Dear Barb—Beyond Retirement

Dear Barb:

Hi, I am writing about my mom.  She’s in her sixties and is alone.  My dad passed six years ago.  I have one brother who lives on the other side of the country, so we do not see a lot of him.  My mom and I are close, and she was always very active in my kids’ lives, taking them to sporting events and dance class etc.  This year my kids have both gone away to college and university and are busy with their own lives.  I am finally enjoying time for me, but my mom seems to be lost.  She does not have a lot of friends, as that is not something she cultivated during her life.  She appears to be sad or lonely, not sure which.  I want to help my mom, but I really do not know what I can do for her.  Do you have any suggestions for us? Thanks so much, Christina. 

Hi Christina:

Thanks for your email.  Your mom is in a tough place right now and needs to find a new focus for her life.  This is something she must do for herself—which is not to say you cannot offer her some advice.  There are various things she can do.  For instance, many seniors find they have too much free time on their hands so will take on a part time job.  Aside from giving your mom something to do, she will make some extra money.

Another suggestion is that your mom can investigate volunteering.  If your mom is interested in volunteering, it is important that she discover which causes are most important to her.  Your mom can begin her research at which is the Volunteer Canada website.  Depending on your mom’s skills, there are several fulfilling opportunities available.  From there she can search for opportunities in her area.

If your mom is a less social person, there are even opportunities to volunteer virtually.  The Volunteer Canada site has a listing of reputable places that provide volunteer opportunities across the country.

Numerous seniors reach a point in their lives where they want to give back and share their skills with the younger generations.  With approximately 75,000 volunteer opportunities across Canada, covering an expansive variety of fields, such as sports, arts, culture, human rights, support for new Canadians and many more, there is probably an opportunity available that she may find appealing.  You can find

Volunteer Canada even has a handy form where you can enter the types of things that might appeal to you as a volunteer, whether it’s a particular cause you’d like to support, people you want to serve, or maybe even she’d like to develop a new skill.  These are places you and your mom can begin your search.  I do not believe your mom will have any difficulty in finding fulfilling ways to enjoy her senior years and help others.  Best of luck in the future.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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