Previously I’ve written about the Darwinian challenge we all face. In less than 50 years average human life expectancy has risen by over 50%. While not unheard of, change of this magnitude is exceptional in Darwinian terms and poses real challenges to all of us as we struggle to adapt to the world of living longer.
I wonder how the giraffe would have done if, in one generation, the trees growing their favoured food were suddenly 50% taller – maybe long necks were not the solution and instead they would now have well developed tree climbing skills!
And so it is for humans – we are starting the challenge of adapting to a life that is 50% longer than the previous generation. For those in developed economies the challenge may, on the surface, appear less daunting. For some generations now we have seen people live to an impressive age, however they have been the exception. We now need to plan for whole communities living well past 100 with all that may entail.
In other parts of the world the challenge is stark. The Chinese and Indian populations must plan for a lifespan twice as long as their parents. Culturally and socially there is simply no precedent. So, despite what some people may tell you, we are all ‘feeling our way’.
At EML we are strive to give you ‘an edge’ as you face this challenge.
There is no secret formula, no country, community or group that can be studied to find the ‘one true secret of success’. Instead we work with people ‘in the new front line’ – those finding their way in a later life that is different from the old age experienced by their parents and far from what they had been expecting. In doing this we learn as much from those who are successful as those who are not and share these insights through our on-line Guides.
While raising awareness and sharing good practice is a start we can go further. We have developed a series of group challenges and games for you to do with friends – raising issues and stimulating discussions so that you learn from each other. We have also developed a simulation that lets your group put their ideas into practice so that you can see the long term impact.
None of this is a guarantee of success but being aware of the challenge is a great start…!