Your health in retirement: Asking for help

I saw that show, 50 things to do before you die. I would have thought the obvious one was “Shout for help!” -Jimmy Carr

We have all seen the ads of fit, well off retirees lazing on beaches, sailing the world, golfing or playing with grandchildren. It all looks so secure and idyllic. We have been around long enough to know that life is not always like that.

Shouting for help

The main aspects of retirement and retirement planning that most would benefit from include finances and estate planning, physical and mental health, and positive relationships.

Over 60 percent of men have a retirement financial plan but no plan for health or social networks. Men over 65 have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Depression, anxiety, illness and social isolation mean shout for help! Negativity plus stress creates a downward spiral that diminishes cognitive capacity and can be a difficult recovery and so shout sooner rather than later.

The Vancouver based Canadian Men’s Health Foundation has staggering statistics about men and heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, alcohol-related deaths as well as suicide. Apparently, men avoid professional health care testing, counseling, and regular monitoring of risk factors like cholesterol, for example. No wonder senior-aged widows outnumber widowers four to one. If not going for help, make sure insurance coverage is in place, guys.

Keep moving and shaking

When I interviewed relatively newly retired men about this issue, I got these replies:

“I had a ring around the waist from a sedentary job with too much coffee and too many sugary snacks. Goal one got active and lose the ring. I talked to a fitness instructor who said start slowly and build good habits and routines. I met with a nutritionist who suggested cutting out the sugar altogether for a few months at least and keep meals fresh and under so many calories. I got a Fitbit, started walking with a couple of buddies on the trails, skipped desserts and dropped 10 pounds over the summer. I joined a gym in the fall and it has been paying off big time.”

“I walk downtown, do the shopping, bike rather than drive, and have slowed down the crazy pace of work. I sleep a lot better too. I have a garden now, take tennis lessons and I bought a little kayak last spring. Not sure what I will be up to over the winter but I want to get outside as much as I can.”

“I want to follow some dreams while I am able. I have seen too many men my age sidelined with hip or knee problems. I know there is a best before date. I go for massage regularly and physio when I need a tune-up. “Get at ‘er” is my motto now.”

Women need to shout too

Women, on the whole, do much better with the social support piece as well as the mental and physical health, but often leave the financial and estate planning to someone else or ignore it altogether. Only about 52 percent of women have a financial plan. About 40 percent of women will divorce before their 30th anniversary dropping their incomes as much as 45 percent. Becoming a widow can also result in an income loss. Of women over 65, 45 percent are widows. That is why women need to educate themselves and take charge of their financial futures with a team of trusted advisors.

Any suggestions for ‘shouting for help’?


  1. H.E.

    I work now in the university by Contract and it is contract renew every year but I will layoff in Nov. 30th 2015 and I did liver transplant in Sep.1st 2015 can I eligible CPP after November 30 2015 and how much and my DOB is 31 Oct. 1955 and I lived in canada more than 10 years and the last deduction from my salary of CPP was $126.80 and I work fro Sep. 2007

    • Doug Runchey


      You will definitely be eligible for a CPP retirement pension effective Nov 2015, but the how much question depends on what your pensionable earnings were for every year that you contributed to CPP. At the most, it might be around $200 per month.

  2. Alex

    1.A person with average annual income who lived in canada for 40 years , from what plans and ways can get retirement except CPP , OAS ,GIS and RRSP ? how about if someone have more than 100K income?

    2.what is workplace pension and how they calculated workplace pension to give a person amount for retirement ?


  3. Donna McCaw

    Get in touch with Service Canada to find out what your CPP will be. Register on-line and make a request.
    Ask your employer for information on your pension. Find out what kind of pension it is and what you are eligible for and when.

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