For those too busy or to too impatient to read another report on why aging is good for us, here is a cheat sheet of highlights from one of the better declarations, The Power of Purposeful Aging, produced by the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.
The Center convened 30 thought leaders from public policy, business, academia, philanthropy and media at the Purposeful Aging Summit in Los Angeles in 2016. From the resulting 64-page report, these are some noteworthy sound bites:
- “In today’s culture, adding more years to our lives does not necessarily mean adding more life to our years.” (page 11)
- “Long established and uniformed stereotypes shroud aging behind a negative lens that celebrates all things young while overlooking scientific evidence about the strengths of older adults. Virtually all forms of media and messaging reinforce these misconceptions.” (page 13)
- “Studies demonstrate that in doing good for others, people accrue mental and physical advantages themselves. Research also suggests that generativity is a cornerstone of successful aging, linked to satisfaction and overall well-being in later life.” (page 21)
- “Harvard Medical School professor George Vaillant found that older people who achieved generativity through activities such as mentoring and supporting younger people were three times as likely as their uninvolved peers to experience joy instead of despair as they moved through their 70s.” (page 22)
- “… employers benefit from age-diverse workforces. Age-similar groups perform better at repetitive tasks, the research demonstrates, while age-diverse teams have the edge in problem-solving, idea generation and productivity.” (page 27)
- “The plain truth is we’ve gotten the generational issue exactly wrong. Older people shouldn’t self-segregate in age-restricted communities. (Marc Freedman)” (page 34)
- “No aspect of the challenge is as crucial as reorienting public perception, and here media influencers across the board can play a powerful role. Without a doubt, the quest to reframe aging requires new messaging – in TV and film, marketing and advertising, news and social media – that reflects the true characteristics of the older generation. This campaign calls for new storylines …” (page 48)
- “Precisely because of its intergenerational benefits and wide societal impact, purposeful aging is positioned to expand its constituency across generations.” (page 55)
- “The role of political leadership is crucial to the purposeful aging movement. … Population aging is just one issue, but it is one that affects every aspect of our lives. … In lieu of discussions that begin and end with entitlement programs, we need a much broader focus.” (page 56)
When time and patience permit, many of the report’s key themes and findings complement past Humble Sky posts, which offer additional provocation on intergenerational relations, authentic media messaging, age-diverse workforces and inclusive political advocacy.