We can talk at lengths about what we believe is the greatest generation. But I personally don’t find descriptions like that very helpful. Which are we implying is a lesser generation? There was a lot about that generation that wasn’t so great. And there are a lot about the Millennials that can be highly recommended.
No, the reason we need to make the world a better place for seniors is not because they were a part of the greatest generation that ever lived. Rather, it is because a better world for seniors is a better world for all.
Being a senior is not some marginal condition that will only affect a small percentage of the population. It will be the reality of everyone who continues to draw breath for a long enough time.
So at the most basic level, what is good for seniors today will be good for us tomorrow. Because genetics plays a big role in how we develop, we need only look at the needs of the seniors in our lineage to predict how things will be for us. Solving those problems now is insurance for us down the road. Here are a few specifics that will help us make a better today and tomorrow for everyone:
Don’t Be So Quick to Phase out Older Tech
Technology is accessibility. The technology you use today is the way you access the world. If someone came into your home and replaced all your tech with tech from ten years into the future, you would be completely lost. You would no longer be able to access the world. And while we imagine tomorrow’s smartphone to be unbelievably awesome, if we had to use it right now without warning, it would be a nightmare.
Though that scenario may sound overly dramatic, it is exactly the way many current seniors feel about the march of technology. Yesterday, they were dialing numbers on a rotary phone. Their grandkids have never seen a rotary phone. While we are waiting to see what comes after iPhones, they are just catching up to feature phones.
Even those best smart phones for seniors are not necessarily smartphones at all. They have large, easy to read buttons that have a single function. There comes a time when we all develop a familiarity and competence with a particular set of technologies.
It is not that the world should stop progressing. It is just that it should not unnecessarily leave whole generations behind. At some point, you will be the one holding technology that your kids find outdated. Having longer-lasting technologies and standards makes the world more accessible for more people.
Envision Your Future Self
Humans have incredibly poor memories when it comes to our past self. And we are even worse at picturing our future self. Seldom do we see our parents and grandparents as the temporal mirrors they actually are. We need to do a better job at seeing how small problems become big ones for seniors, and picturing ourselves in that situation.
Before you buy that house with the picturesque staircase, you need to picture yourself at 75 with questionable knees and hips making your way up those stairs. As a society, we can make better and more sustainable decisions about a lot of things if we learn to picture ourselves dealing with those decisions years later. There is nothing about a building designed for seniors that alienates younger people. But there is plenty about things designed for younger people that can and do alienate seniors.
Find Ways to Keep Seniors in the Mix
We have to find a way to increase the societal role of seniors. There are few things worse than feeling irrelevant and slowly fading away. In our shortsighted youth, we believe we will be relevant movers and shakers forever. We believe our accomplishments will always be top of mind. But it will not be long before we become that person wobbling about on a cane with a face no one will remember, and a life’s story no one will read.
Irrelevance awaits the vast majority of us. And it shouldn’t. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. All we have to do is solve the problem for current seniors. And we solve it for ourselves.
With tech that outlasts a generation, a better future-self awareness, and societal relevance that outlasts our 60s, we will make a better world for seniors, and a better world for all.
Article Submitted By Community Writer