I’ve been thinking about how to change aging for quite a while now and the work still seems vital and important to me. I am, by nature, an optimist and it seems to me that the stars are aligning for new, exciting and valuable platform for driving change. Jude and I started the Eden Alternative with a small gray metal index card box (the kind with the flip top) and a dot matrix printer. This was enough because we also had a passion for making life better for elders and those who care for elders. The Eden Alternative grew because it attracted talented people with warm, generous hearts.
We’ve proven that we can change the lives of people living and working in long term care (and we are going keep right on doing so). Now we must change the culture of aging itself. This is an infinitely more difficult task. Challenging and then transforming America’s morbidly youth obsessed culture and society will require the sustained and cooperative efforts of many people.
We need you.
If you are reading this post it is very likely that you share our passion for a better, more dignified more influential elderhood. It is also likely that you want this for everyone— not just yourself.
A key metric in this effort is the ability to attract and retain the attention of people who have never really thought about aging. These folks aren’t passionate, the way we are, and they don’t deny the reality of aging, the way some creepy celebrities do, they are just interested in new ideas and new approaches to living a better life.
Social media gives us the tools we need to reach them but earning their attention and their interest takes something more than just a blog or a Twitter account. Building the pro-aging movement will require the creation of a vast supply of content. Blog posts. Photos. Anecdotes. Reader comments. Videos. Music. Links. Tweets. We must become both the story and the tellers of our story.
No one else it going to do it for us.
Over the years I have been given the opportunity to appear in most major newspapers and on all the major broadcast and cable networks and those interviews have helped move things forward BUT… Notice the word…
This reminds me of the story of Hercules and the Wagoner. The wagoner’s wheels were stuck in deep mud so appealed to the mighty Hercules for help. He was amazed when the god appeared at his side.
“Mighty Hercules, my wagon is stuck in the mud!”
“What have you done to get it out?”
“I called upon you mighty Hercules!”
“Well put your own shoulder to the wheel and we will see what might be done.”
The wagoner pushed as hard as he was able and soon the wagon was unstuck. When the wagoner looked around for Hercules, the god had vanished.
The time has come for all of us to put our shoulders’ to the wheel. I am convinced that, working together, we can create a vibrant and influential social media cooperative that will grow in size and impact. In the coming weeks I am going to be writing about (and making videos about) how we can work together in new ways and, in doing so, become much more effective in the work we have chosen.
The time has come to change aging, forever.