[Guest post from Kavan at UMBC]
Earlier this month I highlighted Colorado’s innovative strategic plan for aging, Silverprint Colorado. The mission behind this initiative is to “establish a culture for positive aging addressing the needs, contributions and opportunities” for all residents age 60 and up.
Today I want to highlight efforts in another state to put issues of aging and elderhood at the forefront of public discourse. Hawai’i’s population of elders is growing more rapidly than anywhere else in the United States. In other words, Hawaii leads the nation in longevity. Hawai’i’s CBS TV affiliate, KGMB9, has partnered with Dr. Bill Thomas to produce a ground-breaking, year-long campaign focused on addressing all the issues of aging and caregiving in the state. In “The Genius of Aging Campaign, Honoring Hawai’i’s Kupuna,” KGMB9 will partner with business, non-profit, government, grass roots, and education to cover related stories about aging, provide information and resources on air and the web.
Click here here to watch an introductory video.
Dr. Thomas kicked-off the campaign with this letter to Hawaiians:
Once upon a time, youth was everything. To be young was to be beautiful, strong, adventurous and good. That was the story we were told. Fortunately, we know that America is beginning to search for the wisdom that lies beyond youth. There is a growing awareness that aging and longevity have beauty and purpose of their own. Nowhere in America is this better understood than in the Fiftieth State.
The people of Hawaii have long appreciated and honored their kupuna. The tradition of respecting one’s elders has shaped the legacy, the legends, the culture, the very people of Hawaii. The time has come to publicly honor that history and to use it as a platform for exploring the new old age that is taking root in Hawaii.
This is what KGMB9’s new campaign, “The Genius of Aging: Honoring Hawaii’s Kupuna” is all about. KGMB9 is going to peer into and seek to understand how genuine respect for kupuna helped create the society in which we now live. Together, we will look at the present and examine the myriad of creative, exciting innovations that are remaking old age today. Finally, we will seek to understand the future. How will our changing understanding of aging — change us.
The series is called “The Genius of Aging” because, when you think about it, aging is perhaps the greatest of all human inventions. After all, longevity is what makes grand-parenting possible, it blesses us with kupuna. We live in a busy world (and it seems to be getting busier) but all around us are wise elders, ready to share with us the lessons of lives well-lived. All we have to do is stop, listen and learn.
In the end, that is what this campaign is all about. I am grateful to Channel 9 for their enthusiasm and for bringing these stories to the public, and I value the campaign’s sponsors for their generous support. So, welcome to this fantastic journey.
Together, we can all, truly, honor the real geniuses of aging, Hawaii’s kupuna.
Dr. Bill Thomas
Click here to learn more about Hawai’i’s kupuna.