Mary Coupland says she’s a glass-half-full kind of a person, even in a pandemic.
So while COVID-19 is taking her annual Road Ahead from in-person to virtual events, she’s looking optimistically for proverbial silver linings even if she’s not seeing the people she hopes to help face-to-face.
“Will I miss seeing them? Totally — I love when I can get out and see the people,” Coupland said.
“We can’t do the Road Ahead in person, but the good news is we have an opportunity to reach more people with this information.”
Road Ahead each year brings residents in contact with authorities in myriad fields, from legal and estate care planning experts to professionals in health, senior housing and finances, at no cost.
“We all know we’re going to get older … (but) what does growing old really mean?” Coupland said. “What’s it entail?”
This year’s event is going all online from Sept. 28- Oct. 2. Participants can register for six hour-long Zoom seminars: two are held each day at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 29, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Each live seminar is followed by a question-and-answer session.
Register at compassandclock.com/registration.
Participants can ask questions during the seminars, which will be recorded and available for those unable to attend.
Good information about making the transition into retirement (or being prepared for it) is out there, Coupland said, but people often don’t know where to look for it; hence, the Road Ahead events.
“I just want people to avoid (being in) crisis mode,” she said.
Coupland had originally planned to host the 2020 Road Ahead at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sequim, with free lunches (up to 100) and a fashion show.
While many of the in-person events have been canceled, Coupland was able to keep the keynote speaker — Dr. Paul Cunningham, Chief Medical Officer at the Jamestown Family Health Clinic — as well as a presentation from Life Flight Network Air Ambulance Services.
The event will still include door prizes, including some for those who attend each seminar and others for those who attend all six.
In lieu of the planned fashion show, Coupland has a recorded presentation with a travel theme, helping both men and women to travel with more outfits while handling smaller luggage. She’s also developing short (two minutes or so) videos with Compass and Clock partners she plans to post online.
The event is hosted by Compass and Clock, Coupland’s organization that connects residents from Gig Harbor to Clallam County with services such as financial planning, legal guidance, health care, housing choices, family support and leisure activities.
“I think the biggest thing is we’re really trying to reach the people between the ages of 45-70 so we can help them prepare for their retirement years,” Coupland said.
“And if your head’s not in it and you’re not thinking about this stuff … you’re going to be at a loss.”
For some people, that focus on retirement details has taken on even more significance in the COVID-19 pandemic, she noted.
“For some people, their retirement isn’t starting the way they thought it would be,” Coupland said.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.