By Marion Van Driel
Today’s unprecedented demographic of baby boomers are changing the definition of what it means to be a senior. They’re younger than their parents were at the same age. They are generally more active both physically and intellectually, seeking ways to contribute to society, to have a sense of purpose as they age. The retiring generation consists – to a significant degree – of life learners who are looking beyond their own personal interests for ways to transition into something new and meaningful.
Enter Reframing Retirement and the Spiritual Journey – a one-day conference presented by CHAT (the Centre for Healthy Aging Transitions), aimed towards shifting the retirement paradigm for a renewed vision going forward. It’s an invitation for the 50-plus crowd of maturing adults to explore how the Spirit can transform mediocre retirement into an exciting adventure. Experts on the subject of aging will focus on four areas:
• Perspective – with a view towards living more fully
• Hope – for living meaningfully in the present
• Guidance – towards renewed vocation, self-care and service
• Spiritual growth – towards thoughtful, maturing wholeness.
Pastor Tom Bomhof explains that this is the first of several seminars planned for the aging population. Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church – where he serves – is located next to Elim Village in Surrey, and has an increasing percentage of seniors. With a larger number of people over 65 than under 16, “there’s a big wave coming in our churches,” explains Bomhof, who met with two other pastors to organize the retirement session. “These are the baby boomers coming up, and they’re going to change everything, I think, just like they’ve changed everything throughout their lives. The seniors who are retiring have a lot of skill and capacity.” Contemplating future possibilities need not be relegated only to the young. With more attention to a healthy lifestyle, retirees are living longer, realizing their potential to create a legacy in the last third of life.
Keynote speaker Dr. Paul Pearce is the director of CHAT, an organization with a mission to help those nearing or already in retirement, to discover exceptional opportunities for this next chapter in their lives. Dr. Pearce has served in a variety of leadership, pastoral and administrative roles across Canada, including Executive Director of the Beulah Garden Homes Society in East Vancouver. He serves on the board of the Kinbrace Community Society, and works with the staff of First Baptist Church in Vancouver, to review and plan ministry with older adults in the church and community.
The one-day conference takes place on October 28 at Willoughby Christian Reformed Church, 20525 72nd Avenue, Langley from 9 am– 3 pm. Registration: $20