Perhaps you’ve seen some press recently about a new book from journalist Ted C. Fishman called “Shock of Gray” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/magazine/17Aging-t.html?emc=eta1). In it, the author attempts to make the case that as the world’s population is grows older, there will be heated battles between generations for shrinking dollars that fund programs which support older citizens (i.e. Social Security) or the young (i.e. Head Start).
Supporting an aging population is not a bleak either/or proposition that pits one generation against another. Instead of disparaging and dismissing the involvement of older adults, we should celebrate their contributions and facilitate their active participation.
One critically important way to do this is to make it easier for people of all ages to work in both paid and unpaid positions. In 2009, older adults volunteered 1.6 billion hours of time valued at more than $33 billion to our economy, a legacy that benefits recipients among all generations.
We must not look at an aging society as if we need to triage who to save and who to cut. We need to pull together and realize it’s a family, not a fight.
Generations United, Press Secretary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.