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Purpose and productivity in old age

by Sasha Crowe Published on 2nd Jun 2015

by Sasha Crowe Published on 2nd June 2015

Now that more and more people are living longer, the increasing flood of people reaching retirement age enter with the question, “what now?” After a lifetime of work, how exactly should life continue and how exactly should all this new free time be filled?

As increased average lifespan has translated to greater levels of investment in aging research, 
many contend that the social aspect of aging, is largely put to the side. If radical life extension is to be achieved, then inevitably this is an area that will warrant far greater attention. 

However, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, there are people already at work trying to find solutions for the future surge of senior-societal issues.
Here is a short list of 6 strategies they propose for keeping purpose and productivity in old age: 

The life-stage between midlife and old age, specifically 55-75, should get a distinct name for itself. Doing so not only allows for social researchers and policymakers, for example, the ability to categorize, study, and focus on the group by name, but also implants in our minds the appreciation and deserved recognition this age group needs.

A cultural rite of passage should be associated with reaching this age group in order to mark the transition and pave the way for people in this stage of life. This would allow them the chance to prepare emotionally and mentally for embarking into this new life-chapter.

New skills and careers should be generated. Continuing education, specifically schools and school programs, should be made available and tailored for those in this second half of life. These programs should not just provide a kind of mental distraction, but actually help advance individuals during that age period, and provide them with new skills for their encore success and changing life purpose.

A new sort of financial plan needs to be generated in order to fully support the new activities and lifestyles this second half of life will require.

Old and young should not constantly be kept separate. It has already been shown that older people who keep connections with younger generations maintain higher levels of happiness. All generations could benefit from living in a more integrated setting.

Increased investment and importance should be given to social strategies and innovations such as those presented above. The U.K., for example, has already invested £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund in order to improve living conditions for its senior citizens by supporting work initiatives and social engagements.

Continue reading @ Wall Street Journal