Are You Ready To Become a Snowbird?
Retired Sault Ste.Marie elementary school teacher, Marilyn Patterson, has been a local champion for CARP (Canadian Association for Retired Persons), going on 11 years. CARP is a national voice representing the interests of folks 45 yrs. and up advocating on a wide range of issues, including an aging population, affordable and timely health care, pension reform, the rights of older citizens, workers and drivers, as well as consumer protection. In the United States, CARP’s sister organization is AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). CARP was founded in Toronto, Ontario by Lillian and Murray Morgenthau in 1985.
Numbers of registered Canadians carrying CARP memberships continue to grow nationally. ‘There are 400,000+ CARP Members across Canada and we are building a strong spirit of community and inclusiveness within our Membership. CARP celebrates people of all backgrounds, gender, values, abilities, family status, age, religious beliefs and sexual orientation.’ (carp.ca)
Marilyn Patterson shared ” there is a current national initiative with CARP to grow the membership to one million within 3-5 years”. Marilyn further shared that “Chapter 15, which is the local CARP chapter, encompasses the Sault and area, and presently has close to 800 members.”
One of the benefits for CARP members, is overall rate reduction for travel insurance, car rentals, hotel accommodations, health gear, mobility devices and more. CARP’s mandate is to provide advocacy for its’ members by lobbying government for meaningful dialogue regarding issues specific to its’ membership. Travel and Health Insurance have been important topics for CARP. ‘Canadians made more than 20 million overnight trips to the U.S. in 2010. Hundreds of thousands of them spent more than a month in southern U.S. states, thus classifying them by the term, a ‘snowbird’.
The top five snowbird destinations are Florida,Arizona,California,Hawaii and Texas. Florida is the most popular state for Canadian snowbirds, according to the Canadian Snowbird Association. More than half-million Canadians spend more than one month annually in The Sunshine State. Little wonder, given the winter of 2015 in the Great White North.
In February, 2015, CARP released a report of a survey conducted within its’ membership. Key findings of CARP Health Survey Poll Report include ,”Two thirds agree Canadians don’t have timely access to care and a substantial minority has experienced this themselves, especially with respect to specialists. They wait longer than 2 months to see a specialist and a week to see their family doctors.”
As more and more individuals who identify as ‘baby-boomers’ find themselves in the category of ‘aging population’, the work of CARP will continue to be relevant. “As an organization, CARP relies on annual dues from its’ members” shared Marilyn Patterson,” and membership includes 9 issues of Zoomer magazine.” Zoomer is a lifestyle magazine targeted at Canadians 45 years and up.
“With a growing membership, CARP can continue advocating with a stronger voice in Ottawa.” further adding “Susan Eng, is CARP’s VP for advocacy”. Susan Eng is a broadcaster with Zoomermedia.ca and is often a featured guest on national news radio and television programmes, including CBC, Vision TV, and more.
“Our local CARP chapter meets 4 times per year. Twice in the spring, and twice in the fall”. said Marilyn, adding “Many of the members are snowbirds”. As Chair for the CARP Chapter 15, Marilyn Patterson, encourages people to consider the benefits of a CARP membership. “CARP is a way for retired persons to set priorities for community, especially on issues and ideas that are of importance to our aging population”. CARP was founded in Toronto, Ontario by Lillian and Murray Morgenthau in 1985. Moses Znaimer was elected President of the Association during the Annual General Meeting in 2009. Moses Znaimer is also CEO of Zoomer Media Limited, which publishes Zoomer Magazine and provides back office, IT, marketing and media services to CARP.
Marilyn Patterson’s wish list includes finding a volunteer with social media skills, to help keep the local CARP website link current. “If there is anyone in the Sault that would like to take this on, it would be a great service to the local chapter.” shared Marilyn Patterson. Marilyn will be scheduling the first spring meeting in 2015 very soon. Anyone interested in more information can visit the CARP website at http://www.carp.ca or by contacting Marilyn Patterson at 705-949-2299.