Both my wife, Eva, and I work from home and have a 10 year old girl, Paisley, visiting us this week. My wife and I are purpose driven. Each of us has a dream we wish to achieve that means something to ourselves. For me, that dream is the creation of a society that provides Quality of Life for Everyone specifically targeting seniors, their caregivers, and the stakeholders in the senior’s life. For her, it is the management of a large portfolio of properties both residential and commercial. Each of us, focuses on improving the quality of life for everyone we interact with.
If you think back to when you were ten, you might remember being bored easily. I certainly do. Paisley is no different. She bounces from one thing to another in 5 minute intervals, learning a Christmas song on the piano in 5 minutes, painting a pastoral scene in the next 5, and on and on. Between those 5 minute intervals she asks Eva, “When are you going to play with me?” several times. She is purposeless. There is nothing that captures her heart and mind to the point where she drives herself towards a goal of self fulfillment. I explained to her that she might want to find a goal that she finds appealing and create a few small easily accomplished steps to achieve it. She told me she wants to be a brain surgeon and that she has not graduated from college. Her goal has an obstacle in the way that she alone cannot supersede.
Being old is no walk in the park. Our eyes become less reliable, we cannot always depend on our balance, our legs, or our memory. We can become fearful of many things including being a burden to those around us. This last issue might be the worst of all those things that afflict us when we age. Paisley, has not matured enough to the point where she understands the equation of value. We are there for her. Seniors are mature adults, they understand the equation of life and, for most, have learned to make sure they give more than or equal to what they take. They get the concept of conservation of mass, energy, and value. To many, it is abhorrent that others must spend their time and energy supporting their senior life. What do they have to give back? Seniors, unlike Paizely, often have a desire to accomplish goals that have real value to them. Like Paisley, the obstacles between them and their goal often seem unassailable. But why?
Seniors make up more than 14% of our society. In that 14% are ex CEOs, surgeons, artists, musicians, social activists, philosophers, and writers. They represent a complete composite of society, a demographic of accomplished veterans of life. Yet, they languish in senior communities, perceived as a burden and not as an asset.
How seniors are perceived and to what lengths we are willing to invest in their achievements determines, in a large part, their self value.
We have, in fact, created a society whose most valuable resource, wisdom, is housed in communities whose business is threatened by a litigious onerous society forcing them to focus on profits sometimes at the expense of possibilities, or alone at home awaiting a bus to take them to a senior event where they are entertained.
This is a call to action. It is time to consider our values, to change the accepted practices used to manage age, and our supposed healthcare system. It is time to think of seniors as an invaluable resource that is revered and respected and mined for knowledge. We have come to a point in time where what they have to offer can no longer afford to be discarded. Let us use our vast knowledge of science, AI, and robotics to enable our value up to the moment we die. Let’s put the person back into personal care and value.