Taking Time for Themselves: Boomers Redefine Retirement
The baby boomers have worked and lived hard through their careers and family-raising years. As they begin to retire, they are ready to take time for themselves to do activities that interest them
While the list of activities and things baby boomers are willing, able and ready to do in retirement is endless, the following items are right in the back yards of those living in North Canton.
History seems to be of great interest to the boomers, and there are several ways to go back in time and visit eras gone by. There are a slew of history-related museums in Stark County, including the First Lady’s and the Canton Classic Car museum, both in downtown Canton. In North Canton, there is the Hoover Historical Center on the grounds of Walsh University and there is the North Canton Heritage Society.
The Heritage Society has a number of options for boomers. First, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities such as helping with displays, doing research, working on collections, cataloging and organizing collections, computer work, scanning old photographs, transferring video tapes to DVDs, and filing in the office. In addition, the Heritage Society can help boomers track down their own family tree.
“We are a resource for genealogy and histories of the earlier families that lived here in North Canton," said Heritage Society Executive Director Kathy Fernandez said. “We do have resources to help locate families that lived here in the early 1900s. Also, for those who just don’t know how to get started, we can help them with some basic tools.”
Another option for revisiting history: Buy a classic car and take the time to cruise. Northwest Auto on Whipple Avenue has classis cars galore. There are numerous classic car shows all over Ohio and the United States and in North Canton. A car show is held regularly at Quaker Steak & Lube near The Strip and then there is a weekly show held in the Marc’s plaza on Cleveland Avenue.
Maintaining or bettering one’s health is of vital importance to the boomers. The North Canton YMCA has exercise options for those in good health to those with arthritis or those recovering from illness such as cancer.
“There is an exercise option for just about all physical conditions and situations,” said Debbie Goldthorpe, associate executive director. “Some people may have conditions such as arthritis or bad knees or shoulders. Some may need a functional fitness program that works on the things you need to do in everyday life, such as building strength to bend or improving cardio.”
Strength, balance and flexibility are the big three for exercise programs for those between 60 to 65 years old. Goldthorpe recommends you accept your current fitness level as a starting point and get started in an appropriate exercise program.
The YMCA has plenty of staff to help you make decisions on where to start. As proof that you can exercise at any age, there is a 92-year-old who walks the indoor walking track, an 89-year old who does the rowing machine and a 72-year-old in the kickboxing classes.
Stark Parks also offers exercise opportunities with more than 70 miles of walking and hiking trails, many of which go right through North Canton. There are plans in the works to connect the current walking trail starting at Washington Square to Hoover Park, Dogwood Park, the YMCA and east to the new Schneider Park in Plain Township, among other locations.
Boomers can also embrace their creative genius with art classes at one of the new art studios in downtown Canton or start volunteering with the Little Art Gallery here in North Canton. The Little Art Gallery also holds art classes several times throughout the year. There is also a creative outlet using the various online social media outlets by setting up a Facebook page, start a Twitter following or upload digital photos on Flickr.
Many boomers want to start a new career and open their own business. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Kent State Stark can help with counseling and classes on everything from accounting to start-up needs to inventory setup.
For boomers who want to take it a bit slower in retirement, the North Canton Senior Citizens Group offers a place to play cards two times a week. The group plays 500, Euchre and Bridge.
The opportunities are endless to find intriguing ideas and insights. One outlet is a new TV show called My Generation on PBS that is sponsored by AARP and is geared toward people 50 and older.