February 16, 2009


            Because life expectancy has increased dramatically during the last hundred years, most academicians can expect to live well past 65 years of age (the traditional age of retirement). Many will choose to continue working as they have, but others will choose to explore alternative ways to use the skills, knowledge, and wisdom they have acquired. These documents are intended to be used during such an exploration. They raise ideas and issues that come from the experience of other academicians.

            The report was requested by the Executive of the UBC Association of Professors Emeriti. This Committee met over the course of a year, collecting and vetting materials, researching what the universities in North America had available to potential retirees, and researching websites and literature. The aim was to address the “other issues” besides financial and health (which are well covered at most institutions) that will be facing the academician considering retirement.

            The report is meant to be shared with anyone who would find it interesting or useful. Please feel free to share it and/or post it on a website. It is also meant to be a living document. So if you have suggestions, ideas, or information, please forward them to me.


                                                Judith G. Hall, OC, MD

                                                Chair of the Preparations for Retirement Group

                                                Professor Emerita of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics

                                                University of British Columbia

                                                e-mail: jhall@cw.bc.ca


Committee Members and Contributors:

William Bruneau

Mackie Chase

Nicole Hyatt

Cheryl Neighbour

Brenda Peterson

Christine Pickering

Kenneth Reeder














All of us pass through many developmental stages and transitions. From about age 50 onward, academicians might usefully begin to think about the next stages in their lives. By their mid-60s, as a result, they could have accustomed themselves to another transition. Accustoming or “adjustment” usually includes developing plans for the next 10 years (it may not be possible to plan longer than that, and anyhow things change). The decision to “retire” begins long before one signs the papers indicating the wish to leave UBC/University employment and involves many issues in addition to income and health coverage.


Academicians during their career have already accustomed themselves to many new forms of academic productivity. They have developed skills, experience and wisdom that can be used in many additional types of endeavors. At least half are likely to maintain their research and academic writing for some years after leaving UBC/University employment and in the process experience changing technologies of communication and information acquisition. They will find it necessary to keep up with these technologic changes in order to manage money, property, communication, publishing, and possibly debts and mortgages.


Faculty members take up new social and emotional roles after “retirement,” ranging from being an elder in their community and family, becoming a grandparent, to being dependent. This requires that one become aware of the many changes that also come with advancing age.


Never before in history have academics had a reasonable expectation of 10-25 years of life after “retirement.” For that reason alone, it is useful to develop a coherent perspective about those years. A personal “philosophy of aging” requires reflection, openness, flexibility, and the willingness to “change with the times.” Here is a partial list of things it may be helpful to consider:


  1. New and continuing social contacts with friends, colleagues and family
    1. The “virtual” academic department
    2. The value of having “young” friends—and adoption of a way of life that reaches out to the young
    3. Communities that have to do with your historical/familial culture and possibly with your spiritual outlook
    4. Your children or other young family members


  1. Health
    1. No, the provincial medicare plan isn’t enough to take care of you
    2. And no, UBC no longer has ANYTHING to do with your health care (although it has used its clout to negotiate a pretty good health/dental insurance scheme for those who wish to use it: the Retirement and Survivors Benefit Programme at UBC)
    3. How much additional health insurance, and from whom?

Transition Consideration – 2


                                                               i.      The meaning of “extended care”

                                                             ii.      UBC, Sun Life, CAUT, and so on

                                                            iii.      Travel insurance is a good option to obtain through UBC Emeritus Association arrangement with Johnson, Inc.

    1. What happens when/if you begin to decline (i.e., not function as fully as you would like to and/or need assistance)
    2. How hard should you work with (or without) pay?


  1. Maintaining characteristics of aging well
    1. Daily living such as exercise, healthy diet, mental activity
    2. Adult development such as integrated identity, intimacy, career consolidation, generativity, keeper of meaning and integrity (characteristics of “Aging Well” by GE Vaillant)


  1. Common health needs and ailments of seniors
    1. Gender differences and acceptance of them

                                                               i.      Physical

                                                             ii.      Psychological

    1. What attitude should we take to medications? (e.g., are they a desirable product of modernity, to be taken as “necessary” with abandon? Or are they a necessity to be resisted when possible? What about intellectual enhancement drugs? Or…?
    2. Review your family history to know for which aging conditions you are at risk
    3. Are there preventative measures that would actually work for you?


  1. Memory – scheduling and ways to use your time
    1. Calendar/Yahoo, Google and all the rest
    2. How many activities/day?

                                                               i.      Scheduling vacations (from retirement)

                                                             ii.      How much traveling?

c.   Ways to enhance your memory – exercises, crossword, writing memoirs, etc.


  1. New technologies
    1. Computing – How to keep up with technology (does it make your new life easier?)

                                                               i.      Software: what it can do - and what it can’t

1.      Reading

2.      Music and broadcasting

3.      Income tax preparation

                                                             ii.      Trusting and mistrusting the Internet; online financial interactions; how to protect your identity

                                                            iii.      Access to every word ever written

Transition Consideration – 3


1.      Proxies-the world’s electronic libraries

2.      When to pay for subscriptions and when not

a.       E.g., the “Chronicle” and “Times Higher”

3.      Abebooks

4.      Chapters, Amazon, etc

                                                           iv.      How to love your frustrating cupboard full of disaster-prone machines

                                                             v.      Informatics and the “life of the mind” – slash and contrast

                                                           vi.      The breathtaking pace of change—and the paradoxical fact that in times of change, it’s possible to take up an entire new career or way of life more easily than ever before in Canadian history


  1. Maintaining University contact
    1. What is/was/will be your University “home”?
    2. Will you have an office?
    3. Who will you mentor? Who is your mentor?
    4. How will you participate? Do you want to contribute to UBC and University life?
    5. What “good” and “bad” tastes are left?—Does the flavour change?


  1. Other University responsibilities/opportunities such as grants
    1. Continuing grants

                                                               i.      Recent university policy on emeriti and NSERC, SSHRCC, MRC and other grants

    1. Committees (Which would you want to be on?)
    2. Use of you as a resource (your good name)
    3. Use of library and information resources


  1. Money and finances
    1. CPP: how much, how acquired, when
    2. OAS: almost irrelevant--but still worth having
    3. Your pension: yes, most of us have “enough” put away by age 65, but is it enough?

                                                               i.      Acquiring a healthy skepticism about pension planning—the wisdom of acting only after most of the facts are in

                                                             ii.      Cost of living for people 65-70 (some accountants put it at 60% of one’s last regular salary); for people 70-80 (about 50%); for people 80-plus (about 75%--to cover costs of private care, in whatever form) [all these figures impressionistic]

                                                            iii.      For many, it may be a dubious use of one’s time to try to second-guess the investment decisions of one’s pension planners; for others it makes a pleasant hobby: best to decide one way or the other


Transition Consideration – 4


                                                           iv.      Judging the judges: why it is worthwhile to learn how to assess the expertise, the insight, and the reliability of the many competing “financial” advisors who will want to manage your money—however much or little money you happen to have.

    1. Estate planning: the real essentials—not the stuff that the financial planners want you to think

                                                               i.      Your will (don’t make it too complicated), but DO it

                                                             ii.      Putting your kids on the title of your property (ies) (we don’t say whether or not to do this, but we do say how to start preparing to think about the matter)

    1. Taxes: avoidance and acceptance – educate yourself

                                                               i.      Tax solutions for yourself (<age 71)

                                                             ii.      Tax solutions for yourself (>age 71)

                                                            iii.      Tax solutions for the estate

    1. Who pays for your care when you’re too old to look after your house or your condo? And who, exactly, does it? What are your wishes? Be sure to prepare a “living will” to reflect your desires, as well a Representational Agreement and Power of Attorney.


  1. Volunteer vs. work for pay
    1. Full time?
    2. Out of your home?
    3. Part time (becomes full time)
    4. Volunteer (how much is too much?)
    5. Community and political service


  1. Changing lifestyle(s) – individualized
    1. Time of day for “best work, opportunity for the after lunch “nap”
    2. Physical fitness maintenance – get a program going before age 65
    3. Different wardrobe and equipment
    4. Safety conditions of house (shower rails, loose carpet, lighting, etc.)
    5. Transportation changes (bus, driving at night, use of cabs, etc)
    6. What is recreation for you?
    7. Opportunity to be at home a lot

                                                               i.      Are we then underfoot? What can be done about this?

                                                             ii.      The questionable value of travel-as-escape; the possibility of travel while still at home—it’s possible to have an adventurous mind without setting foot in a plane or a boat


  1. Be sure you arrange for your UBC Emeritus benefits

a.       Library card

b.      Parking pass




(How to connect to these opportunities? Is it necessary to paid? Should expenses be paid?)


  1. Professional organization/society - officer, advisory capacity, work (including UBC Emeritus Association!)
  2. Historian – advice, writing, record your field
  3. Continuing area of research

                                                               i.      Space usually comes with grants, being “allowed” to apply is at UBC Departmental Chairs level

                                                             ii.      If you want grad students to help, you need to get approval from UBC Graduate Studies

                                                            iii.      Research networks/collaboration

                                                           iv.      Reviewing grants for researchers for UBC or for agencies

                                                             v.      Long-term follow-up of previous projects research

  1. Ethical issues related to your field
  2. Fundraising and other developmental activities
  3. “Fill-in” teaching, sessional teaching, clinical teaching
    1. Locums/coverage for others who are sick, on sabbatical, etc.
  4. Mentoring (both young and “older” colleagues)
  5. Editor and/or reviewing manuscripts
  6. Lectures on cruises and other travel
  7. International health or education work, or advisor

                                                               i.      Many federal projects – CIDA for federal projects which are usually well prepared and oriented (search the internet if you are interested)

  1. Consultant to business or governmental agencies
    1. Medical cases
    2. Legal cases

Opportunities to Give Back - 2

  1. Reflective, analytic, and policy writing for professional group, institutions, governments
  2. Foundation work for hospitals and organizations you support
  3. Lay groups – support, advice, being on boards (Volunteer Vancouver knows who needs your skills)
  4. Inner city - working with the poor
  5. Help orient immigrants in your area of expertise, orient them to language and requirements here
  6. Mediation and counseling in official capacity (SFU offers a masters degree)
  7. Volunteer
    1. Holding premature babies in hospital
    2. Docent in museums (e.g., advice at Van Dusen, community garden, farmer’s market, etc.)
    3. Local senior centre
  8. Travel to help
    1. Missionary work
    2. Building houses
    3. Educational institutions
  9. Speaking – Toastmaster, Emeriti college, Alumni travel
  10. See next section (C) for opportunities to support UBC


1)      Must decide whether you want/need to be paid

2)      Identify “going” rates and model contracts ($6000/course at UBC, $250 review paper/book, $250/day legal expertise, $100 thesis review

3)      Expect to be indemnified, so you are not liable to a suit

4)      Expenses should be reimbursed



A.     Sit on various University committees (awards, planning, etc.)

B.     Mentor young colleagues about career development

C.     Orienting new comers to UBC processes and values

Providing institutional memory – e.g., orient to “how to get things done”, people and organizational networks that exist, information that exists, how to get to information, etc.

    1. Sense of history
    2. Institutional history

D.     Compile a history of department, or things of which retiree has been part

E.      Mentoring senior colleagues about successful “retirement”

F.      Help with continuing education courses

G.     Do locum coverage for colleagues during illness, sabbaticals, etc. (probably expect to be paid)

H.     Help arrange meetings of your department’s and/or school’s emeriti

I.        Attend alumni gatherings as speaker, welcomer

J.       Take part in convocation

K.    Help to vet grants and publications prior to their submission

L.      Write and edit letters for academic, national, and international award competitions

M.   Participate in UBC Emeritus Association







(This may seem like a negative list, but is meant to help you to be assertive)


  1. Attending administrative meetings
  2. Taking part in doctoral defenses
  3. Reviewing grants when not interested in topic
  4. Reviewing papers which are not of particular interest to you any longer
  5. Writing letters of recommendation (only do it  for people you like – no longer for those you don’t know and/or don’t like)
  6. Teaching (the topics or in a form you don’t enjoy)
  7. Research (no longer feel an obligation)
  8. Committee work (in general or in particular)


1)      It may be wise to only take on one major “outside” activity a day

2)      Sleep in until you feel like getting up

3)      Do not drive during rush hour

4)      Do not race to deadlines

5)      Unplug phone at 7:30 pm

6)      Say what you mean

7)      Stand up for your rights

8)      Insist you have a right to the front seats on bus

9)      Build your new identity

10)  Maintain visibility (Don’t become that invisible “grey” generation)





(Always ask if “they” give a discount to seniors – seniors may be at 50 years or

55 years as well as 65 years)


  1. Emeritus benefits at UBC – parking, library card, etc.
  2. Senior rates at movies and theatres
  3. Discount days at various stores - these usually monthy – check with stores to find out what day and plan your shopping accordingly (e.g., The Bay, London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, etc.)
  4. CARP membership discounts and information
  5. Transportation

a.      BC Ferries free during the week (car is additional)

b.      Air Canada travel discounts for seniors

c.      Vancouver TransLink and SkyTrain rates for seniors

  1. Many hotels and places abroad have senior/pensioner rates (e.g., UK – both trains and buses) – need to ask
  2. Most museums have senior rates
  3. $25 fee for lifetime entry to US National Parks
  4. UBC tuition is free to seniors (over 65 years) and to all past Faculty Association members
  5. BC Tax reductions in addition to home owner grant
  6. Car insurance discount rate – ask
  7. Profession organizations – senior/emeritus/retired membership rate
  8. Banking discount or special discounts – ask

Please tell us of other discounts you discover so we can add them to the list.






  1. Goodman, Miriam. Reinventing retirement: 389 ideas about family, friends, health, what to do, and where to live. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2008.
  2. Premier’s Council on Aging and Seniors’ Issues. Aging well in British Columbia: Report of the premier’s council on aging and seniors’ issues. Victoria, BC: http://www.hls.gov.bc.ca/seniors/council/docs/Aging_Well_in_BC.pdf
  3. Richardson, Cheryl. Take time for your life. Broadway Books, 1998.
  4. Rowe, J. and Kahn, R. Successful aging. Delt Trade Paperback, 1999.
  5. Salder, William. The third age: Six principles of growth and renewal after forty. Harper Collins Pub., 2001.
  6. Schneider, Edward, M.D. AgeLess: What’s your longevity quotient?, Rodale Ed., 2003.
  7. Scott, Cynthia and Jaffe, Dennis. Managing personal change. Crisp Pub., 1989.
  8. UBC Continuing Studies. UBC Third Age Society [brochure]. Vancouver, BC. Contact number: 604-822-1462.
  9. Vaillant, George E. Aging well: Surprising guideposts to a happier life from the landmark Harvard study of adult development. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2002.
  10. Van Eyk McCain, Marian. Elderwoman: Reap the wisdom…feel the power…embrace the joy. Scotland, UK: Findhorn Press, 2002.
  11. Zelinski, Ernie. The joy of not working: a book for the retired, unemployed and overworked. Ten Speed Press., 1997.













  1. BC websites

Ø      Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport – Seniors (many links and languages)                         


Ø      Canadian Senior Years (many, many links)                                                   http://www.senioryears.com/bc.html

Ø      BC Seniors Guide and BC Seniors Information Line


Ø      Union of BC Municipalities: Seniors in Communities


Ø      Local Government Information



  1. Government of Canada websites and General Information

Ø      Seniors Canada                                            


Ø      Canada Revenue Agency                                                                                   http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/seniors/

Ø      Seniors.ca



  1. CARP

Ø      Canada’s Association for the Fifty-Plus                                      http://www.carp.ca/

Ø      Canadian Association of Retired Persons



  1. Education

Ø      UBC Continuing Studies Courses


Ø      Continuing Education Services and Distance Training Services offered by various educational institutions in your area

       www.educationplanner.bc.ca and www.k12connect.ca

Ø      Society for Learning in Retirement (SLR) Central Okanagan


Ø      National Academy of Older Canadians Society: ongoing computer classes for older Canadians


Ø      Canadian Network for Third Age Learning



Ø      Links with Collegial and University Institutions from across Canada offering trainings to 50-year old people and over


Ø      Seniornet: Older Adult Education For and Access to Computer Technology

Websites – 2



Ø      An Online Community of Older Adult Computer Users


Ø      European Network for Learning in Later Life


Ø      The Senior Computer School


Ø      Online Forum for Seniors


Ø      Distance Learning Course Finder



  1. Goodman, Miriam suggested many of the following – we added Canadian and BC websites.

Music resources

Ø      www.emediamusic.com

Ø      www.pianowizard.com

Ø      www.fretlight.com

Ø      www.singingcoach.com

Travel resources

Ø      www.eldertreks.com

Ø      www.seniorsgotravel.com

Ø      www.oattravel.com

Ø      www.senioryears.com (Canadian)

Ø      www.explore.co.uk

Ø      www.insightvacations.com/ca/

Ø      www.seniorstravelguide.com

Ø      www.globalvolunteers.org

Ø      www.globeaware.org

Ø      www.elderhostel.com

Ø      www.adventureouswench.com

Websites – 3


Volunteer resources

Ø      www.iwillvolunteer.ca

Ø      www.vcn.bc.ca

Ø      http://www.volunteervancouver.ca/index.asp

Ø      http://www.volunteerbc.bc.ca/

Ø      www.usafreedomcorps.gov

Ø      www.literacydirectory.org

Ø      www.habitat.org

Resources for memoirs

Ø      www.personalhistorians.org

Ø      www.storyhelp.com

Ø      www.memoirpress.com

Ø      www.memoirsinc.com

Ø      www.memoriesandmemoirs.com

Ø      www.vistingwithwords.com

Ø      www.yourlifesrecord.com

  1. Health

Ø      Comprehensive Website Containing 35,000 pages of medically reviewed health information


Ø      BC Ministry of Health Services


Ø      Information on Various Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders


Ø      Advice on Nutrition from the BC Ministry of Health


Ø      Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living for Older Adult


Ø      Canadian Health Network


Websites – 4


Ø      Dieticians of Canada


Ø      Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging


  1. Work Resources

Ø      Resource for Jobs


Ø      BC Job, Career and HR Centre


Ø      BC Work Infonet: Useful Information on Career Planning, Learning, and Employment


Ø      Jobs in Canada


  1. Sports and Recreational Activities

Ø      BC Recreation and Parks Association


Ø      BC Senior Games


Ø      Sport Organization in BC


Ø      BC Cultural Activities


Ø      Outdoor Adventures in BC


Ø      Non Profit Sports and Clubs Associations in BC


Ø      Look for the municipality you live in and look for “Parks and Recreation,” or “Recreation Facilities,” or “Leisure Services”

  1. Mark Pearson (e-mail: mpearson@medd.med.ubc.ca) suggested the following:

Ø      Links on a Government of Canada website http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/isp/common/relatedsites.shtml

Ø      UBC Office of Clinical Faculty Affairs  http://www.med.ubc.ca/faculty_staff/clinical_faculty/membership/benefits.htm

Ø      UBC Human Resources http://www.hr.ubc.ca/faculty_relations/retirement/postretire.html#2

  1. AARP

Websites – 5

Ø      http://www.aarp.org/

Ø      More to give: Tapping the talents of the baby boomer, silent and greatest generations                        http://www.aarp.org/research/family/volunteering/moretogive.html