The stereotype of Seniors sitting around playing bingo is old news!
Today's Boomers rolling into retirement are demanding that the old paradigm be thrown out the window.
The new model of Seniors is healthy, active, well off Zoomers who don't want to be pegged as Seniors!
The truth is that a huge number of Boomers will fit that new picture but Boomers will bring those that are not healthy, those that are not active, many living in isolation and large numbers that will be living with poverty.
So there is the challenge for the recreation profession; providing recreation services for Seniors on a number of continuums. This is truly a time for multi organization collaboration.
The Health continuum; Seniors that are bed ridden to Seniors setting records at Masters Games.
The activity continuum; limited activity to marathons
The financial continuum; living in poverty to Seniors Club Med
The housing continuum; homeless to totally independant living
The personality continuum; recluse to joining everything
Then you add the complexity of rolling all these continuums into one continuum...ouch
The fact is that 54% of Canadians are active. 44% of Seniors (65+) are active.
So where does the topic of Boomer Seniors fit on the agenda of Ministers Responsible for Recreation in Canada?
Will it be a topic of discussion at Ontario's hosted discussion on the National Recreation Framework in 2014?
Health Ministers should be demanding that their colleague Ministers and the recreation profession get a strategy for addressing the activity levels for Seniors on the table ASAP.
If there was ever an issue to bring focus to recreation it would be improving the physical and mental health of Seniors through recreation/physical activity.
There are many examples of great programming in Canada but it is time for the recreation community to step up, cooperate and collaborate.
Future blogs will highlight some program examples and great organizations doing their best to address the needs of Seniors. In the words of John McKnight "focus on your assets"!
Heads Up!! Boomers have strongly influenced the political agenda all through their lives and this issue won't be any different!!