Aging: Are you ready?

A Town Crier Community Column

I was so pleased to see St. Paul’s resident Lyndsay Greene on Mansbridge One-on-One on the launch of her important new book, “You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready?”

Her book breaks the familiar demographic story (lower birth rates and aging baby boomers) down to the deeply personal decisions that each of us will have to make as we face the inevitability of a much longer life than previous generations.

Choices about retirement or continuing to work perhaps less hours, applying your skills in volunteer activities, new possibilities in recreation and fitness will all take careful consideration.

The most poignant part of the interview was the discussion about difficult decisions regarding relationship and life-partners. When I returned to my office in Toronto and found a copy of the book on my desk, I immediately ordered 20 copies for Christmas presents!

The World Health Organization’s programme on Active Aging divides the challenges into 3 pillars: health, participation, security.

Health: Keeping well physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is a priority for all of us. More health equals less demand for health care and therefore the sustainability of our cherished healthcare system.

Participation: Participating in our society is also good for our health!

Social inclusion is as important as stopping smoking as a health determinant.

Civic participation is the #1 Health Goal in Sweden.

Security: Security both personal and financial is the 3rd pillar.

Our public policies need to address all 3 pillars as well as encourage Canadians to be thinking about the road ahead as Lyndsay’s book has so beautifully done.

Recently, Michael Ignatieff has committed to address the challenge of providing care for sick loved ones at home. His proposed Liberal Family Care Plan will use the EI system and add a new Family Care Tax Benefit, modeled on the Child Tax Benefit, to help family caregivers who provide essential care to a family member at home.

In my new critic responsibilities on Democratic Renewal, I am working on establishing better mechanisms for meaningful civic participation “Democracy Between Elections”, but more on that later.

On Sunday November 14th , we will begin to deal with the issue of financial security for seniors with “A Conversation about the Need for Pension Reform in Canada” with special guests: Keith Abachtsheer, Director, Rotman Centre for Pension Management and Brian Fitzgerald, co-author of the Pension Puzzle.

Please join us on Sunday, November 14, at Christchurch Deer Park, Lower Hall, 1570 Yonge St. side entrance. We start with the general discussion at the Parliamentary Clinic: 1:30-2 pm and then the Town Hall on Pension Reform will start at 2 p.m.

About this article:

By: Carolyn Bennett
Posted: Nov 3 2010 3:29 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto