“When Outside Factors Determine Retirement Age” NYT 01/09/15

An “ancient” posting of mine, over on older2elder, took me to an excellent 2015 New York Times article,  When Outside Factors Dictate Retirement Age.  Even more relevant today as on 01/09/15. As a member of the Radical Age Movement, Leslye Evans-Lane’s story leapt out at me.

The article describes the 60-year old board-certified academic coach as being ” in a situation where retirement might be the graceful choice.”

I was curious – what would inspire such a “graceful choice”?

Ah, it was a tale that’s all too prevalent in today’s culture.  Not a lack of ability & skills, but a limited expectation & frankly insulting assumptions of what an older person brings to today’s workforce.  The person choosing to exit gracefully isn’t the only loser – so is the company that could have gained from having talents teamed with experience.

After a move meant a job search, Ms. Evans-Lane found herself unable to find one that made use of those talents & expertise.  It didn’t dawn on people interviewing her that she was digitally proficient & they assumed that her age precluded her from doing what she’d done to great acclaim for years ~ relate to 18-year olds. done that before.”Another potential employer told her that she “couldn’t relate to 18-year-olds,” she recalled.

How well I & others know her feeling of “shock, denial and depression.” She never thought her field could be so short-sighted by ageism.  Nor did I.

Dominic Campbell & Creative Aging International – creating a new old

How do I break it to John that I’ve fallen head over heels for an Irishman?  Can only hope he’ll understand.  But DOMINIC CAMPBELL has stolen my heart.  Understandable.  How could I not feel swept off my feet by someone who speaks my heart when he says, “As people live for longer societies need to adapt. Creativity is key to adapting. (At Creative Aging International) we celebrate aging through various activities, programmes (definitely Irish) and festivals whose culture gently questions expectations of aging.”

Please note that I found Dominic AFTER planning A Creativity Jam for Age Justice as my way of showing solidarity with the big 05/15/18 Radical Age Movement rally in NYC.  I reached for something that would go beyond a protest – a celebration showcasing the creativity of olders elders ancients, that unites & uplifts, that shows the wow rather than woe of aging.

Together with Bea Kelleher, Dominic founded Creative Aging International, headquartered in Dublin, a group that pricks holes in expectations of aging by producing festivals that celebrate creativity in elders.  As they put it, “Our Festival series … showcases the creativity of older people. Here you can encounter world famous older artists alongside those starting to express their lifetime’s experience. ~ Celebrations bring people and organizations together. Challenging subjects addressed through entertainment become easier to engage with. Our festivals and events offer places for collective encounter.

Collective encounter – am stealing that phrase to help describe the Creativity Jam!

Dominic & Bea seek to bring the giddy fun & entrepreneurial spirit of entertainment to opening up perceptions of growing older in societies around the world.  Their events pair revenue-generating activities with ones that are open to all.  A win-win all around.

It quietly freaked me out, reading on their website the very reasons I opted to go with A Creativity Jam for Age Justice rather than something potentially laden with angst & agita to show solidarity with the 05/15/18 Central Park rally.  Art & performances by creatives who are 65+ teamed with discussion that recognizes the impact of age injustice on our society & ways to counteract it while presenting ways to approach “getting up there in years” with wonder instead of woe.

NextAvenue  has a dandy article on a conference Dominic helped organize last month right here it the USA  – – Creating a New Old San Francisco was a 1-day event devoted to considering ways to bring a fresh approach to aging in the City By The Bay.  The 200+ people who flocked to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for the event took a deep dive into issues around contemporary aging.

The reality is that we are expected to live significantly longer than our parents & grandparents, but precious little attention is being given to that reality by the powers-that-be.  And it’s small wonder – government & organizations tend to look at what is, to spin projections from present-day date, make forecasts of what they believe might be based on what currently is.

The solution lies not in our governments or institutions, but in our creatives, in our innovators, in the people who see potential, who spark innovation, with the vision to look beyond today’s reality to tomorrow’s possibilities, with imaginations that leap frog problems to solutions.  In people like Dominic Campbell.

Praise be for Creative Aging International’s  experience bringing together companies, organizations, individuals to create innovative programs that inspire & nurture new approaches to aging, that gathers together – as happened last month in San Francisco – best practices in contemporary aging & powers up the influence of thought leaders like Dominic.  (Be calm, my beating heart!)

Dominic & Creative Aging International are dedicated to transforming how people view & approach aging.  Not as a dire dilemma nor as an anxiety-laden issue, but with joy & celebration, with a light heart & committed vision that brings together creatives & others, individuals & companies, societies & governments.

As noted on Creative Aging International’s website, “Living longer is changing the way we live, where we live, and how we care for our aging selves and our beloveds. Older populations include the wealthiest and most fragile in society.  Change is crossing sectors from finance to transport, tech to fashion, housing to healthcare. ~ Creative approaches are rewriting the traditions of ageing, providing vision, connecting institutions and communities, nurturing well-being.”  Amen & hallelujah!

What’s not to love?!

Midge Maisel & the Creativity Jam for Age Justice

Could not decide whether to publish this under Rx for Caregivers or Stuff & Nonsense or here so am including it on all three!

If Midge Maisel was an actual person instead of a fiction character on an Amazon Prime show, she’d be 86 & still killin’ it.  And just the sort of talent I’m hoping to include in the 05/15/18 Creativity Jam for Age Justice, the Philly event in support of the same day, same time Radical Age Movement rally in Central Park.

The Jam will have multi-layers & be multi-purpose, featuring pieces by 65+ (55+?) artists, musicians, singers, dancers – – and hopefully stand-up.  The focus goes beyond artists of a certain age to include dream catchers – creatives who have longed to have their work seen by others & are just now being given the opportunity, not in spite of their age but because of it.  The Jam will feature artists who’ve shown or performed before, but 1st timers will be given special consideration by the (tba) selection committee.  So, yes – Midge could have made the cut!

When I posted thoughts about this event on Facebook, the very first comment was, “Great idea. Sounds like a lot of work and money to get it going.”   Reminded me of the acquaintance who, on hearing about the Rx for Caregivers page-a-day calendar, said  “How will you fund it?  How will you monetarize it?” in a tone of inspiration-killing skepticism instead of the gee-whiz “Tell me more” response that  respects baby ideas, encourages them to take a next step, to grow.  Disappointments might come…  but, then again, they might just as easily take wings & fly into the stratosphere, leaving only fabulous, fully realized wonderful.

I’ve had four art shows over the past twelve years, two solo, two creativity jams with John  – one in Bryn Athyn, one in Princeton, two in Huntingdon Valley.  The HV photography show was such a smash, they held it over for the entire summer.  The only cost I had for any of them was for the opening reception’s delectable spread.

It will be a lot of work, but a lot less than the efforts of my Radical Age Movement colleagues up in NYC putting together the Central Park rally for Age Justice.  I won’t have the big names featured up yonder, but will have a power beyond what happens in Manhattan  – – fulfilling the heart’s desire of creatives who’ve dreamed of having their work seen by others.  Pretty cool.

Imagining some 73-year old finally getting the chance to kill it as a stand-up, getting his first taste of an audience’s laughter, their applause.  When it happens – whichever creatives jam with us – will see Midge looking on, hearing her say, “Yeah, he loves it.”

Yes, it will be a lot of work – but the joy hallmarking the Creativity Jam for Age Justice will be worth every moment!

 

The aptly named TIM DRIVER

Introducing TIM DRIVER, the driving force behind RetirementJobs.com & MatureCaregivers.com & in-the-works Age Friendly Advisor, which will offer crowd-sourced ideas as well as reviews on a wide range of timely topics.

Driver co-founded RetirementJobs.com back in 2006.  There’s no disputing his deep business experience – including group director at AOL’s Programming & Strategic Business units, where he built numerous consumer-related offerings, including the AOL Careers Channel – but his interest in recognizing & helping overcome ageism in the workplace hit close to home.  His father lost his banking position to someone younger, found he couldn’t find work in his field.  What had been a canny business idea became a personal passion.

RetirementJobs.com was developed as a way to both build a major league career site for job seekers who were 50+ ~and~ identify employers who welcomed mature workers.  Tim had seen ageism in his career, knew that people like his Dad needed help with a savvy job hunt.  They developed the Certified Age Friendly Employer program, that steers people to companies eager for their skills & mastery.   Employers who apply for consideration are thoroughly vetted by the Research & Certification unit before any decision.

The innovative program has been recognized by the US Senate Special Committee on Aging, by AARP & by the White House, which invited them to work with policy makers on engaging older people more effectively with their communities.

MatureCaregivers.com was a natural build off their success at RetirementJobs.com.  They realized that direct care was a great match for older workers – instead of an age bias against older workers, the closer in age someone is to their client, the better the bond tends to be, leading to more satisfaction on both sides, translating into less turn over, longer employment periods.

Many 50+ job seekers place flexibility higher on their list of preferences & look for a different sort of satisfaction from their second career;  the ability to develop relationships often gets the weight that opportunity for advancement had in their first.

A major plus they bring is the reality that many folks 50+ are experienced in direct care, having raised a family, perhaps as support for a younger with a long-term illness or disability, been responsible for an elderly loved one.  Another bonus is they are more likely to pick up on a change in appetite, attitude or appearance & more likely to tactfully mention it to family.

The problem that developed for Tim & his company was that while job seekers DID find satisfaction in the work & in their clients, a large number were NOT happy with the small companies or large agencies they worked FOR.

Tim & his associates realized the only way to overcome that problem was to launch their own service.

Tim brings his extensive experience at AOL & with several start-ups to bring TECHNOLOGY into direct care.  Of special interest to me is the company’s use of blogs with daily entries by each caregiver.  Whenever a new posting is entered, an e-mail is sent to the main contact, keeping him or her fully in the loop & always having the option of getting into a dialogue about the loved one’s care.  Amen & hallelujah!

E-mail has been a significant tool in my work with oldsters elders ancients, a god send for connecting with a client’s family.  Because I contact them if I have a concern, if there’s a fall (astonished at how many times a CCR does not inform them) or other issue, they have peace of mind when I don’t.  Love the idea of a dedicated, confidential blog!

From the family, advantages includes the greater chance of a hiring a long-term aide (the turn-over rate for agency care is 60% to Tim’s 15%); less chance of disruption of care due to a sick child or a school closure/late start; the deeper experience older workers bring & often better communication skills.

My experience with families is that they hope I’ll consider & treat their loved one like one of my own~ without overstepping my bounds, that I’ll form a friendship that helps feed the olders need for relationship ~ without getting too chummy,  and -above all – that I am kind & thoughtful & understanding when s/he is cranky or worse.  It feels like older, more life-experienced people are better equipped to strike the balance of being friendly without being overly familiar, of sharing information while always respecting the family as primary, of giving though-out opinions while never forgetting who are the decision makers.  Of being a combination of care provider, friend & advocate.

Finding support for a beloved parent or relative is emotional for the children & the older loved one.  MatureCaregivers.com looks like it offers a great combination of old-fashioned caring & newfangled technology.

Caveat – the services are currently limited to six states & I have not been able to discover which six.  Will update as soon a I find out.  Also, the only reviews (just 2?) are from 2016, so I recommend doing some digging, getting credible recommendations.