For the past 6 months, I have been busy working on editing and publishing my new book, Choices & Changes...a positive aging guide to life planning. Initially, I had written a short workbook to help developers identify prospects for a new brand of "retirement community". The idea was to look beyond ones chronological age and finances to develop a plan around the values common to later life. Since the very first workshop about 4 years ago, I have had numerous opportunities to deliver the 90 minute, motivational overview to hundreds of older adults in Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. This interaction with older consumer has been one of the most rewarding of my 30 year career in aging.
What made the experiences so rewarding was the positive reception I received after every presentation. Without exception, attendees came up to me afterward to say things like, "I haven't felt this young in years;" or "I fell like you opened the door to a whole to stage in my life;" or "Thanks you for allowing us to look at our own aging with a whole new and positive vision." My goal in the workshops is to help attendees understand how negative aging stereotypes affect us all and can literally erode our memories, health and well being. It is a message that is long overdue and eagerly welcomed by a population that has generally been perceived as frail, unproductive, dependent, or just "greedy geezers."
Choices & Changes provides those interested in getting the most out of life's second half with a road map. As our youth dominated culture continues to age in the coming years, we will need to rethink everything about retirement in America from fixing the Social Security system to preparing how to respond to a major workforce shortage that is less than 10 years away. The answers will not be found in the rear-view mirror because our nation has never traveled this road before. While the wisdom of an aging nation is ready to respond, it increasingly seems we have a scarcity of leaders with either the wisdom or integrity to begin working on a map or asking the aging travelers to put their unique wisdom and experience to work.