Business Innovation Factory Connected Aging Participatory Design Studio

In early November I was invited to Providence, Rhode Island to participate in a discussion with 15 others about leaving outdated concepts of aging behind.  The day long “think tank” discussion was  part of  the Connected Aging project, funded by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation with the  Business Innovation Factory.  BIF  will be completing the project with a video featuring some of us and parts of our stories as part of the project.

Photo by MeSome of the questions posed in November included:

What if we created experiences that focus on the continued pursuit of connection and purpose rather than the increasing need for monitoring and care?


What if we broadened the pool of possibilities for accomplishment and contribution?

What structures would support connection?

Throughout the workshop I got to know the others involved in the discussion. They included representatives from Artists and Scientists as Partners, the Time Goes By Blogger, and a Director of Elder Affairs to name of few of those assembled for the day. I felt honored to be in such great company.

The reoccurring question that we asked ourselves was:

How do I want to live my life?

I encourage you click below to learn more.

wflic dinnerWe realized a few things in our discussions. I would love to share some of those insights with you.

  1. New language. We recognized we need new terminology and language for aging in our culture. All of the current choices are imperfect like elders, seniors, boomers, old, aging, mature adult. None of these really sum up the experience or the lifestyle.
  2. More connection. Right now, most facilities are focused on providing care but what if we turned that concept on its head? If we focus on connection our needs for care may work themselves out in a more compassionate and organic way.
  3. Focus on transitions. There are so many possible life transitions that can change a person for better or for worse. Shouldn’t we focus on those? What about our casual collisions, our stages in life, or those coming home from war? We’ve set arbitrary life stages and that is disingenuous.
  4. The only answer. Most importantly, we discovered what we really already knew: there is no one right way to live a “senior” life. If we continue to put everyone within a certain age bracket into the same category we are losing out on a lot of potential.

It was truly an honor to be part of this discussion and to know that our workshop can encourage real change in our community for the future.

What do you think connected aging looks like?

You can read more about Women for Living in Community at my website. To join in the discussion, please visit the Facebook page!   

Women For Living in Community