Changemakers
Published in

Changemakers

How we bring generations together

Marc Freedman wants to see younger and older people work together

Social entrepreneur, writer, and thought leader Marc Freedman founded Encore.org 20 years ago — a community of changemakers age 50+ who are charting a new, engaged path through middle and late life. (See Marc’s latest book on this topic — ranked #1 on the Wall Street Journal’s list of best books on aging well.)

Marc is thinking a lot these days about how to bring the generations together — both in daily life and around solutions to pressing, multi-generational challenges like stemming the pandemic, strengthening a multi-racial democracy, and responding to the climate crisis.

He shares more in this conversation with Jill Vialet, founder of Playworks and Substantial, who is also an Ashoka Fellow. Here are a few highlights:

The root of the problem

Senior centers and retirement communities were “inventions” of last century, imagined as being good for society — the next thing! Marc shares a brief history of age segregation in 20th century America and how social innovation “got us into this mess — and will get us out.”

Towards proximity and shared purpose

What keeps Americans separated by age? Part of the answer is plain and simple: lack of proximity. Marc shares some of the innovations he’s tracking in housing, the gig economy, and more.

The route to fulfillment

Studies show that older adults who forge bonds with younger people are three times happier than those who don’t. Marc unpacks what he calls the “tributaries of life” (from his latest book), and shares a proverb to live by.

Next innovations in longevity

New solutions in longevity are sprouting up from innovators of all ages. Many are focused on meeting the needs of older adults. But Marc is most encouraged by ideas that unlock what he calls the “joint power” of the generations.

Intergenerational changemaking

What’s ahead in the next chapter of American life? Advice to the new administration? Marc reflects on the moment — the oldest-ever President sharing an inaugural stage last week with 22-year-old poet and changemaker Amanda Gorman — and why being a changemaker is a “lifetime enterprise.”

Watch the full conversation here.

You can follow Marc on Twitter here: @marc_freedman @EncoreOrg and Jill on Twitter here: @jillvialet

You can find Marc’s books here. And look for Jill’s new book on redesigning the substitute teaching experience, coming out in April, here.

Welcome Change is a weekly conversation series with leading changemakers about what works and what’s next. Explore our calendar of upcoming and past events. Subscribe here for insights and invitations from the world of changemakers.

Ideas for a world in which everyone contributes

Recommended from Medium

What Malaysian companies really mean in their job adverts

Creating space for disagreements in software development process

Three Unusual Ways to Design Yourself a Practical and Welcoming Home Office

A home office with a woman looking out of the window

Spark Spotlight: Anne McMullin

Is Creative Cloud worth it?

How volunteers with multiple disadvantage built a crazy golf course and found connection and…

How to Create an Effective Portfolio Website

Are You Overinvesting in New Employees?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ashoka

Ashoka

We bring together social entrepreneurs, educators, businesses, parents & youth to support a world in which everyone is equipped & empowered to be a changemaker.

More from Medium

Green Innovators lead with community-based solutions

Society 2045’s Key to Sustainability Is Decentralization

Post Growth Ripples: March 2022

Future Creative Learning and the Power of the Imaginal