First up is this thoughtful piece from professors Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, about the need to reassess perceptions of what constitutes a 'traditional life', if we are to make the most of our increasing longevity.
For example, they say, education doesn't have to end in our 20s. Marriage or children can happen later in life, or mid-career breaks could let us take time out to capitalise on our experience and explore opportunities for building our own businesses.
We're living longer, they add, but technology is rapidly changing the world of work. As a result; "How can what you have learned remain relevant over the next 60 years against a backdrop of technological upheaval and industrial transformation? There is also the question of vitality – while an unbroken, extended working life may solve the financial challenge, it will inevitability deplete other important assets of life, such as health and friendships."
Their solution is a "multi-stage life". A new approach to our working lives that allows people to choose those stages rather than convention or having them forced on you by technology. And by recognising these different stages they say, a "longer life can be a blessing and not a curse."
We think we'll see more and more proposals like this as longer living gets more attention - and the philosophical as much as the quotidian implications. It's clear we will all need to be more agile than previous generations, if only to keep up with technology, but as articles like this suggest this needn't be something we fear, but instead embrace.
Over the last few months we've identified Japan as one to watch in terms of facing the realities of longer living. This month is no different. We recently shared an article about an exhibition in Tokyo called House Vision, which as the article explained; "pairs renowned Japanese architects with companies to explore the future of the home."
Of particular interest was that throughout the exhibition, the issue of; "how good design can help reconcile the social and physical challenges of being an elder," kept coming up again and again.
And with a number of high-profile architects there, and brands like Airbnb, radical new housing concepts were on display exploring the socio-economic potential of inter-generational living. This included innovative ways to facilitate food delivery to those less able to manage it themselves, and bold funding solutions like using money earned from renting spaces via Airbnb, to pay for new public spaces.
We're sure to see more and more examples of collaborative ventures like these, which is fantastic as the more organisations that recognise our needs are changing, and the opportunities it creates, the sooner we can start acting on it.
The new retirement
Speaking of opportunity, another article we shared this month was about the options 'blue collar' workers have to continue working once the physical demands of the job become too great.
One option, says the article, is mentorship: "With a worsening shortage of welders, machinists and other crafts workers, apprenticeship programs offer older skilled workers a less strenuous job opportunity: Teaching their craft to the next generation."
Another suggestion, in this article from the New York Times, was that older workers could become 'hackers'. Not the kind you might imagine sat in a basement staring at a laptop, but one calling upon years of experience and their ingenuity to create practical solutions to their needs.
Glen Hougan, who teaches industrial design at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design says of this new concept; "Many older people, are forgoing high-tech gadgetry in favour of common – and usually much cheaper – items from office supply and hardware stores, repurposing them to solve everyday problems." This included fixing rubber bands to cups for improved grip, using clothes pegs on cups to keep straws in place or adding lazy susans to fridges to make reaching items at the back easier.
This is great because we often wait for others to solve everyday issues for us, but this article shows there's no need to. The power to solve challenges affecting our lives as we age can be addressed by involving, if not relying entirely on those experiencing it right now!
It's fascinating to see how ageing is now being viewed through so many diverse lenses, such as housing, employment and entrepreneurialism. Indeed, the more quality articles we see, the more hope it gives us that more and more stakeholders will engage in growing the Silver Economy. We'll keep sharing these stories as we find them, and we welcome your views via our Agile Ageing Alliance LinkedIn group . And if you know of others who could add value to the conversation in this exciting and dynamic world, please invite them to sign up too.
Until next month.
Agile Ageing Alliance: 'Connecting digital and social innovators in an ageing society'
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