Roz Kaplan is the Director of Simon Fraser University’s Senior Program which offers six-week courses, workshops, and free Saturday forums, all taught by experts.
Roz has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in both Public Administration and Gerontology. She has presented a number of papers at a variety of conferences which have focused on Seniors’ issues. Prior to her move to Vancouver, Roz served as the chief Operations Officer at the Mayerson JCC in Cincinatti.
Roz says that many of us will have 30+ years after retirement. She sees these years as opportunities to recharge or re-invent oneself. Roz Kaplan will focus her expertise of Seniors’ issues through her insights of their different ages and stages. She will also explore how to ‘Navigate the Future’ in both the ‘Golden Years’ and the somewhat ‘Tarnished Years’.
John F. Helliwell, B.Comm.(U.B.C.), M.A., D.Phil.(Oxford), D Litt(Guelph/New Brunswick), LLD (McMaster).
He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Programme. John has received numerous honorariums, distinctions, and awards in both his professional and volunteer service roles. He has been a Professor Emeritus at UBC since 2003.John’s topic is ‘How to Build Happy Lives’. Since 2011, he has published over a dozen articles related to well-being and happiness. John was also an editor of ‘The World Happiness Report’ that strengthens the case that well-being should be a critical component of how the world measures its economic and social development.
Gloria Levi, BA from State University of Iowa and masters from the University of Oregan in Public Administration.
30 years in field of gerontology as a social worker in recreation, and as instructor and consultant. Author of “Dealing with memory changes as you grow older” and a series of 6 booklets called “Challenges of Later Life”. Gloria’s contributions to policy and program development on behalf of Jewish seniors, through her work with the planning council and, in particular, her role as co-chair of the Council of Aging, Gloria has been in the forefront of advocacy for accessible and quality services.
How will you live the rest of your life? Will you wonder what happened? Watch what happened? or Make things happen?
Our focus this year is ‘Navigating the Future’ through ‘All ages and All Stages’. Two keynote speakers, Roz Kaplan and John Helliwell, will address this topic.
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE RETIREMENT WHEN ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE,
NOT AN IDEA WAS STIRRING, NOT EVEN THE MOUSE.
I OPENED A BLANK DOCUMENT AND THOUGHT “WHAT SHOULD I WRITE?”. I WANTED THE SPEECH TO MY COLLEAGUES TO BE JUST RIGHT.
I NEEDED TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING REALLY QUICK. ‘RETIRED’ WAS WHAT I WANTED TO BE, BUT THE SOUND OF THE WORD JUST WASN’T RIGHT FOR ME.
AND THEN, WITHOUT A CLUE AS TO WHAT I WAS ABOUT TO DO, I WENT WITH MY FIRST THOUGHT THAT CAME THROUGH.
I TYPED “I’M NOT TIRED”.
‘SO, CHANGE IT’ I SAID.
THEN I BUMPED OUT THE T IN RETIRED, AND PUT IN A W INSTEAD.
I SURPRISED MYSELF AT MY DISCOVERY.
FROM HERE ON IN,
REWIRED IS WHAT I SHALL BE.
I INSTANTLY BECAME A REWIRED.
by Bev Cooper
Gyda Chud, co-convener, and on the board of the JSA, enthusiastically welcomed a capacity crowd of 180 to this year’s annual Spring Forum which took place at the Peretz Centre on May 4. The theme was Retired/Rewired.
Gyda Chud acquainted those attending with the philosophy, programs and purpose of the Jewish Senior Alliance and reminded us that life learning leads us to the best quality of life.
Advocating that we should all be volunteers- Gyda quoted- ” Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but rather because they are priceless.”
Bev Cooper read her poem about how she came up with the word, ReWired, rather than Retired. ReWirement has become her cue card to search for ways to ride the waves in difficult times. And in the better times, ReWirement propels her to use the opportunity to seek out new challenges.
Gloria Levi, social worker and consultant in the field of Gerontology and author of “Dealing with Memory Changes as you Grow Older” was the moderator of the afternoon’s forum.
She spoke of her personal connection to JSA and introduced Roz Kaplan, Gerontologist, Director of the Seniors Program at SFU Continuing Studies.
We heard the surprising and somewhat shocking news that most of us will live 30 years after retirement and that we need to prepare for that time awaiting us.
We heard that retirement is not a destiny but a journey for which we should ‘pack’ essentials as we embark on that time and as in all journeys, some of us will be better equipped and prepared than others on this trip.
We were encouraged to learn something new; an instrument, a language, dance steps, the means to rise to challenges and accept change.
We were told we needed confidants, connections, community and having a passion. This journey would be a path to opportunity, and as in all journeys, one should divest oneself of ‘extra luggage’ to reinvent ourselves. Most of us identified with work. Reinventing would allow us a chance to ease into retirement.
Our stages of life usually encompass – birth, education, work, retirement. It is up to us to fill in the gaps with personal growth as many of us return to an encore career. Family, friends, fitness, travel volunteering, hobbies; all serve to keep us vital.
A book recommended was “Creating a Healthy Retirement ” by Dr. Ronald and Lois Richardson.
After a brief question period, Gloria Levi introduced our next speaker John F. Helliwell, who is an officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society and Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Programme. As a Professor Emeritus at UBC John Helliwell has written articles on “How to Build Happy Lives’ and is an Editor of “The World Happiness Report.”
We started by singing “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”, and then were asked if we were any happier after the shared singing. All agreed that we were.
How do we measure happiness? Usually that is not a question asked by one’s doctor or therapist-rather we are asked if we are sad/depressed/possess negative feelings. Negativity is not only a state of mind but affects our physical well-being.
An example was given of students in a hotel room who were all exposed to the rhinovirus. Those with negative feelings/attitude generally succumbed to the cold germ, whereas those with a positive outlook were much less affected, with some even escaping being sick entirely. It was also suggested that we need to concentrate more on health building rather than health repair.
Economic factors are far less important than first assumed, but instead, the bonding together and assisting of one another to overcome strife and difficult circumstances brings added happiness.
Iceland and Ireland were prime examples of the quality of life because the people living there showed concern and care for one another. Aristotle stated that a fine quality of life brings happiness to individuals in a variety of formats.
FOOD | HEALTH | TRUST | FREEDOM (to make decisions and feel actively engaged in ones life) | GENEROSITY (doing nice things for others raises one’s own happiness)
Another example was of a care home in Denmark where the staff had been asked to design the home as if the they themselves were to be the residents in that home. Their advice was to do away with uniforms for staff, to dispense with bibs and to make mealtimes variable. At one of the homes, the chef even drove the residents to a local movie theatre and they all enjoyed annual holidays together. Much more like one would expect if living in one’s home with family.
The last example was of a residence where there were two floors. One known as a happy floor and the other was the unhappy floor.
There again, the unhappy floor residents were asked to design the floor they would be living on in a new building. Suggestions were made, followed, and happiness ensued.
At another centre, a senior residence combined the facility with a day care and seniors and juniors interacted happily, all benefitting – a little like symbiosis.
No one broke rules; nobody wandered – searching for the home they had left. They all felt they WERE HOME!
A question was asked why Israelis were happy even though they lived such stressful lives. The answer seemed to be that there really was no time for introspection. All were united in the common bond; to continue to defend and build their country and that aim, that purpose, builds happiness.
A last question was how can we continue to be selfishly happy if many of the rest of the world seem to be so unhappy. The answer was ‘Whose misery is lessened by our being unhappy?’
Gloria Levi expertly and succinctly summarized the two speakers talks saying that she found John Helliwell’s talk on happiness intriguing and encouraged us to follow Roz Kaplan’s advice to reassess our lives at the different stages we encounter and not to be afraid to ask for help.
Gloria then spoke of Serge Haber and his countless contributions to the community through the years and of his being honoured at the Louis Brier’s 8 over 80.
Approaching the podium, Serge Haber asked us all to rise for a moment’s silence in honour of Yom Hazikaron, commemorating the fallen soldiers and pointing out the Israel flags in the centre of each flower arrangement also celebrating Israel’s Independence Day. As delicious refreshments prepared by the BAGEL CLUB CATERING and served by the volunteers of the JSA, Serge Haber thanked those who had convened the very successful forum and emphasized that much of this would not have been possible without the exhaustive efforts of the staff, Karon Shear and Rita Propp. Karon Shear also took a video of the forum which will appear on the JSA website shortly.
Herb Calderwood, the afternoon’s musical entertainer, handed out songbooks and announced that he may not know all the songs in the songbook as he does not read music and so we were instructed just to call out our request by number. He delighted us as well with a wonderful game of ‘Name That Tune’ and those who guessed the tune were rewarded with a prize.
Door prizes further kept the happiness quotient high and the afternoon came to the happy conclusion as the audience did indeed leave REWIRED.
Binny Goldman – 2014
Photography by: Binny Goldman