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Dec. 11, 2020, 4:59 a.m. EST

How the pandemic steered some older people into a life of purpose

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Erin Flynn Jay

This article is reprinted by permission from  .

When Amie Clark, founder of the senior living site TheSeniorList, surveyed over 10,000 people over 60 about their struggles and concerns during COVID-19 , she came away with one pleasant surprise: A third of the respondents said they are living a more purposeful life now, in a multitude of ways.

What’s more, more than 85% of those surveyed said that living a purposeful life is either extremely important or very important.

“Whether exploring new interests, surrounding themselves with positive people or starting conversations with new people, they are  doing what it takes to live the purpose-driven life  they desire,” says Clark, about  TheSeniorList  survey’s results.

Clark’s interpretation of TheSeniorList’s survey findings is that older people may be giving more thought and attention these days to what makes them happy and feel fulfilled.

Take Candace Rivero, who is 65 and semiretired and living in an RV. She teaches RV driving lessons and transports RVs from manufacturers to dealers. Right now, Rivero is traveling with a 63-year-old friend who sold her Nashville house and bought an RV.

“She is not comfortable driving it, so she and I are traveling together, and I am doing all the driving for her,” Rivero says.

Home for them this month is Crestview Fla., in the Florida panhandle.

“We dodged the Delta hurricane by moving [the RV] farther inland for a few days,” Rivero says. 

Also see: We retired to Athens without speaking Greek — here’s how we got the easy travel and affordable life we wanted

Rivero would love to RV in a smaller unit in Mexico but that’s off the agenda for now due to pandemic travel restrictions.

Her advice about finding your purpose in the pandemic: “your life, NOW, today, this week, this YEAR … no matter what the outside circumstances are. There will always be outside circumstances.” 

Retirees John and Debbie Stratz are finding purpose by helping neighbors in their Palm Springs, Calif., gated community. For instance, they’ve picked up groceries for those who couldn’t go out.

 “We’re all in this together,” says John.

He was a pharmaceutical sales executive for 30 years and she owned a graphic-design company for 20 years. They each tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-August and have since recovered.

“We were lucky that we had mild symptoms. I am grateful to be here; grateful that I can talk to my grandchildren on FaceTime,” says Debbie. 

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