On 10 April, members of the AAA theme ‘Valuing the contributions of older people’ ran an engaging session at the Oxford Jam called “MEET THE NEW IN-BETWEENERS: THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY OF OUR AGE”.
The aims of the session were
To give everyone permission to own this as an issue and as an opportunity, regardless of age or experience
- To get the new ‘Inbetweener’ stage from mid to later life firmly on the map for social entrepreneurs in order to develop and provide services for, and with this demographic
- To raise awareness that we are leading a change in the way these issues are tackled, discussed and serviced. As the AAA working group collaborative, we’re taking a proactive, positive, celebratory approach, responding to the skills, talents and motivations of the new Inbetweeners
- To signpost the audience to the AAA collaborative and to invite participation in the initiatives of our working group
How it worked
The session ran for an hour and there were some 30 people actively engaged. We kicked off with the construction of a tower of boxes each representing a decade of life (from 0-10yrs up to 80+ yrs) and asked the group what happens during each decade, how it feels and what’s expected.
The need for change
The younger decades were clearly defined by the abundance of phrases such as – play, exciting, learning, “forming new….”, “building a…”, starting a ….” whereas the latter boxes were both sparsely populated and becoming full of loss.
The room was then divided into discussion groups and participants asked to re-define the hopes and challenges of the three inbetweener decades (40-70yrs) ahead of a whole group vote on which had the greatest depth of opportunity to substitute the existing boxes in the tower.
Following the vote, a speedy review of the ‘new’ tower highlighted the vigour and possibilities that had been substituted for the inbetweener decades. Many of the positive aspects originally recorded for the 0-30yrs stages had in fact been successfully transferred over to the inbetweener decades reflecting the incredible opportunity this new stage now presents, and allowing people to focus on how they might consider their time more positively and purposefully during this period.
It was an interesting and refreshing challenge to seek to involve social entrepreneurs and encourage participants to reflect personally on their attitudes towards the life course, and energising to witness how the usually bleak perceptions were altered by the end of the session. To find out more, click here to visit the Oxford Jam website: www.oxfordjam.org.uk/2014/meet-the-new-inbetweeners.
We hope to encourage more organisations and interested individuals who share our commitment to re-defining this stage of life as a unique opportunity to join our working group and continue the conversation with us.
Please contact any of our session facilitators, via the AAA Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you would like more information on joining the working group and taking this conversation forward with us:
Hannah McDowall, UnLtd
Annabel Warr, Encore Futures
Dave Martin, Centre for Policy on Ageing
Dr Jonathan Collie, Trading Times
Chris Minett, The Positive Ageing Company