The visibility of aging has undergone a period of awareness over the past ten years, as the population of individuals over age 65 increases to over 49 million.
True, aging is hard to ignore. However, it is also challenging as various factors affecting this population go under reported. Namely aging alone, social isolation, and limited mobility. Additional complexities such as slow growing IRAs, rising housing costs also affects how we age. Aging experts and gerontologists factors several dimensions as we work to find ways to help this growing population age and thrive in their community.
So why is increasing social connection so important? Here is a list of reasons why you can use the #stayathome order right now to help you improve your older age.
1. Know your social currency
The value of social currency over a lifetime often goes unrecognized. For example, the importance of word of mouth referrals and Yelp reviews are of value to Gen Z and Boomers. However, neither identifies these as a benefit of social currency. While digital natives seek online communities older generations remember with nostalgia the neighborhoods they grew up in. Both are examples of social currency giving and receiving information and resources with your in person and online communities.
2. Invest in your community
Facebook, volunteering, community involvement are examples of communities. The explosion of ZOOM and other video conferencing platforms are enhancing communities and creating new opportunities to connect with others. They have the power to transform iGen and solo agers into socially connected and informed in ways that are exciting to imagine. It’s clear investing in your community also means embracing technology.
3. Plan to age
Research by Institute for the Future found that more than half of Americans rarely or never think about the “far future,” which can lead to poor decision making in their daily lives and negative consequences for society. I often say, “People plan to retire. Few people plan to age.” Futurist Jane McGonigal, author of the survey and senior researcher at the institute said,“The majority of people aren’t connecting with their future selves, which studies have shown leads to less self-control and less pro-social behavior. Do your future self a favor start your social connections today.