Earlier this year, Demand a Plan highlighted a report from Statistics Canada released in February 2019, which showed that seniors are the most charitable Canadians in the country, contributing the highest average donations among all age groups. And it seems that seniors are more than happy to be just as charitable with their time as they are with their money.
Canadian seniors love to give back. Maintaining a sense of purpose can be difficult as a person gets older; retiring from work, downsizing their home, and changes to financial and physical independence are just a few examples of the many adjustments that come with aging, which can affect a person’s sense of meaning and identity. Volunteering is a way for seniors to retain a sense of self and to continue to cultivate meaning in their lives; Canadian seniors are volunteering in record numbers and making large contributions to charitable causes, remaining involved and engaged with their communities.
Revera is a Canadian senior and retirement home care facility with locations across the country, and they also release reports on aging, dealing with a variety of themes. This year, Revera’s report was about “living a life of purpose.” The report found that nine in 10 older Canadians support charities or causes that are important to them, whether that means volunteering with religious groups and health charities, participating in councils or taking advantage of advocacy opportunities to speak up for other seniors.
Violette Hiebert, executive director of St. Lawrence Place, a Revera community, recently told a Kingston community newspaper, “These are people who have seen so much change throughout their lives. We need to recognize that these people have seen so much more than what we have, and we have to create a space where they can thrive and continue to live their purpose, even in older age.”
Older Canadians have witnessed a great deal over the course of their lifetimes, and that puts them in a unique position to effect meaningful change for the future. Revera’s report stressed that the life experience of seniors makes them “drivers of great change” in society. Seniors want to have a role in making the world a better place for future generations. As Hiebert pointed out, “We have a lot to learn from them. … What information can we learn from them about what the world looked like when they were our age? What does life look like for them now? Their life isn’t over just because they’ve hit that 65-year mark.”
To read Revera’s full report on seniors living a life of purpose, click here.