A manifesto for celebrating life,
regardless of age
Let’s LIVE long lives rather than be alive for a long time
The reality of longevity is not simply an economic or welfare issue. It is a deeply human issue. We are at a point in time in human history where we must drop the old stereotypes, language and cultural constructs and take a different stance on what it means to age.
We must see people for who they are and defy outdated perceptions of age and ageing.
We must create opportunities to re-imagine what it means to live vibrant, connected, dignified and bold lives well into our 80, 90s and even 100s.
Let’s stop providing the beige and monochrome services of the past and create alternative products and services that are responsive to evolving human needs and expectations and give choice so we can LIVE with agency!
Let’s acknowledge older people are not all the same
Baby boomers are not going to be the “seniors” of the past. Many are going to be 80 and cool, and 90 and fabulous. They have a voice and attitude, and expect to continue to live as they have done all their lives. Most importantly they expect choice and not to be segmented and referred to as a group of “old people”.
With longevity older people in society will constitute a much more diverse group of people, covering multiple generations and ages ranging from 50 to 100+ years. Clearly people’s needs vary significantly across such large and diverse groups.
Let’s do the work to understand and empathise with the breadth and depth of these evolving needs so that we have the necessary insights to design the alternatives.
Let’s lose ageist stereotypes
We must question our assumptions about age and how they influence our perception of ourselves, and the people around us: our families, colleagues, clients and customers. It is time to challenge cultural constructs such as retirement that set rules and expectations about work, value and participation.
Let’s acknowledge our ageist stereotypes and ask ourselves, “How do I want to live and treated when I am 90?” Only when we do this, can we start to create alternative futures that are fit for the 21st Century.
Let’s change the language of ageing
Our language and imagery around ageing perpetuates stereotypes of frailty and decline and a fear of old age. The word “retirement” means to withdraw (from life), while being “elderly” has a stigma associated with it as it conjures up images of decay and death.
Let’s adopt language that reflects the realities of longevity, the vibrancy of older people and supports a cultural shift of accepting and celebrating all ages.
Let's bring generations together
The reality of longevity is that it is going to affect us all and it is time co-create new realities for young and old. In an age where we are living longer there are layers of multi-generational thought and experience co-existing together.
This is only going to increase, providing unique opportunities from which to innovate. We must tap the collective wisdom across the generations by involving young and old in the design of 21st Century alternatives for how we might:
- Work and participate meaningfully for as long as we want to
- Live affordably and with social connection
- Ensure financial security while providing choice
- Enable long term health and well-being.
We CAN re-imagine different futures that are much better suited to the realities of longevity in the 21st Century. These need to be equitable and give people choice and agency about how they live their lives, regardless of age.
It just takes is passion, determination, a commitment to question our assumptions and a willingness to truly disrupt the status quo.