Updated: 23/08/2003; 12:01:13 PM.
What is the challenge that faces us as the boomers get old?

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Questions for all those who plan to run for office in the upcoming PEI Election

1. The economy - In the next 4 years (the life of the government) the potato processing side of our economy will collapse and will take down its surrounding infrastructure. As it collapses - US markets will close, there will be a drought/flood/ more disease etc, it will try even harder to survive and threaten our water and environment even further.

Will the new government use up all its resources to "save the jobs" or will it work to create an alternatives such as a local food system?

If they choose to "save the jobs" they risk the new future of tourism - eco tourism. A last ditch attempt to "save the jobs" will threaten in turn our landscape and will turn away the real future for this sector. The days of the beach holiday where families are satisfied with a cottage with 7 others on the Brackley Point Road are over as well - demography and shifts in values are seeing to that. Golf is also oversold and over capitalized.

Will the new government spend all their time and money in keeping this side of tourism alive and "saving the jobs" or will it support eco tourism that fits who we are and where the market is going?

We are seeing the end of the lobster fishery this year. The processors have not sold the spring inventory - changes in world taste and too much of  a production based approach - the fall season has seen stocks collapse. The industry is also over capitalized. There are too many mussels in the bays and they do not have enough feed - notice how small they are. There was huge die off of Malpeque oysters this spring. Are you looking at the reasons for this failure?

Will government "save the jobs" in the fishery? There are already $100 million in loan guarantees out to this sector alone.

Will we waste our limited resources on saving what cannot be saved or will we build the new?

Do we understand that it is our economy that produces the cash to pay for the education and healthcare that we feel is so important

2. Energy - Do we understand that we can break fee from oil by going to wind? Do we understand what this type of freedom might mean. Who chooses gas and oil over wind? Tell me why you prefer to be a slave to the oil industry when we could be free?

3. Education - is the issue about keeping schools open or is the issue how badly our kids are doing? Why is there no data available on drop out rates? Why will we not allow measurement? Why do we sit by and allow 40% of Islanders to leave school basically unable to read and write. Is the issue money? In the US they have poured money into this problem and have seen no improvement! Why are boys doing so badly? If more than 30% of boys are on drugs to get them through the school day is it the boys or the system?

Answer these question please Mr Politician before you waffle about money, school opening and class size

4. Health care - Our health care system now costs over 400 million a year and is growing exponentially faster than our economy. If this trend continues in 4 years time Healthcare will cost more than 60% of our budget. Don't talk about services anymore - tell me if you understand this dynamic! Tell me how you see what we have to do to get this growth stopped. Tell me what your plans are if you fail.

Why do you not talk about the fact that we spend half the total lifetime spend on care in the last 6 months of life in a vain attempt to defeat death. That is about 200 million a year! Tell me how you plan to help us and the medical profession deal with this most important cost driver.

Tell me that as our population ages and we have the oldest group in North America that you have a strategy for seniors that will shift them from being dependents to contributing members of society.

Tell me that you understand that drug use is growing at more than 9% compounded and will soon be the # 1 cost in the system. Tell me that you understand that most of this drug use is for lifestyle issues such as depression, hypertension and cholesterol. Tell me that you understand the research that these so called threats are minor when compared to our personal ability to cope.

Tell me that you understand that most of our ability to cope, to learn and to think is set by the age of 6. Tell me how you intend to shift resources to get behind this knowledge.


Tell me that you understand that it is not business as usual. Tell me that you understand that we are coming to end of the industrial system Tell me that you can see how fragile our world is today. Tell me that you would, like to ask us to help.

My sadness is that of course the election will not be fought around these questions but about the same old stuff of my job versus yours - of being bribed with our own money - of offering simple solutions to complex problems - of blaming the others.

It is even more sad that we have run out of time. In the next 4 years - the life of the next government - the forces will converge. Our resource based economy will fail and our primary social institutions will fail as well.

But we can surely attempt to change the political conversation? Is this not our responsibility. Politicians do not lead they follow.

Can we not use the tool of the internet to talk about the real issues? Why not pillory those who talk rubbish. Why not support those who talk sense?



11:43:11 AM    comment []

Thursday, July 10, 2003

What is it about Mothers and Daughters? Robin's mother is a much larger and more destructive figure in her life than her breast cancer. Not a day goes by with out some hurtful exchange or some mood, seeping across the property to depress us all. We built a Granny flat for Ann next to her house but the relationhsip is so awful between the two that Ann is having to move out this weekend. Both are miserable. While some distance will be good, only the grave - and I am not even sure of that - will reduce this sense of guilt on Robin's part that she cannot meet her mother's needs and her mother's anger that her needs are not met.

As we have struggled to make this work, I have thought aboiut all my close firends and have come to the conclusion that for the majority, their mothers are either domineering control freaks who treat their middle aged daughter as if she was three or are themselves pathetic 4 year old children who need the constant attention of their daughters. Whatever it is a feel bad situation.

On the surface men and fatrhers often appear to be larger than life and appear to dominate. But this does not last long in many families. The power lines shift especially in middle life. I am finding a "Grendel" like character in many older women. Some powerful set of needs, unfulilled in the active life span, emerge in later life and take over. Many of my women contemporaries show signs of becoming just like their mothers!

It was of course Oscar Wilde who said that "Every woman's greatest fear is that she will turn out like her mother. It is every woman's greatest tragedy that she often does."


7:07:38 AM    comment []

Friday, May 02, 2003

Palliative Care Protocol - dying with dignity and grace.

snip from wiki:

The needs of the young often take precedence in our society. But one of those needs is to understand and appreciate how short and precious life is. Can a person who has cared for a dying Elder really remain ignorant of their own death, or casually invoke violence on others by law or by their own hand?

[Shiny Glass Beads]

Hope starts a course on being a palliative care worker next week. She is 25

6:51:28 AM    comment []

Friday, March 28, 2003

Searching for the Family
I have been working on a research proposal to study the family and had this aha at least an aha for me today. Does the family exist anymore? So here are my musings
If we really look at the data for North America (WASPS) the family as we think of it is already dead! What I mean by the "family" is a two parent unit with at least one grandparent so that there are three generations involved all providing value to each other as a social unit in a rough world. We think that this is the family and I suspect that we think that we should hold this up as a model. Little knowing of course that for more than 4 million years we raised our children and did our work in a small 30-5 person unit that combined work and society called a tribe. Little knowing that all primates except us still use this arrangement. My aha was maybe that .our search for June Cleaver is getting in the way of the fact that June is dead and was never a good model anyway I wonder if looking for June obscures a possible return to the tribe and the deinstitutionalization at last of our western society?
What are the remnants of June today? What is the reality today? Most WASP families ( Most immigrant families still adhere to the larger extended model - by the way look at how much better their kids are doing at school) have only one parent - female (why are boys in trouble?) Very few have a grandparent in the mix and most grandparents are often not even in the same city. Elderly parents are also increasingly institutionalized.I fear that our society is becoming a society of one who interacts only with institutions and not with real people.
Children our greatest asset have become for most of us a huge economic drain. In their younger years they go to expensive daycare, they demand fashion and toys and have a closer connection to TV than to any other influence. As teens they need even more economic support: on PEI every teen has to have a car. If they go onto university the drain is even greater. Then after a few years on their own they often return home - sometime as single parents - and seek to be looked after all over again!!!! When do our children grow into adults? No wonder our wasp birthrate is below replacement. That itself is a sign of a powerful set of forces.
Tell that I am exaggerating. What do the stats tell us?
So long as we assume that the June Cleaver Family is alive, we think that we can and should go back to it. We feel guilt but we know that we cannot go back.  So long as I feel that I should be somehow living my grandparent's life, I am stuck. Here is the aspiration aspect - We want to strive for a better social unit. We can see a new model in business - the Wal- Mart response model. Can we see the new family emerging????? It must be but so long as we think that the old family is it, we won't be able to see the new one.
Be assured that a new unit is emerging and will emerge. If we can describe it, it will become real for many people very quickly - they will aspirationally jump to a model that works. The prize is a big one for us as people, for business and for our nation.
This may then end the idea that we are only a disconnected individual whose only relationships are at work, whose children are in daycare and whose parents are in a home and whose protector is the state. For I sense that it is our growing dependence on institutions that has played a major role in why the 1950's family has collapsed - it may also be worth studying these trends as well. It is surely important to know why we have come to this.
Putnam blames work and TV. He sees TV as a relationship blocker and as a community influence that drives a world of things over relationships and a world of passivity over exploration. I include for blame our school system where we teach the institutional Cartesian model as the main curriculum and where we deny all that we know about primate learning process. Kids who don't fit are drugged. (30%?) I blame Daycare where we rely on a few strangers to park our small children at the most important learning period of their lives. Most of all we need to ask ourselves about the pull of the workplace out of the home where work has replaced most other relationships and has broken the bond of parent child and in many cases between spouses. Why have we put away all other relationships for those at work?
I bet that we are going to find that the tribe (a combined social and economic unit) is emerging again. You see this is the idea of Free Agent Nation where up to 50 million North Americans have left the traditional workplace and work for themselves mainly at home and who have set up networks of support for both work and social issues such as their kids and parents. I feel this among many of blogging out there who have built working relationships out of personal relationships. I have been touched at the help that I have received from many of you and I feel good that I can reach out in a way that is not possible in the traditional work place. I sense that blogging will itself create little tribes of co workers who also really care for each other. The more we work at home, the more we interact in a tribal way with our kids. I work with my son - it is my greatest joy. mainly he teaches me.
Daniel Pink I think provides us with a model for finding the new family. Pink himself went around America and discovered this group, saw its common elements and gave it a label. All of us who live like this suddenly understood what we were  doing and how to do this better. We have a model and with a model we have power.
His book is having a profound impact as it enables individuals who thought that they were alone to see that theory make up a pattern. I suspect that the new family is located in this group who have healed the breach between work and life and who aspire to a living and not a paycheck. These people reject all institutions as do most of our kids. I wonder if we looked with fresh eyes that we might see that for many of us  - a new family based on the tribe is emerging and that it is something that if we talk about more, will become more clear and more helpful

11:19:55 AM    comment []

Monday, December 30, 2002

The law of "the cycle of adoption" suggest that once a new trend has reached about 10% of "Innovators and the Early Adopters" ( a sign of a "Tipping Point") it has a chance of being picked up by the mainstream. This applies to PC's, fashion, movies whatever.

This thorough report shows that over 65% of mainstream US Citizens and more than 50% of Seniors now look to the internet as the primary source of information.

"Internet users are very likely to say that they expect the Web to be a source of information on health care, government agencies, news, and shopping. About 80% of Internet users say they expect the Web to have information in these topic areas. These high expectations are driven by experience. Of Internet users who have sought information from the Web on these topics, about three-fourths have had positive experiences in finding what they need. For many of these Internet users, the Net is the first place to which they will turn next time they need information about a government service or health care.

Here is how Americans line up when probed about specific topics and whether they think the Internet will satisfy their information needs:

  • For information or services from a government agency, 65% of all Americans expect the Web to have that information; 82% of Internet users say this and 39% of non-users say this.

  • In the realm of electronic commerce, 63% of all Americans expect that a business will have a Web site that gives them information about a product they are considering buying. Four out of five (79%) of Internet users say this and 38% of non-users say this.

  • For news, 69% of Americans expect to be able to find reliable, up-to-date news online; 85% of Internet users say this, compared with 43% of non-Internet users.

  • For health care information, 67% of Americans expect that they can find reliable information about health or medical conditions online; 81% of Internet users say this versus 45% of non-Internet users.

    Overall, 84% of all Americans have an expectation of finding information online in at least one of these four topical areas. That translates into nearly all Internet users (97%) and most non-Internet users (64%). "

    What this tells me is that the time is now right to roll out TeleHealth and other major shifts in delivery such as education, that have been waiting, correctly I think, for a mass market to be ready.

  • 9:08:04 AM    comment []

    Friday, December 20, 2002

    If Canadians are this ready to look for health information online, then they are ready for Telehealth.

    7:13:22 AM    comment []

    Sunday, December 15, 2002

    Retirement at 65 to end as pensions gap looms. UK latest: Crisis over pensions as 13 million people fail to save enough to live on. [Guardian Unlimited]

    What kind of work will we seek when we are seniors?

    Boomers do not see themselves as “Old” and they will seek a more active life than their parents. Many will retire at 55 and will see “retirement” as merely the beginning of an entirely new way of working. Meaningful work will be an essential factor in keeping the middle-aged and seniors healthy. At the moment, men are at risk of losing their key role and self identity as those over 55 are shut out of the labour force. “What do you do?” is still the first question that we are asked. Not having a role is a serious impediment to our health, especially for men who so closely link themselves with paid work.


    What kind of work? Will seniors just be an addition to the unemployment pool? No seniors will have different reasons for working and will seek a different type of work. No longer tied too closely to economic necessity, they will choose to work in areas that appeal to them as individuals.


    They will work to live and not live to work.


    They represent an important community restoring force and a new kind of labour pool. Much of what they want to do is to give back to their community. Their need to work is less driven by a need for income and more driven by a need for achieving purpose, role, recognition and fellowship. People who have these things tend not to be ill.


    Role is emerging as an important health factor. A new body of research is being developed to examine the linkages between the elderly having control of key roles and their health and mortality. “… identity theory specifies that they will be able to find a deep sense of meaning and purpose in life. This is important because maintaining a sense of personal meaning may have health protective effects.”[11] As such, encouraging seniors to work will have a positive health outcome. We will examine some options to meet this role need later.



    11:16:15 AM    comment []

    © Copyright 2003 Robert Paterson.
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