ASPIRE55 is about intergenerational aspirational ageing – young and old supporting each other to age in our own homes. Ageing impacts us at all ages. Whether we are 25, 45, or 65, we all have someone around us that is growing older. I have always looked forward to growing older, having the maturity to process experiences, appreciating life for what it gives us, contentment and having the financial security and luxury of time to do the things that mean the most to me.
I believe each generation’s outlook towards quality of life and lifestyle is different. Our approach towards filial piety is changing as we head towards a world without borders and smaller family units. In the past, being filial means that you hire someone to look after your parents as they age, and to them, this was a much appreciated gesture and a sign that they are well loved by their children. However, a very wise Professor once told me, if you care too much for someone, you remove their ability to be independent. If you stop letting someone boil water for six months, they will forget how to boil water.
The current generation of baby boomers (55 – 67 years old) and older adults are a more well educated, widely traveled and fiercely independent group. They value their freedom, they are financially secure, and are health conscious. They view living with their children as a choice, and many have already chosen not to. Instead, the approach towards filial piety for this group is now transforming to “how we can make them happy”.
Both “filial piety” and “laughter” is pronounced as “xiao” in mandarin. As our society evolves, so will our attitudes. One important question that we should ask ourselves is what can we do more to age in good health, with dignity and independence so that we can improve the quality of our life as we age. Happiness is more than the material things in life, its about having a sense of purpose and feeling emotionally fulfilled. The ageing population is not a challenge for our society, the bigger problem is social isolation and loneliness.