More than 15 percent of Iowa’s population is already at least 65 years old and within the next decade, it’ll be more than 20 percent. Some of those senior citizens are finding new purpose and meaning in their later years through a program called Life Reimagined.
Mark Chapman with AARP will lead two workshops in Iowa this week as part of the program. “People plan for retirement by looking at their money and their health, but they don’t always think about what they want to do and who they want to be,” Chapman says. “Life Reimagined is about helping you focus in on your possibilities and be intentional about your ‘what’s next.’ It’s all about your ‘what’s next’ and making it happen.”
The workshops run three hours and aim to help a person find a sense of purpose. The typical attendees range in age from 40 to 60, but people much younger are encouraged to attend. “We have folks who are 65 who attend and then immediately say, ‘Can my 30-year-old attend?'” Chapman says. “These are life transition skills that we’re providing and tools that will help you with any transition. This is all about someone who is anticipating a transition or maybe they’re already in a transition. It could be job, it could be career, it could be caregiving.”
Chapman, who attended Graceland College in Lamoni, says for the first time in history, there’s a new phase in our lives between work and old age and retirement isn’t really even a good word for it. “It’s been driven by longevity, technology, health, caregiving, sandwich generations, disruption of work,” Chapman says, “and it’s fraught with transitions but also possibility.”
He says a growing number of Iowans are realizing there’s much life left to be lived after navigating adulthood and the traditional career path. The workshops will be held on Wednesday in Cedar Rapids and Thursday in Des Moines. Learn more at: www.lifereimagined.org.