mental health. The workplace provides a place to form those friendships and support systems. It allows you to see your friends consistently and without too much effort on your part. After retirement, it becomes a task to get together- you have to set up a lunch date instead of just stopping by a friend’s work desk. As a result, many of these relationships fall away after retirement. Unfortunately, mental health seems to be falling away with them.

All of these statistics seem to be trying to scare us away from retirement, but we need to remember is that retirement is NOT a death sentence.  It provides endless opportunities to do things that you never had time for. You could take up hiking, get a dog, take a cooking class, join a book club and the list goes on; anything to keep your life busy and fulfilling. The secret is not that we shouldn’t retire, it’s that we must learn to retire right.

http://chattahbox.com/health/2009/10/15/study-full-retirement-may-be-bad-for-your-physical-and-mental-health/

http://www.canada.com/topics/finance/story.html?id=0ae64432-f8d7-4e58-b7ad-51e8d6a16862

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8307750.stm

Why ‘Senior’ is NOT a Bad Word

All throughout their lives, children want one thing – to be a “big kid”. They would give anything to be able to choose their own bedtime, cross the street by themselves, or select their own diet. Then, once these goals have been accomplished, kids cannot wait to become a “teenager”, and dive into its associated benefits – a driver’s license, and the thrill of first entering high school. After this, we all look forward to moving away from home, getting a full-time job, and entering the “real world”. Starting a family is a common desire following this. Why is it, that all throughout life we as humans crave “growing up”, but as soon as we hit a certain dreaded age, we loath being referred to as “senior citizens”?

There is a huge amount of stigma associated with aging. The media takes every opportunity they can to point fingers at the once “young-and-beautiful” stars who have become too wrinkly for Hollywood. To be honest, the physical signs of aging should not be fought. Sagging skin adds character, and white hair is saved only for the wise. A 2008 New York Times article entitled “Whatever You Do, Call It Work”, stated that many Americans are becoming reluctant to call themselves retirees. However, it can be argued that individuals work for years of their life to be able to enjoy not having a job, when they have finally saved up enough money to sustain themselves without a steady income. Retirement marks a time in one’s life where he or she can reap the benefits of a full-time holiday. It is a time during which citizens can enjoy various activities, travel to interesting locations, and of course – realize that for once in your life, you will not need a resume, have to wake up a certain hour, or report to that boss who is actually younger than you because of their “modern” approach.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/21/business/retirement/21social.html?_r=4&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Calling yourself a “senior” should not be something shameful. Yes, it may mean you look older, have slower reflexes, and an array of potential medical issues associated with aging. But it also means that you have paid your dues – you have worked hard through your life to enjoy an extended long-weekend. It means that you have years of experience and wisdom that young people should be scared to question. Just as teenagers are stereotyped to be reckless, irresponsible, and risky, and toddlers are commonly accused of being mischievous and sneaky, being in the senior age group has its associated stereotypical behaviour and characteristics. It is very important to understand though, that these stereotypes hardly ever apply to every single senior citizen, and are commonly blown out of proportion. C’mon now, not all of the elderly set their cruise control on 40km/h, and BINGO may be popular, but seniors have other fun and interesting hobbies as well.

Somewhere along the lines the term “senior” became associated with a negative connotation. This term is commonly linked to someone who is higher up in a hierarchy, someone with more knowledge than his or her subordinates, or someone who has worked their way up to earn this title. Going to senior kindergarten is the first step to what seems like much bigger and better things at the time – grade school. A senior in high school is the most respected; they are big fish in a small pond. The elders in Church, in Native bands, and across Asian cultures, are looked up to. The term “senior” should be associated with respect, not shame. Society is coming up with new terms to use as synonyms, because of this negativity towards using the word “senior”. For instance, the terms “boomer” and “zoomer”, although completely appropriate, are masking the main issue with being a senior – age. Old age should not be considered a burden, but a gift. Seniors today should learn to embrace this title. Like I said at the start of this piece, becoming a senior citizen is just another stage of the circle of life. It is just another step in “growing up”.

Toasted or Plain?

Written by Chloe Hamilton of Warm Embrace Elderly Care

You’re sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, watching the clock, waiting for your mother’s medical tests to finally be over.  Mentally you’re calculating whether you have enough time to drive your mother home, pick up some groceries, and cook dinner for your teens…or will you be ordering pizza yet again tonight?

If this scene feels at all familiar to you, then you’re likely one of the 712,000 Canadians who fit into the infamous “sandwich generation”.  The sandwich generation generally applies to those in their 40’s to 60’s who are simultaneously caring for their aging parents as well as their growing children.  The term “sandwich generation” was coined in 1981 by the demographer Dorothy Miller, but it has really only come to the forefront in recent years as increasing portions of the population are affected by the crunch of multi-generational caregiving.

Advances in healthcare are allowing people to live longer lives, though not necessarily healthier lives.  The end of one’s life may include more intensive care years, further demanding the time and energy of the sandwich generation who is caught between their parents and children.  The increased life expectancy has led to another possibility—the club sandwich generation (or double-decker sandwich).  The club sandwich refers to people who are assisting their aging parents, while also being involved in their children’s, and grandchildren’s lives.  Four living generations is no longer a rare scenario.

It is now possible for families to have two generations who are both in their senior years at the same time!  The club sandwich can also apply to someone who is in her 40’s who has teenagers at home, while also assisting her 68 year old parents and her 89 and 92 year old grandparents.  A woman in this situation is caring for two senior generations simultaneously, while also raising her own family.

Add to this the pressures of work, marriage, personal life, volunteer commitments, and personal health—no wonder there is concern about the sandwich generation suffering burn-out!  Often people feel that they should be able to manage all of the simultaneous caregiving because previous generations managed to do so.  In reality, previous generations did not experience the sandwich generation phenomenon to the same degree, and they certainly did not have club sandwiches!  Recognizing the unique challenges faced by today’s sandwich generation will help to alleviate guilt and replace the sense of “I should be able to do this” with “where can I find meaningful assistance?”.

Acknowledging that you cannot do it all alone and that you deserve assistance is the first step.  Caring for your own health and well-being is crucial, or you risk injury and illness to yourself.  Managing to eat healthy meals, and getting exercise needs to be a personal priority, not just something to do if you have time left over—because there is never time left over.  Accept enough assistance so that you are able to lead a balanced lifestyle that cares for both you and your loved ones.

Then, with support systems set in place, you can avoid being toasted, and enjoy as many of your “sandwich” years as possible!

TOO YOUNG TO RETIRE. TOO OLD TO HIRE.

Written By: Jennifer Rallis

Co-Author of Ugly Resumes Get Jobs and Other Fishing Lessons (www.uglyresumes.com)

The 21st Century was supposed to usher in a wave of retiring Baby Boomers who would live off the spoils of their retirement funds traveling to sunny destinations, playing golf and enjoying time with their grandchildren. The reality of 2009 has many Baby Boomers reconsidering this vision of their future! Some Baby Boomers who feel that they are in the prime of their careers and too young retire, have postponed leaving the labor force for several more years. While other retiree-wanna be’s are forced to continue working because current economic circumstances have depleted their retirement savings, depreciated their home value and raised the cost of living, leaving them without the necessary funds to retire.

Whatever their reason for staying in the labor market, many Baby Boomers claim age discrimination when it comes time to look for a new job. This is a difficult claim to refute when you look at the results of a recent US Labor Statistics Report. Although the rate of unemployment for Baby Boomers is lower than the national average of 8.9%, when unemployment hits this group it lasts longer than any other demographic; 22 weeks on average. And as the recession deepens it is predicted that this time period will be even longer.

The good news for Baby Boomers is that there are simple things that they can do to ward off age discrimination and land their next great job. No plastic surgery or hair dye required!

  1. Ageless Thinking

If you believe that your age is an issue, then it will be issue! Focus your energy on selling your skills and experience to potential employers, not on defending your age.

  1. Think Healthy

The only time you should divulge health conditions during an interview is if good physical health is a requirement for a job. If you have had previous health problems, heart attack, diabetes, cancer, etc, do not volunteer this information to a potential employer.

  1. Have a technology friendly Ugly Resume

In a sea of thousands of other applicants, you must have a technology friendly resume that can be found and entices hiring managers to call you. Younger applicants would never mail a typed resume to a potential employer, nor should you.

  1. Make your Ugly Resume Ageless

Do not include your birth date, graduation date or more than 15 years of experience on your resume. Do not list out-dated software, hardware or systems experience. Listing out-dated technical skills paints a picture of an out-dated job seeker.

  1. Be Selective

Only apply for jobs that you are qualified for. Do not apply for jobs that you are either over-qualified or under-qualified for. You will set yourself up for rejection and disappointment.

  1. Use Technology

When applying for a job, apply online or email the potential employer directly. These simple actions indicate to a potential employer that you have the basic technical aptitude needed to do most jobs.

  1. Have an Ageless Interview

During an interview, sell the benefits of “you” to a potential employer. Do not spend the interview defending your age or trying to convince the interviewer that you have the health and stamina to do the job! Younger job seekers would never mention these points, nor should you.

  1. Build a Bridge

When interviewing with a younger hiring manager, do not intimidate him or her with your age and experience. Do not make statements such as: “when you were in diapers, I was managing a team of 30 people” or “the work ethic from my generation is much better than your generation”. You need to make this person comfortable with you and make them feel that they can manage you without any problems.

  1. Don’t answer any direct questions about your age.

It is illegal for employers to ask direct questions about your age during an interview. If a potential employer asks you how old you are, don’t answer the question; rather answer the intent behind the question.

  1. Sell Your Lifestyle

Older job seekers offer employers many benefits over their younger counter-parts such as: years of proven experience, expertise, seasoned judgment and lack of family responsibilities (small children) that may interfere with job performance. Sell these features of you during an interview!

If you have experienced age discrimination during an interview, don’t get discourage! Find another opening, apply and move on. There are plenty of employers who value older workers. Remember, you have worked too hard in your life to end up in a job where you are not valued.

For more tips on how to successfully land your next great job, see Ugly Resumes Get Jobs and Other Fishing Lessons (www.uglyresumes.com).