Wednesday, 21 June 2017

When Retirement Provides Opportunities

One of the things I am really enjoying about being a freelance writer is the amount I am learning through searching for suitable opportunities for freelance writing jobs. Yesterday I was reading a certain website in order to decide whether it was suitable for my writing niche when I had the joy of stumbling upon an inspiring OT. In fact, she is one of the pioneers in the profession of occupational therapy.

The title of the article caught my attention. This lady is working at 92 years old. Wow. So many consider retirement age to be 60 or 65 years of age. Even today I read someone's question on FaceBook asking about the limits of retirement.

While for some, retirement is about reducing how much one does, taking it easy, winding down and just enjoying life until you leave this world, for others, retirement is often just the beginning. The beginning of a new phase in life where they have the opportunity to draw on their life experience to continue to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

I have seen this attitude in some of my relatives and now once more in a fellow OT. Barbara Beskind had a love of inventing. As a young girl, her initial inventions were of toys during the war time. By 10 years old she had a desire to become an inventor. As the various articles about her relay, Barbara was told that being an inventor required an engineering degree which was not a possibility for women at the time. She did not give up on her dream though. Her first training was in home economics. From there she signed up for the army and became an occupational therapist. She worked in the army for a few decades, rising up to the level of major. When she retired, she opened a private practice.

Now occupational therapy is an incredible profession that certainly has plenty of scope for inventing. Barbara used her love of inventing to design and patent several items for children with learning difficulties. Then, at the age of 89, she finally landed her dream job. A job with a company that enables her to spend her time doing what she loves most, inventing.

Barabara is not a completely healthy 92 year old. Legally blind due to maccula degeneration, Barbara uses her occupational therapy training and insight gained from her stage in the life cycle together with her visual deficit to design items to assist the elderly and visually impaired. One of the items mentioned is her adaptation of her nordic walking sticks.

In OT, building up grips, marking items in order to enable the visually impaired to identify them is part and parcel of our profession. However, not all OTs are working at 92 years old. What an inspiring OT.

You can learn more about Barbara in this video.





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