Imagine a world where every child could speak weekly to a kind, caring and engaged older adult who is available to listen to them, and provide friendship and support.
A world where a thriving community of older adults of every nationality come together with one purpose: to make the life of the next generation better.
And the simple fact of being engrossed in another person’s life and caring for their well being improves health outcomes and makes life more joyful.
That is the world we are building at Eldera.
Our current social infrastructure is not set up to support our increased longevity and dropping fertility. The changing demography, with now as many older adults as children 15 and younger, offers unprecedented opportunity to support our young people. That is why we are tackling this challenge by harnessing the social capital of our elders, and using technology to turn their abundant time and wisdom into a new natural resource that helps all generations thrive.
According to Dean Linda Fried of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health: “The power of the social capital of older adults – driven to leave the world better and needing to make a difference – is social capital at scale never before available in history. Further, the lack of social institutions that build connection and cohesion within and across generations has been made painfully visible during the COVID pandemic.”
Our solution, as shown in the Dean’s seminal work on intergenerational connection, directly translates to improved health. Once we learn how to apply this new natural resource at scale, we can assess its impact on offsetting costs, from medical care costs to education and school dropout rates to shared action to mitigate climate change.
I want to grow old in that world. Don’t you?
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Dana Griffin is the co-founder and CEO of Eldera and a 2020 Gen2Gen Innovation Fellow, an annual Encore.org fellowship that catalyzes and supports the work of 15 practical visionaries of all ages with ambitious initiatives to bridge generational divides. This post originally appeared in Wisdom Well.