The Age Action Alliance Thematic group on Valuing the Contributions of Older People held a special seminar to ask how the retirement transition can be a time of releasing people’s potential, and what we need for that to happen.
It was attended by a diverse group working in: research and policy, grant-making, the voluntary sector, local authorities and social ventures providing opportunities for the over 50s.
Coincidentally Camden Council held an event the following Monday for people aged 50 and over focusing upon issues relating to employment, developing enterprises, adult learning, training and volunteering. The event aimed to explore Older People’s experiences of looking for work, the existing skills learning and aspirations of older people and the barriers they have experienced finding work
Interestingly the messages from that event reinforced the points emerging from the Seminar:-
- The acknowledgement that there is an emergent and growing group of people who are finishing their main occupation but who do not yet concider themselves ‘retired’. These people are ‘in betweeners’.
- We are charting new territory. People in this group find it difficult to navigate between these stages of life, we need something different to our parents or grandparents and there no clear role models.
- We need to create a ‘platform’ to focus and co-ordinate discussion and action on “transition” issues, if we are to fulfil our potential as individuals and for society to benefit.
The question still remains – whose role is it to bring together this focus – to coordinate and lead?
In the past one may have looked to the Local Authority, but times are different. The age sector might be able to lead, but ‘in-betweeners’ often don’t think of themselves as old or indentify with the issues at the forefront of age sector debates. Perhaps we need a new alliance of partners including businesses, those concerned with this transition, and older entrepreneurs themsleves?
We may be seeing new moves on the “old”!