Aging Services: Mesh Versus Patchwork
Mesh is described as similar to a web or a net as it has many attached and connected woven strands. Patchwork is the piecing small pieces of fabric together to create a larger piece. What if we changed how we talked about the aging services network?
Why Ask The Question?
Dr. Bill Thomas posed the concept of a mesh of services to us at Age of Disruption lunch as we discussed the opportunities and challenges of providing services to older adults and their families. For many Americans the search for services accompanies a crisis. A sudden illness, accident, or death prompts family members to seek help.
If we look at aging services as mesh net instead of a patchwork the question becomes not if we will need a net but when. What if we began preparing for a time we might need the protection a net can provide? In life we prepare for so many roles and transitions: Education, career, relationships, retirement. The missing transition? Aging, a part of life and one filled with both challenges and opportunities. What if we all planned to age? Today each of us has the opportunity to begin the conversation with friends, families, and colleagues.
Planning To Age
Planning to age begins with talking about aging as part of our life story. Recently I spoke at SXSW to educators about preparing Generation Alpha (Individuals born after 2010) for a life expectancy of 120 years. In talking to this new generation we can shift how we reframe aging for them and for ourselves. I encourage you to reflect on what you want in your older age. Begin today and prepare your mesh net for yourself and those you love.
Aging expert and gerontologist Judi Bonilla is an advocate for empowered aging with over 15 years of experience in senior issues. She is a serial entrepreneur and has launched several startups including: Brain Fit Now! Encore 101 HQ and We Get Around! The adult education startups emphasize “empowerment”– blending information, education, and actionable strategies.