- BC Games
North Shore Seniors: 'later daters,' finances and scooter regulations
It’s never too late to date
Whether you’re widowed or newly divorced, the idea of dating after decades spent with a partner can be daunting. But Jane Carstens of Matchmaker For Hire has helped many singles 55 and older find love again. We caught up with the professional matchmaker by phone to chat about how to approach being a “later dater” and gleaned these simple tips:
1) Figure out what your priorities are. For example, you might already be involved with volunteering, community groups, grandkids. Ask yourself how much time you have to invest in dating and how you see it realistically meshing with your established routines.
2) Contemplate what kind of lifestyle makes you happiest. Are you looking for someone to travel with; do you like to play tennis at the local club; would you enjoy sharing the kitchen and cooking together? Once you know what would complement your interests, you can look for your match in the right places.
3) Catch up with old friends: Start a Facebook account, email someone you haven’t seen in years or go to that reunion.
4) Open up to friends and family that you are interested in dating again. You’d be surprised how supportive and connected your circle can be.
5) Approach someone while out on errands and just start a conversation.
6) Get out of the house; there’s plenty to do solo. Go to a meet-up, join an interest group or grab a bite. “You can’t meet someone staying at home,” jokes Carstens. She suggests taking a seat at the bar versus a table to allow people to easily join you.
7) Don’t get hung up on fears. If you don’t know the protocol (who pays for what, when to kiss etc.), just ask a friend. But acting on your instincts is equally important for making a genuine connection. Who cares what the rules are; if it feels right, do it.
And that person is out there: Carstens asks each of her clients whether they would ever choose to get married again. Ninety per cent say that with the right person, they would.
- Kelsey Klassen
Helping seniors deal with debt
In July CBC Radio reported that 59 per cent of Canadian retirees now carry debt. This is up sharply from a Ipsos-Reid poll result in February which stated one-third of Canadian households in the 65+ age group were in debt. On average seniors increased their debt burden by 15 per cent over the previous year.
Debt-free retirement is proving to be elusive for many Canadians.
What solutions are available? Bankruptcy is a favoured course: the Vanier Institute of the Family reports Canada’s highest insolvency rate is the 65+ demographic. But other less drastic alternatives such as credit counselling, debt settlement, consolidation, money coaching and so on may be more appropriate.
How to knowledgeably hit upon the right way out? Always look for independent and objective advice. That’s easy enough to say but often difficult to determine.
So here are some tips:
Does the advisor work on a fee-only basis? If you’re paying the fee then the advisor works for you. That’s independence.
Does the advisor have a bias toward one option or another? There are lots of advisors who act as agents and sometimes charge a fee at both ends for sending you off in a certain direction. Always ask. If the answer is yes, that’s not independence.
Does the advisor disparage some service providers? Trustees, credit counsellors, debt settlement companies, lenders, mortgage brokers, money coaches, etc. all perform valued functions. What you’re trying to figure out is which is best suited to resolve your situation. So if you go to someone who slams certain options, the first thing you should be thinking is, “hey, why is this guy knocking such-and-such: maybe such-and-such is really who I should be speaking with.” An independent advisor’s duty is to help you find the most appropriate solution for your circumstances.
Are the advisor’s name and the company name the same? It’s not an ego thing. What it does mean is that the advisor is confident enough of the service that he or she backs it up personally.
- B.H. (Brian) Pybus is an independent personal debt advisor. He may be reached at debtfreefiftyfiveplus.ca.
Scooter regulation plan runs out of juice
A bid by the town of Sidney to regulate the use of mobility scooters on sidewalks was rejected in a split vote by local politicians last Wednesday.
On the advice of the executive, delegates to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention voted to drop a request for provincial licensing of sidewalk scooters, and to exclude motorized wheelchairs from any restrictions. But a majority of delegates voted against any kind of regulation.
Sidney Mayor Larry Cross urged support, telling delegates there has been one fatality in his community, and two “serious rollovers” this past summer as scooters shared sidewalks with pedestrians.
“We’re kind of the canary in the mine in terms of the aging population, and the incidents and conflicts can only grow over time,” Cross said.
Other council members were unimpressed.
“If you have a problem with your sidewalks and people are rolling over, maybe you need to fix the sidewalks,” said Langley Township councillor Bob Long. “There are motorized bicycles, so is that the next thing, we’re going to license bicycles?”
Sidney councillor Melissa Hailey said the community has “wonderful sidewalks,” but education and some regulation is needed.
“There is no real legislation or any ability to deal with unsafe scootering on our sidewalks,” Hailey said. “Drinking and scootering is very hard to enforce.”
Nelson councillor Robin Cherbo said some solution is needed. His community has narrow sidewalks and some scooter users take to the roadway, without flags or lights.
Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski was opposed, after talking with scooter and wheelchair users in his community.
Saanich councillor Vic Derman agreed that scooter users and pedestrians need education, but communities should focus on local improvements to give scooter users more safe routes.
- Tom Fletcher