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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Retirement Volunteering
         Many people believe that retirement automatically causes reduction of individuals’ contributions to Canada’s social and financial economy. That is not so, for instance, according to the British Columbia Government, in 2004, seniors spent more time volunteering annually than any other age group in the Province – over 44 million hours, with an average of 247 hours per year. As a group ages fewer people tend to volunteer, but those who do volunteer do it for longer periods of time. This type of volunteering will likely increase as the “Boomers” enter retirement.  So where are you at in regards to volunteering?
         To help you explore possible types of volunteering, ask yourself the following questions: [i]
1.   Where am I in my life now? What are my current circumstances and what is up ahead?
2.   What do I care about? How can I make a difference? What kind of volunteer would I be?
3.   What skills or experience do I have to offer or do I want to gain?
         Besides the reduction of income, retirement can mean a loss of employment with a focus on social relationships. Retirement is not just about the money. When considering retirement on one side a person may feel like developing new goals, interests, activities and creating new networks. On the other end, he or she may experience stress, physical deterioration, and depression. 
         I have recently retired from being a Professor of Psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where I worked more than 30 years. I have designed and taught a course about aging for the last 10 years and developed many teaching approaches including workshops and seminars.  Among my volunteer activities I am a board member at a local seniors centre; a volunteer at a community event organization in Crescent Beach and I recently joined Third Age Learning at Kwantlen’s (TALK) program committee. I also canvas for the Canadian Cancer Society.
         One of the most wonderful things that have ever happened to me was when I was invited to report my research findings about Ageism in British Columbia to the International Sociological Association (ISA) at their conference in Barcelona Spain during the fall of 2008.
         I have created a retirement workshop to further help facilitate individuals’ exploration of their psychological and social needs in preparation for and during retirement.  For more information contact me at:


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