What issue links South Korea, the Netherlands, Ghana and Singapore? A growing population of older adults living healthy, longer lives, with the potential to make major contributions. Programs in each country offer new ideas and confirm common themes: work, volunteerism and intergenerational connections are the foundation for benefiting from the longevity dividend. And all of them have representation in the Encore Network.
A growing number of global leaders are aware of the encore concept through Marc Freedman's writing and speaking, Pass It On Network and other colleagues. More and more are contacting Encore.org to learn what's working in the United States, a laboratory for nonprofit and government experiments. I'm pleased to share highlights from the past month's global connections; they offer ideas for your work and a snapshot of the worldwide encore movement.
In the Netherlands, Encore Network member Tripido and energy giant Shell announced a pilot program, placing 20 encore-age Shell employees in one-day-a-week nonprofit positions, while continuing their current jobs on an 80% schedule. Shell executives cited "preventing burnout" for these longtime employees as a key benefit of this unique program. Congratulations to Tripido co-founders Leo Smitshoek and Vincent Snijder.
Singapore's government has launched an ambitious "successful aging" plan to integrate older adults in all areas of life. (Read an overview and the detailed plan here.)
San Francisco Encore team members met with Singapore's volunteerism organization leaders to talk about plans for "silver volunteers" including a possible Encore Fellowship program. With more than 1,000 corporate partners, the Singapore group is uniquely connected to employers who could build Fellowships into their talent management strategies.
South Korea continues to be on the forefront of encore conversations.
In September, Encore.org hosted a Korean team filming a documentary on older adults using their skills in paid and unpaid social sector work, including interviews with the Encore Fellowships team, Experience Corps and ReServe.
South Korea's Ministry of Science, Technology and Information funded the project to offer role models for 50+ adults in Korea. We'll share a link to that material when it's released later this month.
In mid-November a team from Network member
Seoul 50Plus Foundation
met encore leaders in Portland and Seattle. Thanks to Jim McGinley in Seattle and Steve Maser in Portland for organizing the local meetings. The U.S. meeting follows up on their successful 2nd International Forum, which included presentations by Network members Poul-Erik Tindbaek,
founder and Carrie Deacon,
Director. Read the program overview
While the Foundation focuses on the 50 to 64 "young elderly" group, the Korean Labor Force Institute for the Aged addresses work for people 65+, the "older elderly." In early November a study team met with San Francisco Encore team members to learn about employment and volunteer opportunities for older Americans.
The Association of Ghana's Elders (AGE) is an NGO founded by social entrepreneur Esi Ansah to raise awareness of issues faced by older adults. Esi says, "In Ghana and other African countries, we've presumed that families will take care of older adults. Sadly, things have changed. We need to identify opportunities for relevant interventions, and also engage the talents of retirees who want to stay active in paid work and community activities."
AGE's three initial programs are: capturing older adults' life stories to showcase their experience and wisdom, peer support groups and health care vans to support isolated seniors. Esi's goals including growing AGE across Ghana, and inspiring other African leaders to invest in successful aging programs.
I'm inspired by these varied programs and the leadership emerging from governments, individuals and nonprofits. In turn, those programs are inspired to learn from the United States' decades of experience with encore programs and culture change. That's the power of connecting through the Encore Network, and joining our movement to engage older adults as a resource for our communities.