STS looks at ways to improve quality of life

Sask Bulletin
January 29, 2020
By Sunil Pandila, STS President

On behalf of the Superannuated Teachers of Saskatchewan, I would like to bring greetings to all educators, both active and retired, across the province. With the start of a new decade, 2020, we are all going to be in for perfect vision. While I am sure that many humorous correlations will be made to 2020, an attainable vision is just what we need to ensure that there is a high priority placed on education along with many other issues facing Canadians.

The STS has a vision to provide benefits so superannuates can have long and well-deserved years of retirement. These benefits are only available to members upon retirement and they include important elements of a healthy retirement lifestyle such as adequate insurance, sense of belonging to a family, physical activity and support. Advocacy, on behalf of our members, is a key role of the STS. We are also one of the 18 member organizations that are part of the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism. The vision of SSM is to improve the quality of life for older adults. When looking at the population of Saskatchewan, the fastest-growing segment is the 55-plus age group. Older adults now contribute almost $1 billion dollars to the Saskatchewan economy! This is through the amount of time spent volunteering for all sorts of community activities ($400 million), caregiving for elderly parents and grandchildren ($25 million) or going back to work in a second career ($500 million). Can you imagine the financial impact to government if people had to be hired to do all the work that is being done by older adults? Even at minimum wage, we could not afford an additional $1 billion price tag in our province. And yet, Saskatchewan is the only province lagging behind others when it comes to having an infrastructure to deal with issues facing older adults. However, to give credit, it was nice to see the provincial government recently appoint a Minister Responsible for Seniors, the Honourable Warren Kaeding, as a start to listen to the voice of older adults and their concerns.

Recently, the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism published a study, Strategizing for Positive Aging in Saskatchewan, based on two years of gathering information from older adults across the province. This report can be found in its entirety at www.skseniorsmechanism.ca. The report is intended to provide a direction and identify important issues facing the 55-plus community that need to be addressed. The key themes identified were transportation, community involvement, accessibility of services, financial considerations, healthcare and housing. The goal is to assist and be part of a proactive movement that will help to make life better for all of us. This is important as we know that each and every one of us, no matter how young, will all be in this time of life eventually, so it is essential that we lay the groundwork for a brighter future for all citizens of our province. So the vision, now that we have identified key areas, is to start small and help put in place infrastructures and processes to assist with these important issues. And we are prepared to help, as long as there is commitment and two-way communication needed to move forward.

I would like to recognize Michael Kaminski, from Invermay, Saskatchewan, for receiving the award for Advocacy at the Celebrating Seniors Gala held this fall. Michael is a member of the STS and served for many years on the the STS Executive. Congratulations Michael and thank you for your contributions on behalf of older adults across the province.

On behalf of the STS, I would like to extend our best wishes for a successful school year. For those who may be retiring in the near future, please remember to consider the benefits of joining the STS to enjoy your years of retirement! It is a rewarding time of life but only comes with essential planning and a vision for your retirement. Upon retirement, you will belong to the 11,706 family members of our organization. Thank you to those STF local associations who have taken advantage of our Retirement Lifestyles Planning seminars. The STS has presented several in various locations and had very positive comments about the information to help participants think about transitioning to retirement.

For more information about the STS or the programs and activities we offer, please contact us at 306-373-3879 or visit our website at www.sts.sk.ca.