Seniors maximizing their purpose – it’s more important than ever before

This review of Daniel Pink's book 'Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us', touches on how today’s boomers and seniors are focused on making the most of their retirement years through volunteerism, entrepreneurship and following their passions.

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Why you want to read Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

I’m late to the party again. I recently discovered a writer named Daniel Pink. I was absorbed by Pink’s easy-to-read writing style. A New York Times (NYT) best-selling writer, Pink wrote "Drive – The surprising truth about what motivates us". I’m glad I read this book on the importance of maximizing your purpose and I think you will be as well. 

Using an evidence-based approach, combined with relatable stories, Pink expertly drove home his message that a ‘carrot and stick approach’  may not be the optimal way to motivate others. According to Pink, motivation actually has three enablers: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I found that his coverage of the purpose dimension particularly resonated with me.

Importance of having a purpose

In his book, Pink deftly explains the importance of having a life’s purpose when he says, “The most deeply motivated people – not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied – hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves”. I think many Canadians contemplating their post-career years would agree with him on this front. Given the longer life spans and better health experienced by many boomers and seniors, retirement is being reimagined is an opportunity to pursue a business opportunity, volunteer, master a new skill or pursue other long-planned dreams.

Later-in-life entrepreneurs

After reconsidering my life’s purpose, I took an exit ramp from a career in financial services to launch Welcome Home Transitions in 2020. My purpose is simple – helping others benefit from my life’s experience managing my parents’ dementia diagnoses and their journey into senior housing. I’ve forged a new path to fulfill this purpose and I have not looked in the rear-view mirror since. This is not that unusual. According to NYT there are a rising number of later-in-life entrepreneurs. In 2019, roughly 25 percent of new entrepreneurs were between 55 and 64, up from 15 percent 20 years earlier, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit that promotes entrepreneurship.

As a daughter, wife, and mother, I know the challenges families are facing today. And as a member of the sandwich generation, raising children while caring for aging parents, I understand the value of a guiding hand. Whether it’s finding options to maintain a loved one’s quality of life and independence in the family home or finding the right type of senior housing, I’ve experienced the emotional stress with my own parents. Just as my family was lost after my parents’ dementia diagnoses, I know others are struggling to chart the next steps in their journey.

And through my business, I’ve been able to connect with adult children and their parents to help them with retirement living decisions. Often, this involves navigating the care continuum - from bringing services into the family home to downsizing to a senior living community.

Seniors and Volunteerism

Pink writes that finding one’s purpose is resonating with many boomers as they reach retirement age. He points to the raising rate of volunteerism in the U.S. boomer population as evidence of this generation’s need to find meaning in their lives. While the COVID-19 pandemic may be impacting our traditional ways of volunteering, according to Pink ‘volunteer work is nourishing people in ways that paid work simply is not’. Canada is experiencing something similar. A study conducted by Statistics Canada reported the rate of volunteerism was highest amongst Canada’s older population with volunteers aged 65 to 74 logging 231 hours annually, the highest across all age groups in the study.

I think Pink’s view of modern-day motivation drivers is worth your time. He coins the term ‘purpose maximization’. With the launch of Welcome Home Transitions, I’ve blazed a trail to maximize my purpose. For many boomers and seniors, increasing engagement in volunteerism and entrepreneurship is indicative of their purpose maximization. I highly recommend Pink’s book for anyone reimagining their purpose. And don’t skip the toolkit at the back of the book to put your learnings into action. 

If you’re looking for assistance identifying a senior living option that fits your needs, contact us for a free one-hour consultation.  

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