There is a new generation heading in the direction of retirement. The baby boomers. This generation thinks differently to that of the silent generation. The world they are retiring into has also changed. How are retirement homes adapting to this process?
The baby boomer generation is between the ages of 50-70. The growth of new style 50+ residential estates have been designed with this generation in mind. However not all of them can afford to buy in these estates. The older villages have done an amazing job of looking after our parents and grandparents over the past 50 years. These homes need to adapt their thinking to this new generation heading their way.
The baby boomers have been blessed through longevity with an extra season of life and want to stay working and engaged on their terms. They are looking for independent living, fast internet speed and the opportunity to live in a secure environment where they can lock the door and not worry too much about their homes while they travel. They also want to make a difference and use their skills.
In the past, retirement homes have mainly had the community come to them with volunteering opportunities. What if we turned this around and the elder community started the process of engagement by offering their skills and time to the community around them? Has your organisation ever done a skills audit? Have you asked your residents if they would like to go out and volunteer?
Homes will have two generations living side by side. A younger old and older old generations. The younger group are your closest volunteers to help within the community. Here are some other ideas of how this community can engage and offer their gifts to the community around them.
- A group who can go and read to children at schools in the area.
- A group who may want to help at after school and homework centres.
- A group who love animals and can go and help at animal shelters and other related organisations.
- Mentors and coaches for youth programs.
- Facilitating programs in your area of skill
- Being the uber driver for other residents
- Forming creative groups and teaching knitting, sewing and other creative skills.
- Developing food gardens at schools.
- Teaching woodwork and other crafts to the younger generation.
- Helping with sport coaching at schools
The list is endless.
We need to think differently to get a different result. This will include engaging with our staff and residents to build solutions and get commitment. The difference will come in the health of the individuals who will get up with purpose and make new friends in the process.
These wise words by Janice Blanchard define why this is key for the future health of our society.
“Service systems can never be reformed so that they will produce care. Care is the consenting commitment of citizens to one another. Care cannot be produced, provided, managed, organised, administered or commodified. Care is the only thing a system cannot produce. Every institutional effort to replace the real thing is a counterfeit. Care is, indeed, the manifestation of community. The community is the site for the relationships of citizens. And it is at this site that the primary work of a caring society must work.”
May we all use our gifts, talents and time to make a difference to those around us. Living life fully until our last breath.