A powerful way to counter divisive rhetoric and demagoguery coming out of Washington, D.C., is to do something unexpected — start an Age Friendly city revolution.
The feeling of loneliness and isolation people are facing is not simply due to aging—it’s due to our society’s lack of value for older adults. There is a cultural shift that we need to start working toward.
We need to stop drawing distinctions from why we are different and instead start drawing connections to why we are similar.
When I was a toddler, I used to sit for hours on the floor under my maternal grandmother’s frame of stretched cloth and look up to watch her sew beads and spangles onto fabrics that became wedding gowns, banners, flags, altar cloths, and other decorative pieces.
On any given weekday at 210 North Champion Street in Columbus, Ohio, elders and preschoolers can be seen mixing bubble solutions and puffing at them together in the activity room, caring for plants outside in the mobile gardening units, reading books aloud to one another in the classroom, or rehearsing a play in the auditorium.
The tension between generations is indeed worth studying, but mostly as a red herring and a symptom of how aging has been reframed as a problem.
I’m speaking on a panel about intergenerational engagement at a local conference in Seattle. I’d love to get feedback from or audience on amazing intergenerational programs from around the world.
Through extended visits to The Villages, Sun City and Youngtown, Arizona, Andrew Blechman’s book, Leisureville: Adventures in America’s Retirement Utopias reveals the lives of those who have embraced the rising trend of segregated (often gated) communities for older adults (the new marketing term is “age-preferred”).