We’ve had an exciting start to the year at the AAA. In January Lord Best, Chair All Party Parliamentary Committee on Housing and Care for Older People helped launch our second white paper outlining a radical vision for our Neighbourhoods of the Future. In February we head back to mainland Europe, where AAA founder will launch the white paper in partnership with AgeingFit in Lille, France.
Published by the Agile Ageing Alliance in partnership with Tata Steel, the white paper captures the thoughts and predictions of a veritable ‘who's who’ of eminent experts and emerging thought leaders.
In these 344 pages, you will discover what, in an ideal world, our homes and neighbourhoods could look like in 10 to 20 years and, more to the point, what steps must be taken now to disrupt the status quo and make this bold vision a reality.
According to one of our contributors Sam Mauger Chief Executive of the fabulous University of the 3rd Age (U3A): “The media often paints older people as `a problem', rarely focusing on what we can contribute. The so called `deficit model' focuses exclusively on the negative aspects of ageing. This is a view that jars with U3A members, who engage in lifelong learning, have a thirst for knowledge and a more optimistic view of ageing.”
See what you think: Download your free copy here and share the link liberally using #AgileLiving.
And, with thanks to our friends at Tata Steel, we have 100 physical copies to give away. If you would like the chance to receive one, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, include a mailing address, and describe how you could help further the AAA mission.
Of course the world of agile ageing never stands still. You may have missed some of the great stories we shared this month. Here's a quick rundown of the best.
Our most popular story this month came from SAGE - an advocacy group for LGBT elders. It focused on the opening of new housing developments built specially for LGBT elders, one of which is now the largest in North America.
These landmark buildings come 50 years after the Stonewall Riots, an historic event which sparked a global equality movement for LGBT people.
According to the article; "The need for this kind of housing is vital, especially given the high levels of housing discrimination that LGBT elders face. In 2014, the Equal Rights Center conducted a national study that found that 48 percent of same-sex couples who apply for senior rental housing are subjected to discrimination”.
Although we’d love to see appropriate homes for all without the need for distinction, our work has shown that sometimes business as usual doesn’t keep up with a constantly changing world. Sometimes you just have to make the world you want to see.
Next we have this lovely article in the Guardian about a new book by journalist Carl Honoré, who believes we've entered a 'golden age' for older people.
Author of books including In Praise of Slow, Carl has become a 'guru of slow living', but after a comment by a team-mate regarding his age while at an ice hockey competition, Carl saw his upcoming 50th birthday in a new light.
Said Carl; “I knew that I was one of the oldest [there] but being told in such raw terms that I was the oldest – it just shook me. It knocked me for six in a way that shocked me”.
Afraid all he had to look forward to was "decline, decrepitude and death", he embarked on a journey to explore ageing around the world.
What he found gave him a new (positive) perspective, and lucky for his readers a list of actions we can all follow to make the most of life, regardless of age. He saw an alternative world where "the average 70- and 80-year-old goes on working if they want to, volunteering, starting their own enterprises, playing competitive sport, having great sex – and society doesn’t bat an eye".
Have a read to see Carl's '12 steps to help you be happy in later life', but if you do nothing else heed his advice to 'look for positive role models'. That's certainly our plan, which is why we love finding articles like this...
The Art of Ageing
Our next piece (also from the Guardian) is by an artist who's reached a particular milestone - finally admitting her age.
Having just turned 90, Natalie d’Arbeloff says she can finally be proud of the fact she (and both of her parents, who lived around 100 years each) lived as well as she has, so can admit it was vanity that kept her from doing so all these years.
Until now, she writes, if someone asked her if she was still working she wanted “to punch them in the face". She doesn't however, as by her own admission she's only 4ft 11in so can’t reach. But a fear of becoming invisible meant she had always deflected any enquiries about age and continued in this ageless bubble.
On being an artist, she writes; “For me, being a certain age doesn’t feel as if it is set in stone – why not be several ages at once? I chose art as a career very early on and the insecurities of the profession, together with its incomparable joys, have no doubt contributed to my indifference towards ageing. Artists who are in it for the long haul are often age-indifferent, even if their bodies aren’t”.
When we say we're 'inspired' by people, it’s often their attitude we admire. Why live by others' rules? It's a belief we think keeps you happy and healthy for longer, something many businesses are working on too…
We finish this month’s news with three quick stories on innovation, beginning with this article from AAA’s old fiend and Forbes contributor Tina Woods who believes the ‘vast global DNA library resulting from mass genomic profiling is helping us understand how we could live younger and healthier for longer’. Plenty of interesting examples if you’re after something new to invest in.
Staying with innovation we also saw this story about Toyota’s drive to get more robots in our homes by creating a ‘not-so-far-off’ future in which we have assistants helping us with chores and even keeping us company. Hopefully a little better than Hal did in 2001 A Space Odyssey.
Then we end with this summary from the recent 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, in which we learn the future will definitely have more AI watching out for us, VR helping us feel less lonely and ‘powered’ clothing that gives your body a boost when you need it. Perhaps when you need to give a cheeky person asking your age a bop on the nose?
Innovation including AI is covered in some depth in Neighbourhoods of the Future 2019. So do take a look and let us know what you think. Here is a link where you can read and/or download a free copy and be sure to share your thoughts with everyone you know, follow us on twitter if you’re not already and enjoy #AgileLiving!