Magazines are full with cosmetics, clothes, nutrition and medical advices and other possibilities to appear younger than you are. The number of so-called opportunities to turn back to youth seem to be endless. It’s just a question of money and of you, of course to stop or at least to slow down the time.
Which is not bad – I mean why shouldn’t we appear and feel younger than we are? But it implies on the other site that aging is something negative, that wrinkles are a sign of weakness and people from a certain age onwards are no longer the ones who change the world. Just thinking about all the demographic development in many countries, I am afraid that in a few years there will be millions of helpless and depressed people around the world waiting for a few young people to help them.
Seniors as changemakers?
Also in organizations that engage in society elder people as protagonists, as initiators of activities with social impact are often neglected. “Elderly people? These are people we have to support!” But what about giving them back the empowerment to be changemakers and not just change receivers? Why do we believe that changing the world is based on upcoming generations? Just think about all social entrepreneurs activities , crowdfunding platforms and impact related calls for action – how many competitions, articles and stories can we find in the Internet? Many? Yes, and how many are changing the perception of getting older? How many out of them take into account that elderly people can be a decisive factor to change the world? How many social entrepreneurs are 60 years +?
What I hear often from retired people is that they still feel full of energy, but often they are not considered the right persons to become protagonists of an activity that requires knowledge and experience. Which is strange as they should have good preconditions and prerequisites to be the right persons. Time, financial coverage for their daily life and an idea of how society has changed during the last decades and what might be possible, if….
I looked in the Internet for social enterprises where elderly people are active as impact makers. I found only a few.
The few examples I found are more than impressive.
Have a look e.g at this initiative and listen.
Dialogue with Time – an exhibition about the art of aging
Voices of this initiative:
Retired? It is time to start a career as social entrepreneur
Some days ago I met two retirees who are successfully engaged in an African country to bring education and health related knowhow to young people. In a very engaging way and with results that change the way of life for these people because they enable them to develop business opportunities.
What I noticed: these retirees are full of passion and energy. And they still have dreams and ideas what they want to achieve.
I think we have to rethink aging and to start initiatives in the social enterprise environment for seniors. We need people who encourage seniors to act. Because they are one of our biggest potential of change we have on earth.