© Herald photo by Jodi Schellenberg
Rod Thomson looks at his new book, “Move Aside the Octogenarians Have Arrived.” His book explains how staying active after retirement can help keep a person healthier and happier.
If you are retirement age don’t despair -- your life isn’t over.
Rod Thomson, a local author and former teacher, recently wrote a new book called “Move Aside the Octogenarians Have Arrived.”
“I’ve been looking at the post-war baby boom generation.” Thomson said. “It is a huge group of people. I think they are ill prepared for post-retirement.”
The baby boomers have been so concentrated on making money and gathering assets that they have not planned to do anything after retirement, Thomson explained.
His book, he said, is to point out that life doesn’t end after people retire -- they should continue to be contributors to their society until the end of their lives.
“I looked at some of the people I admired,” Thomson said. “They are people who are beyond retirement and are still being very productive in their lives. As a consequence they are happy, probably healthier and very useful to their society. They are mentally satisfied with life.”
He wants people who have retired or who are going to retire to consider their lives after retirement.
“If the baby boom generation doesn’t consider what is going to happen to them for the 30 years they are going to be around after they retire, that’s a pretty miserable existence that is going to be their lot,” Thomson said. “The book is basically directed to that generation. Get off your butt and plan to be a productive person for two or three decades after you retire and you will be far better off.”
His book warns the baby boomer generation to prepare for the future to stave off dementia or “this will be the only book they will ever need for the remainder of their days. By the time that ungenerated generation completes reading of the book, they will be able to begin again, all material being new to them as they will have forgotten what they have read the previous sittings.”
In the book, Thomson tells the stories of many octogenarians who have accomplished a lot in their golden years.
“There are some people in there I wrote about, who are in some cases almost 100 years old and are still independent,” Thomson said.
Some of the people in his book are Jack and Fern Lloyd who spent the majority of their time volunteering in Prince Albert, Oliver Siba of Saskatoon who worked up until 2011 and continues to travel in his RV and is involved in musical entertainment, Lee Gisi of Prince Albert, who was declared dead in 2004 but came back to life at the hospital and went on to help upgrade the east flat area community club and Colin Thomson who has written a number of book and travelled the world.
“There is a couple, Marcel and Mary Krack, who live on 15th Street,” Thomson said. “She is 99 and he is 92.”
The couple uses the Internet for more than looking at emails -- Marcel recently purchased a banjo online.
“They are young enough to be playing around with the Internet and he plays (music) in nursing homes and things like that,” Thomson said. “He is quite a musician. He plays the banjo and the fiddle.
“She doesn’t have a housekeeper,” he added. “When I went to see her, she had just made 22 jars of jam. These are an example of people who are doing things with their life to keep going.”
Another active octogenarian is Charlie Brown, a man who in his 80s built an airplane in his backyard.
“He flew it in his 80s,” Thomson said. “It crashed and he just got up, repaired it and donated it to a museum.”
Reminiscent to the animated movie “Up!” Brown is now building a large kite.
“It is not just a kite you fly out on the pasture -- it is a kite he can fly with it,” Thomson said. “I wouldn’t be surprised me if he does.”
The pages of his book are filled with the amazing stories of many other octogenarians, he said.
“It is a warning to he baby boomers,” Thomson said. “Try taking a page from these brief biographies and improve your life. You will never regret it, nor will your spouse or your children.”
Retirement is not something to look forward to if you have nothing to do, he said.
“I point out toward the end, the options for them if they are not going to do something productive, they are probably just going to spend more time in a geriatric centre in their old age in better health physically and they are going to last longer as geriatrics,” Thomson said. “That’s not a very good future.”
For fun, Thomson points out some people from the Bible, how old they lived to be and how old they were when they had children.
“Modern medicine has failed to achieve these life standards even after the pharmaceutical companies have pumped hundreds of tons of chemicals into the bodies of most of us who have survived this onslaught of science,” Thomson’s book states.
In the epilogue, Thomson pays tribute to the people octogenarians have lost through his friend’s daughter Carol McTaggart.
“Children are supposed to outlive their parents but fate, too frequently deals a blow that can, and usually does, gnaw away a large chunk of that old heart that has beat so loudly and firmly in the love for that child,” Thomson said. “Carol was the oldest child. She represents those we mourn. It is appropriate this book close by paying tribute to all those we love and miss, with whom we shared so much of our life and to whom we owe so much or being what we are.”
In the end, Thomson just wants to make the next generation aware of how to stay healthy and active in their golden years.
“I hope this will jar and shock those post-war baby boomers into being mentally prepared to produce and be of service to mankind in their final decades on this planet,” Thomson said. “I hope they will look at their life and plan for their productivity following retirement. It is to urge the ones entering retirement now to be useful to your community and useful to your fellow man or citizen.”
Anyone interested in purchasing Thomson’s book can contact him at email@example.com.