The central focus of this project is a high-level Summit of thought leaders, experts, and advocates in fields ranging from media and entertainment to health, education, and policy with the purpose of reimagining, and most importantly, communicating current research on the importance of beneficial purpose in the period of life traditionally considered the “retirement years.” Research shows there is an intersection between aging and purpose in life, with older people taking a concrete interest in passing on what they have learned for the benefit of peers, younger people, and the broader society. As we age in a culture obsessed with youth, findings in psychology, economics, and gerontology all suggest that older adults represent a powerful human resource and that it would be a tremendous waste not to find ways to take advantage of their impulse toward beneficial purpose. While public awareness of this research is growing, it is still not widely known. As the population ages rapidly across the U.S. and much of the world, there is a need—and an urgent opportunity—to change the narrative—and hearts and minds—regarding the culture of aging. The focus of this project is to do just that, and we believe that the time is now and the circumstances are right to move forward.
We will have succeeded by accomplishing several goals. We must weave together influential leaders in purpose, aging, and media/communications with a shared, empirically-informed vision of changing the perception of older adults. We must also build and communicate a narrative case on the value of beneficial purpose and the potential of older adults to improve lives and, by purposefully contributing to the well being of others, enhancing their own lives.
We imagine developing, scaling and spreading messages and ideas through storytelling, and engaging the power and influence of media to challenge, celebrate, and contribute to better and fuller lives and a more purposeful society for people of all ages.