Volunteer vs. Retired

Dec 01

Volunteer vs. Retired

“You have committed to so many projects, you don’t have time to be retired.” Dan Boyle

I found this quote in a post I never published from 6 years ago. It holds true today. I am not content with the word retired. We need a better word for those of us not working for pay. We are working as volunteers  for  clubs, organization, social service agencies , and a host of other entities.

The dictionary says retired means ” having left one’s job and ceased to work.” Well, we may have left our paying jobs but we have not ceased to work. Volunteers are the backbone of our country in many organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report, Volunteering in America, 2015, that indicated over 11,000,000 people over age 65 volunteered. Research indicates that older volunteers “contribute more hours than any other age group, are more likely to be content with their voluntary work and to stick with it.”

Ann and Dan photo

Volunteer Appreciation Party

Charlestown recognizes our value as volunteers with recognition pins and an annual Volunteer Appreciation Party. This year’s theme was Superheros. We both attended.  As our volunteer coordinator says, “the rewards are priceless.”

Dan takes residents in wheelchairs to the Wednesday Mass at the Care Center. He also makes as he describes, “high-quality mac & cheese” for the Daily Bread, the hot food program run by Catholic Charities. He was elected to the Our Lady of the Angels Parish Council last month.

My interests include the Apple Charlestown User Group and being the webmaster of the Charlestown resident-sponsored website, ccicharlestown.org. I am still on  the Residents’ Council as Past President.

So retired doesn’t work for me. Facebook, for example, does not provide a title for being a volunteer. You are either working or retired. I ended up using self-employed as blogger and webmaster. It doesn’t work for many of us. In fact, as the baby boomers reach their “retirement” they don’t want to sit on the sidelines either. Ageism rears its head even with volunteers. The older population is an untapped resource for civic engagement in the years ahead.

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Senior Hall of Fame

Nov 28

Ann Senior hall of Fame

Ann MacKay and Dan Boyle

It was a surprise and delight for me to be nominated and then selected for the Maryland Senior Hall of Fame. Fifty others  were inducted into the Hall of Fame on October 27, 2016. Bert Clegern, another Charlestown resident, was also inducted. A bus load of friends attended. The Baltimore Sun did a nice story on the Senior Hall of Fame as well as Erickson Living.

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CCRC Residents Meeting

Nov 15

The National  Continuing Care Residents Association (NaCCRA) held their annual meeting the weekend before the LeadingAge convention, October 29-30, 2016 in Indianapolis, IN. Dan and I have been members of NaCCRA for about a year. LeadingAge provides meeting space and exhibit space for the Association as well as reduced rates for us to attend the Leading Age convention.

I was interested to see what NaCCRA was all about after being an association executive for 12 years. Since I had worked for the Maryland affiliate and then  LeadingAge, I was curious to go to a convention almost twenty years later.  I went to the General Sessions with Charles Duhigg, the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, who talked about his best-selling book, Smarter, Faster, Better: The Transformative Power of Real ProductivityAngela Duckworth who wrote the best seller, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, and Sanjay Gupta, the neurosurgeon and media reporter on CNN.

I met former co-workers and played catch-up. It was a good experience. Dan did attend sessions one day.

The Staybridge Suites across from the Lucas Oil Stadium was very nice. It was so nice to have a living room, kitchen, and a separate bedroom. I used Lyft rides to get back and forth from the huge convention center.

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Ageism in Real Life

Oct 13

Ageism in Real Life

After my blog post in July,  Stop Ageism Now, I received several comments from my fellow residents as well as the author, Ashton Applewhite.  My fellow residents do not like being called “sweetie,” “honey,” or “dearie”  either. It is pervasive in our society from the hairdresser to hospital personnel.

I am vouch for that after a  22-hour EMS and hospital experience in which I was called “dear” rather than my name during my entire encounter the EMS responder which included an ambulance ride and the hour wait for a stretcher in the ER.

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Up North

Sep 09

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Island Lake

I was born in Duluth so it always feels good to visit. My grandparents are long gone so now we visit Dan’s niece, Kaye Witzman, when we travel there. It is very relaxing to stay with Kaye as she lives on Island Lake outside of Duluth. We ususally see deer around the cabin. The deer hang out in Kaye’s yard.

Nephews at Iron River, WI

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Steam Threshers at Rollag

Sep 05

img_0772 The Western Minnesota Steam Thresher’s get together has been on Dan’s bucket list for years. This year we planned our trip so that we would be in the area over the Labor Day weekend.

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How Fargo of You

Sep 01

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-12-48-10-pmIt may seem like a funny title for a blog post, but it captures the city. How Fargo of You: Stories from the Northern Prairie that People Who Haven’t Been here Will Never Believe is a title to a book by Marc de Celle, who moved to Fargo and discovered the Upper Midwest way of life and people. There is Minnesota nice and the same attitude applies to North Dakota people. East coasters tend to view the Upper Midwest as flyover country, especially North Dakota.

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