Building Social Capital for Retirement

What will it take to care for ourselves, others, and our communities as we age?

How might inter-generational dialogue spark new ways of sharing resources and innovative retirement planning?

Our June session began with a discussion on our hopes and challenges regarding our own retirement and our hopes for the future.


As a point of reference, Christine McMillan, a long term advocate for seniors and people with disabilities spoke of her experience starting a house for elderly people, the Oasis Senior Support Living Inc., a not-for-profit organization that partners with the owners of apartment buildings occupied by seniors to provide affordable onsite services similar to those offered in retirement homes. Christine shared the origin and evolution story of the grassroots Oasis senior home. This stimulated our thinking about the ways we can leverage community resources to improve quality of life for seniors and reduce public costs. She spoke of cooperating with public services such as the VON in order to deliver care that was affordable. It was through working with local government and a progressive housing corporation that services could be delivered and rent could be kept low for the tenants.

We followed Christine’s presentation with several rounds of discussion focused on various elements of retirement. One of the elements was focused on purpose, and the role of community in sustaining ones purpose when they age. A core theme that emerged from the discussion was the need to have more places of community building where generations can interact, share, and learn from each other.  Other discussions were focused on health, social inclusion, and one’s own purpose as you age.  We discussed the importance of having spaces to tell our stories whether we are youth, mid-career or entering retirement.

Here are Mary’s summary notes from the session, and an overview of the Oasis project.


Mary Pickering has 25 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, focused on building multi-stakeholder relationships to address environmental challenges. Mary is an accredited partnership broker through the international Partnership Brokers Association and has a strong interest in learning more about leveraging community resources. She is concerned about the challenges looming for youth and seniors but also confident that drawing on untapped community resources offer exciting possibilities to improve quality of life for all.