Successful Aging: Develop a Passion and a Purpose

We all wish to age well in our retirement. But how?

In an earlier article entitled, “ The Emotional Phases of Retirement” , I used the term “successful aging” to describe that emotional phase of retirement when we have effectively reached a point where “life is good” and we have reached a measurable degree of contentment.  This is when the accomplished retiree considers that the retirement role has been mastered and he finds himself in a comfortable and rewarding routine, which is both satisfying and enjoyable. He has reached the ultimate goal of retirement. He is relaxed and has a feeling of comfort and can look back and take pride in the fact that he has “worked” hard and has made a valuable contribution and now is being justly rewarded. His financial plan is has come to fruition and is firmly in place and relatively speaking, he is financially secure.

We all strive for this feeling of contentment.

But how do we get to this place?

Although financial security is a very important aspect of “successful aging”, equally important is creating an environment for emotional stability as we go down the “runway” of life.

As one author commented, “Self-acceptance, positive attitude, creative expression, purposeful living and spiritual connection” all play an important role in achieving successful and meaningful aging.


“CBD” and “THC”: Two Acronyms You Should Know About in Today’s World

In two earlier articles entitled, “Bill-C45: The Cannabis Act and the Canadian Visitor to the United States” and more recently, “Cannabis, Medical Marijuana and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America, I discussed in some detail, the legalization of “cannabis” in Canada and the implications for the Canadian Visitor to the United States. Embedded in these articles is an explanation about the legal anomaly that exists in the United States, where legalization of “marijuana” has become a “patchwork” of legislation and regulations, both at the State and Federal level. A handful of States have legalized the substance both for recreational and medicinal purposes in varying degrees, while the Federal Government (which includes the Department of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Service), considers “cannabis” or “marijuana” to be a controlled substance, under Section I of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. § 802(16), such that its possession and use continues to be a serious criminal offence in the United States. This is potentially problematic for the Canadian visitor and those involved in the “cannabis” industry in Canada, which I explained.

CBD and THC: “What’s it all about Alfie?”

With the legalization of “cannabis” in Canada and several States in the U.S., (including California), I lamented in one of my those articles that it was unlikely, given the average age of the typical “Snowbird” that the use of “cannabis” for recreational purposes would become a popular leisurely retirement activity.  On the other hand, as evidenced by some recent discussions with some close friends and relatives, the therapeutic use of “cannabis” or other forms of the substance and its derivatives is receiving more and more attention, and those suffering from a myriad of aliments from sleep disorders, insomnia, anxiety, depression and chronic pain are apparently finding some relief. Some have reported that its use has a “calming” effect and that it allows one to be more focused and not as “stressed out” thereby creating a healthier and more positive outlook on life.

Most of my knowledge on this subject was limited to two common acronyms–CBD and THC, both being components of “cannabis” with each having their own unique qualities. As a former Federal Drug Prosecutor, THC was well known to me in my former life as being the active component of cannabis that produces a “high” or psychotropic effect in terms of its recreational and at the time, illegal use.

How things have changed?

More recently, CBD has become a popular term and has increasingly crept into our vocabulary and “adult” conversation at our regular “Happy Hour”.  Some of my friends have been touting it as a new “wonder drug” offering many anecdotal positive experiences.

At the risk of offending those from the Mediterranean island, all of this was “Greek” to me and somewhat of a mystery, so I thought it might be a useful exercise to examine this area more closely and try to clarify the mystic surrounding these acronyms –CBD and THC and offer some incite into the multitude of new “products” now being promoted commercially in the United States and Canada.


“No Irish Need Apply:” The McIvor Family History

The earliest memory I have of my grandfather, William John McIvor (after whom I was named) and grandmother Catherine Brady McIvor (nee McCann) were their brogue Scottish accents, particularly that of my grandfather. Both were born in Glasgow, Scotland.

Margaret Mary was the first child of  William and Catherine McIvor and my mother. She married Theodore John Anhorn on April 14th 1950. I was born on December 18th, 1950 and was their first child and the first grandchild of William and Catherine McIvor.

My mother was extremely proud of her Scottish roots and until her death most recently prominently displayed the Campbell Clan tartan and plaque on her wall. She was always quick to boast of her Scottish heritage.

From very early in my life when asked about my own heritage, I was quickly identified myself as half German (Anhorn) and half Scottish (McIvor).

Most recently however, while conducting some genealogy research in relation to our McIvor family tree, I discovered, much to my surprise, that my family originated not from Scotland but rather Ireland and that my true ancestry therefore is not Scottish but Irish! READ ON

Ageism and the Insurance Industry

-A Topic Which is Not Often Mentioned

In the 1960’s, Geriatrician Robert Butler coined the phrase “ageism”. It was used in the context of the prevailing social practice of stereotyping older people and the aging process in a negative manner. It reflected existing societal attitudes towards the elderly, which portrayed them often in disparaging terms and that identified them as unflattering stereotypes. As time progressed, ageism was viewed more in a legal context having regard to policy or practices, which were considered prejudicial or discriminatory in nature.

Today, ageism is defined more specifically as discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.

In a time of increased diversity and a desire to promote inclusivity within Canada, ageism is seen as one of the newest challenges facing society. Much of the world is caught up in the #MeToo movement, which focuses on sexual harassment in the workplace. But in addition, there is a growing awareness and strong sentiment being expressed also about age discrimination in the workplace environment.

But there are other areas where ageism is not often mentioned but in reality exists to the financial detriment to the “retiree” or “senior citizen”. This prompted one observer to remark,

Ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada and there is no greater safe haven for this kind of prejudice than in the insurance industry.”

In my opinion, one of the last bastions, where age discrimination continues to be accepted and tolerated is in the area of private sector insurance and in particular, private health insurance and more specifically, Travel Medical Insurance.

Let me explain.


A “Busy” Retirement: Is it the Right Kind of Busy?

In a recent article entitled, “The Emotional Phases of Retirement”, I reviewed in some detail various academic studies on “retirement” that focused on a part of retirement planning not often considered or discussed, as people contemplate this phase in their life. Most articles and books on retirement planning place emphasis on the financial aspect of retirement, many promoting their own version of a plan which is guaranteed to produce financial results. Few discuss in any meaningful fashion, the “emotional” aspects of retirement and how to cope with this significant change in lifestyle. A friend who is much younger than I and who is still working but contemplating this next phase in his life, recently asked me, “if I had any difficulty in adjusting to retirement”. After a lively discussion, I sent him an email with some information on the topic.  READ ON

The Emotional “Phases” of Retirement: From a Canadian Perspective

In a recent article entitled, “Forgive Me-I Just Had a Senior’s Moment”, I lamented in somewhat of a reflective mood about describing myself as a “senior” and the inherent but short lived guilt, I felt about taking advantage of a “senior discount”. In the course of my article, while in a moment of brief melancholy, I discussed the terms “senior citizen” and “retirement” and in my research discovered that a considerable amount of academic study has taken place about this phenomena (“retirement”) and it peaked my interest so much so, that I decided to delve into the subject a little bit more and to educate myself on what has been described by many as the “emotional” phases of retirement. READ On

Forgive Me -I Just Had a “Senior’s Moment”

My wife and I went to a movie last night and although I had done this before, I had an epiphany as I stepped up to the ticket window and purchased a movie ticket. “Two Seniors for ‘The Wife’ ” I said. The fact that I had asked for and received a “senior” discount sent a chill through my body and it caused me to reflect on “things” including life itself. What does it mean to be a “senior”? Does this term properly define this station of my life? Is this the last train station before we depart for “points” beyond?

“Is this term an appropriate and accurate  description of my current status?” I asked myself. READ ON

The Canadian Traveler Abroad: Explore. Dream. Discover.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”-Mark Twain

In an earlier article entitled, “The Canadian Traveler and Trip Cancellation Insurance and Trip Interruption Insurance”, I reviewed in some detail the nuances of this type of insurance product generally available to the Canadian traveler, either as a standalone insurance product or one that is imbedded and forms part of a medical travel insurance policy or is a feature of the “use” of some credit cards in booking your holiday. My wife as an example is a retired teacher and we have had the luxury of travelling to the United States and other places around the world and being protected with medical travel insurance as part of her retirement package through Alberta Retired Teachers Association (ARTA). Imbedded in this coverage is generous trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance.

For the Canadian traveler going abroad or anywhere for that matter, this type of insurance product is very important. But there are other things you should consider doing before starting your next adventure. READ ON

The Canadian Traveler and Trip Cancellation Insurance and Trip Interruption Insurance

The Canadian Traveler and Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

“Are You in Good Hands?”

In an earlier article entitled, “Travel Insurance and the “Pre-Existing Condition” Enigma and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America (or Elsewhere), I outlined in some detail the necessity for some form of travel insurance for those Canadians that spend an extended period of time down south, far from the cold frigid temperatures, which we typically experience during the months January through March. For those of us who are retired and are living the “good” life, we often plan while we are still continue to be in good health, the occasional holiday or extended holiday to Europe or other destinations beyond North America.

My wife and I together with another couple are planning a 10-day Baltic cruise in the spring with stops in Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and other notable cities and ports along the way. Another couple, who we know well, are planning a hiking holiday to Italy and Croatia and when recently talking about our upcoming adventures, one of our friends enquired about whether or not we were planning to get trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance. To be honest, I hadn’t given it much thought but on further reflection and further prompting from her, I decided to investigate these additional product offerings made available to the Canadian traveler by the insurance industry and others.READ ON

The Right to Privacy, Border Security and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America

In my most recent article entitled, “Cannabis, Medical Marijuana and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America”, I examined the ramifications of the use of cannabis whether recreationally or for medicinal purposes, now that the substance is legal in Canada and the implications of such use for the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America. As I explained, many Canadians seeking access to the U.S. may now be faced with an ethical, moral and legal dilemma, when they may be asked now among the usual perfunctory questions by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agent at a port of entry,” Have you ever used marijuana in the past for any purpose”? In conclusion of the article, I summarized the issue as follows:

“Some Canadians are under the mistaken belief that with the legalization of Cannabis in Canada, that past or continuing legitimate medical use by prescription and/or past or current recreational use will not have any adverse effect on their ability to enter the United States of America.  Although the majority of us will not be using Cannabis (marijuana) for medicinal or recreational purposes, now that it is legal in Canada, the same cannot be said for many of our friends or family members, particularly as availability increases and the stigma associated with it becomes more relaxed. For those who may be tempted to give it a “try”, it is all about the “risk” verses the “reward”, particularly for the frequent Canadian Visitor to the United States of America.

Until there is greater clarification by the Department of Homeland Security, many Canadian Visitors to the United States may be faced with an ethical, moral and legal dilemma, when asked the least intrusive question by the US CBP agent, “Do you have a prescription for medical marijuana? Or that penultimate question,” Have you ever used marijuana in the past for any purpose?”

In either case, be prepared to give an answer!”

These somewhat invasive questions raise a broader issue in relation to the competing interests of border security and the right to privacy and the impact these competing interests have on the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America. READ ON