OPC program helps seniors follow their passions in retirement

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 9, 2018

 Psychologist Dr. Sandra Schiff speaks to Older Persons’ Commission members Dec. 20 about enjoying the holidays and not stressing over gift giving and family relationships. The Holiday Stress seminar was part of the Rewired Not Retired series held at the OPC each month.

Psychologist Dr. Sandra Schiff speaks to Older Persons’ Commission members Dec. 20 about enjoying the holidays and not stressing over gift giving and family relationships. The Holiday Stress seminar was part of the Rewired Not Retired series held at the OPC each month.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

ROCHESTER — Retirement is something that most people look forward to, but when the time actually comes to stop working, it can easily leave some feeling a little lost.

“A lot of people make plans financially, but they don’t plan for what they are going to do in retirement,” said Judy Hickman, evening programmer for the Older Persons’ Commission. “It’s not like the old days, when people who retired stayed home and maybe played a little golf. Now there are so many choices out there.”

Because retirement today is very different from what it was in the past, it can be challenging for many people to wrap their heads around. That’s where the OPC’s Rewired Not Retired program comes in.

“Many of the retirees now don’t follow those old paradigms or those outdated societal norms. They are wanting to reinvent themselves in retirement, so our goal is really to provide support and direction to boomers in transition or who may be thinking about transitioning,” Older Persons’ Commission Executive Director Renee Cortright said.

The OPC launched its Rewired Not Retired program in October 2016 to help people explore their passions and strengths to determine a post-retirement path.

“That path includes tapping into their passions, their talents and skills, possibly volunteerism, travel or changing careers, and that is the goal of the Rewired Not Retired program,” Cortright explained.

Each month, the OPC hosts a Rewired Not Retired program in the evening for OPC members to learn about various topics and connect with others. And with nearly 10,000 baby boomers retiring daily in the United States, the program has proved to be popular.

“Right now, 300 people celebrate their 65th birthday each day in Michigan. This is going to continue for the next 20 years. These baby boomers are projected to grow,” Cortright said.

“So it has been very popular,” Hickman added. “We probably get 50 attendees for each of the meetings, and it is growing. People are really interested in seeing what we are doing.”

The series has covered everything from travel and finding passion to turning a hobby into a business, downsizing and lifelong learning.    

In the new year, the series invites OPC members to explore “Retiring with Purpose and Balance” 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the OPC. The February topic will educate guests on how to start a small business. There is a $1 fee to attend each meeting.

“There’s more that we want to do, so I know we are going to see the program grow,” Hickman said. “We will just explore different avenues and see what else we want to do and see what the people want.”

The OPC is located at 650 Letica Drive in Rochester. For more information, or to reserve a seat for an upcoming Rewired Not Retired program, call the OPC at (248) 656-1403, ext. 0.