Brexit and Old People
Annual Extreme Heat Advisory for Elders Plus an Extra Treat

Elder Tweens

I just made that up: elder tweens.

The word “tween” is new since I was young and although the age parameters vary depending on who is talking, it is the name given to an unofficial stage of life somewhere between childhood and teen years.

This new phrase, elder tweens, refers to all the current oldest generations combined, those of us who are retired now or facing retirement in the next decade or so. Let's say it encompasses, generally, all people from about age 50 to dead.

We are the elder tweens and we have a job to do for future generations of old people.

The thought came to me while reading an article about finding meaning and/or purpose in an old age that is longer than it has ever been, a time now when millions of people commonly live into their eighth, ninth and even tenth decade.

”What do we want to do with an extra 30 years?” asks geriatrician Linda P. Fried. “How should we, as individuals and as a society, shape the trajectory of our longer lives?

“...Should we be designing new social policies that will foster these opportunities? How do we prepare young people for longer lives – and can these questions be answered in way that would be beneficial for all generations?

Good questions. Dr. Fried is not the first to consider them but answers, good answers, aren't easy to come by mainly because we have never had to think before about what is a whole new stage of life.

For millennia, we have known what childhood and youth are for. And the middle years too. Even retirement was easily defined for the past century or so since it was invented: a few years of leisure activity for the healthy and (by today's new standard) an early death.

But now that we live so much longer – and healthier too - can anyone really play golf for 30 years? Which brings me back to the elder tweens.

The phrase isn't meant as the name for a new stage of life. Instead, I see it as an era – and a temporary one at that. The idea being that we 50-plus people – the ones who now have a whole lot of time on our hands – should put our minds to figuring out the best ways people can find personal fulfillment and satisfaction during these 30 extra years.

Dr. Fried lays out the problem this way:

”The truth is that we have created a new stage of life but have not yet envisioned its purpose, meaning and opportunities and the space is being filled with our fears...”

I'm not sure I buy the “fears” part but otherwise that's a good starting point and Dr. Fried also underlines the need elders have to continue contributing in significant and positive ways but is generally denied to old people in the United States.

Her solution rests with such venerable volunteer organizations as (of which Fried is a co-founder) and Experience Corps along with the federal community service organizations Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program).

These are important and worthy organizations that do excellent work but, as Dr. Fried notes, these organizations (not including locally based volunteer groups) involve only 360,000 elders.

Also, volunteering is just one way to find meaning in life and not for everyone. I suspect there are as many paths to personal fulfillment as there are people but in all the ageing work I've done over these couple of decades, only volunteering is ever suggested as helping to meet these human needs of heart and soul in our late years.

Without in any manner meaning to slight Dr. Fried's real successes, it is time to look beyond volunteering and perhaps it is we, the elder tweens, who are the people to take a whack at figuring out how to create this new, long stage of life and make it our legacy for the generations coming up behind us.

Perhaps we can outline a way of living in the late years so that younger people might know as much about it when they get here as they do nowadays about – oh, say parenthood.

From those of us nearing retirement, to people like TGB readers Millie Garfield and Darlene Costner who are both past age 90, and the rest of us in the middle – we have wide and deep experience from a variety of perspectives and ages of figuring out our old age.

What if we, the elder tweens, tried to answer Fried's questions on a larger scale - come up with new ways for people think about growing old. To repeat Dr. Fried:

”What do we want to do with an extra 30 years? How should we, as individuals and as a society, shape the trajectory of our longer lives?

“...Should we be designing new social policies that will foster these opportunities? How do we prepare young people for longer lives – and can these questions be answered in way that would be beneficial for all generations?

This is the place in an essay where I should give you some concrete examples and direction to contemplate but I would like to keep this post to a reasonable length and anyway, there are hardly any parameters yet to inventing a new stage of life which is what I'm suggesting we do.

The one thing I know for sure is that as important to society and to the individuals who participate volunteering or, giving back if that phrasing works better, is not the only way to find meaning and purpose. Good works are admirable but there are many other ways to find meaning in life.

One quick example is how fulfilled I am doing the work to produce this blog. I am especially proud of having created the community in the comment section filled with thoughts, ideas and conversation that expand so well on the day's topic. I learn as much there as I do in my research and I know many readers do too. Not to mention that it astonishes and pleases me how many of you find TGB valuable.

That is NOT an invitation for more congratulations today and besides, it's too easy. Instead, I'm asking you for some hard work. Let's pretend for awhile that it is up to us to invent a new old age to leave behind for generations who may live even longer than we do.

We elder tweens who remember what retirement used to be and find ourselves in a brand new kind may be the best positioned to start this crucial conversation. How does society need to change to accommodate all these extra years? What are the many ways we can expand the choices?


On the nose.

I've blogged for the past 7 years in a group of style bloggers over 50. Several of us are now almost or already over 60. As a result, we find ourselves musing more and more on this next stage of life, which most of us all "retirement" because that is something that has happened. But, you're right. It's not about golf. We are all wondering, how to give up the structure of work, how to cope with the loss of the meaning that work brings, and facing anxiety, pleasure, and a whole new way of being.

I find this a time to look back and rewrite, a bit. To address gaps in who we came to be, as we hurtled on. In my case, it was a virtue gap, in the moral sense. Not that I was evil, just that I didn't respect the classic virtues of service as much as I might. I'm trying to address that now, along with a personal tendency towards unnecessary anxiety.

I agree, we are in a unique position to investigate and understand an entire piece of life that's been untold, for the most part, to date. Ah, and of course, death.

About five years ago, when I was a mere 64, a friend in his nineties asked me, "what are you going to do with the rest of your life?"

I didn't have a clue -- I was just living along, as I always had, working, and bouncing from this to that worthy or merely arduous project. To my own surprise, I blurted to him: "Go outside."

Well, I'm doing a good deal of that these days. And it is wonderful. But that's not forever. I do a good deal of hanging out at the edge of other people's causes these days, trying to offer the perspective and history that life has given me -- but only if they want it. They have to walk their own roads and that's just how it is.

I gravitate to other elders in our tweens as Ronni calls it. That's pleasant and enriching. We've been through a lot. I carry a background fear of losing autonomy through isolation or disability. That's just how it is. So far so good and be glad.

I want to continue to be able to work for pay. What I'd like to see is flexibility for people who are, oh, say, old enough for their full social security, just to have a starting point. The job would allow some form of flexibility that allows a two- to four-day work week and the opportunity to go away, or take off, for two to four weeks once or twice a year. What I'm envisioning is a genuine commitment to the employer on the part of the elder matched by a willingness to be inventive and creative on the part of employers. Many of us are going to need this; others might want the feeling of being part of, and committed, to something outside of our homes.

My personal experience so far, at just a few weeks from turning 66, is that retirement is much more satisfying than most of the years of paid employment were. The way that exiting the working world occurred for my husband and myself is not at all what we would have expected just a decade ago, but I learned early in life that goes on despite its unpredictability and disappointments.

Like janinsanfran, I've spent a lot more time outside in the past three years, and would spend even more if I could. In 2010 I joined a national group called Wild Ones, which advocates native plant gardening, along with other conservation initiatives. Our local chapter has more than 200 members, of which about 60-90 show up for regular monthly programs. Looking around the room of grey heads at those meetings, I've estimated an average age of about 72. These are mostly folks who garden and do other outdoor activities ardently. Many have large yards where they've created or restored prairies and/or woodlands. I have only a very small plot of land with my old house on it, but over the past few years, I have converted much of the yard surrounding it to a space that supports birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators and other wildlife year-round. Each time I step outside my door is a little excursion into nature for me. Between that, feeding my voracious appetite for reading, doing a variety of volunteer activities for activities about which I have been passionate, but unable to devote much time until recently, and monitoring the health of a mate with a chronic illness, my days stay pretty full. I do wish we had done a better job of financial preparation for this time, but we're getting by and doing what we can to help others do the same. I would echo janinsanfran's "so far so good and be glad."

I've written about this for years at my blog. I call this time, The Final Third. The First Third of life is about growing up and getting an education. The Second Third is about work. But we've never really given The Final Third a purpose. Kids growing up in the first third of life spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to be when they grow up. Essentially, what they want to be in the second third of life. Retirement planning is all about the final third, but most people think of retiring as a withdrawal from life.

I believe the final third of life can be just as important as the other two phases of life.

We need to think about what we want to be in the final third of life with the same passion we did in the first third planning the second.

I was a stay at home mother until 40. Got a certificate in Volunteer Administration and volunteered at top levels for 10 years. At 50 I opened my first business which I always an ted to do. Closed 6 years later due to health issues. Those issues gone, I wrote a book and started business 2. Spoke across the US and in Japan. 22 year business. Closed to be a caregiver to my husband. Created a new way to be a healthy caregiver and opened business 3. At 81 I want to sell it and figure out what to do next. Advice, be a life long learner and two use your creativity to design your next dream.

We have initiated a discussion group to address some of these issues that need to be redefined, and gather information from a variety of folks in our community re what aging looks like to them as opposed to what it has been designed by others, advertisers, etc. to be. I like the idea of dividing the aging process into thirds, it does seem to have a definite purpose built around that concept. Now, we have to redesign the last third to include something other than bingo, walkers and walk in bathtubs. Of course, physicality plays a role in our ability to be active but instead of being put on meds to drag along, what if there was a health team to evaluate and put into place a plan for improving our natural resources. How many times have we heard from our med. providers, well, you're not as young as you used to be. Really? My Doc. tried to give me antidepressants three months after my husband died not appropriate I am always appreciative of this blog and the great amount of research that you do and resources you provide. We will be using your blog for a reference. Our first meeting is next month. Also, have hooked up with a group in Northampton, Mass. that deals with end of life issues and various living arrangements for people alternative to nursing homes etc. Cooley Dickenson runs this group.

I am totally in agreement with all your ideas about meaningful pursuits in old age, Ronni. No arguments there. In fact I am passionate about elderhood as a time to grow into one's deepest and noblest purpose. However, I have to say I think 'tweens' is a really bad word for 'everyone between 50 and dead.'

Just as 'tween' is used to describe a person who has not yet reached teenage, I think 'tween elders' might usefully describe those people between 50 and 65 who have reached the threshold of elderhood but haven't yet figured out what their 'third age' is going to be all about. Once they have settled into it and created a meaningful shape for their elder lives they can justifiably call themselves elders. But please don't call me an 'elder tween'!

We have very different names for the generations of young people - Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials etc.- and that is good. Things change fast and generations differ hugely in their attitudes. So why dump all those over 50 in one basket (even if you do call some of them elder tweens) Why not elders and 'pre-elders'?

There is a noticeable gulf between those of us like me who were old enough to be scared when the bombs whistling down around us in 1942 and those who were born into the new world of peacetime. We are two generations separated by 1945. And there are many of my generation who resent the feeling of 'invisibility' we seem to have in the eyes of the post-war Boomers who so often tend to act as though nobody was ever conscious of all the issues around ageing until they came along. This resentment was expressed well by another blogger back in February - see

As that writer points out, we are the ones who laid the foundations for the good work they are doing and we would appreciate some credit for it sometimes.

Yet here we go again, being dumped in the same basket with the Boomers, even though we are so different, and no doubt they will be the ones thinking that having a meaningful pursuit in old age is something they thought up.

'Elder' is a title you have to grow into. You don't get it bestowed on you at 50. And tweenhood is something you grow out of. Try calling teenagers 'older tweens' and watch them bristle!!!

God save me from "pre-elder", Marian. It sounds like another euphemism for old.

I can't be sure but I think you misunderstand what I mean by elder tween and I do know that I didn't clearly explain.

I don't mean to create another name for a generation division. The name may be a bad idea, but what it is for the moment is the name of all people of ages that would be currently concerned with later years - from, as I explained, near retirees to dead.

For all these groups, and we do agree here mostly, that they do have different needs and interests, we - society - have not yet had the important or arrived at a consensus about the many ways these long extra years can be used and especially, how society needs to change and adapt to help create it.

As I said, I see it as a temporary (though probably many years) group of all old(ish) people to have this conversation. I think that those who are in preparation, those living it now and those who have lived the years for a long time each havea unique perspective and overall, I think it is better for us to have the conversation that the "professionals."

Like you, Ronni, I've turned to writing to create an effect on the world. A couple of years ago I began a whole new writing experience for myself with a blog called Old Ain't Dead. What I'm trying to do with that blog is support women's roles in the culture and focus on various issues of social justice and human rights through the lens of pop culture.

I certainly don't have the readership or influence you do, but I'm writing my heart out on that blog. Even if it only reaches a few people, it feels like a contribution to the current dialog about social justice and human rights.

There a many impediments to me in terms of getting out of the house and volunteering or organizing within my community. But I can still sit at my computer and give what I have to give.

"Anxiety" might be a better word than "fear," but either way, it exists. Anxiety about our health, our financial situation (will I have enough money to carry me through all those extra years?), our manner of dying and death. Will we be able to live independently or be forced into some kind of assisted living? And the most obvious: What on earth am I going to do for 20 or 30 more years? Will I be relatively healthy or will I spend many of those years in illness and dependency?

For now my main activity is my blog. I put a lot of time into it, and the discussions lead me to think about and study a number of different topics. I prefer it to an activity that involves other people (admittedly I've very introverted). In fact, I read an article very recently that said both people and animals tend to draw away from others as they get older, perhaps because they know their time is growing short and they want to devote it to only the most meaningful, important things.

Marian, I too would prefer not to be called a tween of any sort. The word rather sets my teeth on edge. I dislike group labels of all sorts -- including 'Boomer,' which is also a much-too-large age category about which no generalizations can possibly be true.

I don't know which category you'd put me in. I was born during the war, but near the end of it. I was too young to acquire any wartime memories. So maybe I am a Boomer? But I haven't spent my life being part of a huge demographic wave inundating everything it encountered. That always came along a year or two after I reached an age milestone. This has sometimes worked to my advantage. sometimes not. When I graduated from college, jobs were relatively easy to find. A couple of years later, not so much. The economy hadn't adjusted to the sudden expansion of the workforce. When I was a teenager, teen-hood was still just an awkward age that children had to pass through on their way to becoming adults. A couple of years on, advertisers discovered YOUTH!!! as a Huge Market, and they haven't looked back. So, really, my life experience has been that if I encounter something because of my age, I only have to wait two years or so and suddenly everyone will be talking about it.

As for meaningful pursuits, I am still trying to work that out. For eight years, I've been volunteering in one capacity or another at a small independent online game, but lately I've found my interest in that flagging, and I don't know why. It may be recent health issues, it may be that my reduced vision is making it harder and harder. I'm due for cataract surgery in September, and I'll see if that makes a difference.

The rewards have been... engaging with young mostly-college-age people on a regular basis, forming internet friendships, offering a listening ear and advice when asked. People say I have helped, which feels good. There are many people out there by now whom I think of with affection, and I regard the game's owner as a friend and almost an adopted son.

Internet relationships aren't the same. Not inferior, really, just different, and I have had to discover the difference. Sooner or later, people do have to move on. The lesson I've learned is that that's all right.

Nothing lasts forever. It is enough that it once was.

Such interesting comments today! I'm going to be 79 in a little over a month, and I have generalized osteoarthritis. I'm ambulatory, but, you know, moving hurts a bit. One thing I think I *should* (yeh, yeh, I know, the menace of the shoulds) be doing is exercise of some sort, just to keep the old bod going. My garden is something I made with my hands, and it's really lovely, and I need to get out there and do at least a little maintenance. AND I resist it. Sigh. So, there's that. On the plus side, I'm more active as a classical pianist than I ever have been since I first asked for lessons at three, and I've given a few recitals (free, of course, at nursing homes and for small groups), and would like to go on doing that. It's not only wonderful for me, but sharing the music with other people feels like a legitimate contribution.

Now to think some more about doing that gardening . . . and having people over to enjoy it with me.

"How does society need to change to accommodate a longer old age?"

That's a big question, Ronni, and not one to which I can claim to bring any expertise. As implied above, I'm still trying to figure out this whole being-old thing myself. Some ideas, though...

- respect would help.
- governments demanding that people work past 65 but employers not considering them employable beyond 55 - that's got to stop.
- and some people CAN'T work past 65. Only the luckiest get a healthy old age all the way to their 90s. Most are going to have some health issues, and some of those issues will affect their ability to carry on with careers.
- energy levels do go down. Sometimes it's age, sometimes it's a side effect of prescribed medications. Either way, when it happens, it needs to be taken into account.
- pointing to exceptions to shame average people, that's got to stop, too.

This is just off the top of my head.

There are also aspects of being retired that I would hate to lose. Like, I will never have to face a Performance Review, ever again! And not being a slave to an alarm clock: that's priceless.

Google "images senior citizens" (you don't need to type the " marks.) What you'll get is stock photos of a homogeneous, idiodicly happy groups of smiling people with grey hair. Now google "images elders." That gets you a slightly more diverse view of us, but still with the idiot-grins. Next, go for "images baby boomers." Don't do it right after lunch as you'll probably lose said lunch. I didn't have the guts to google "images elderly people."

That's not what "we" look like, if people even bother to notice us at all. (Maybe there should be a few blank frames, to represent how invisible we can be to lawmakers, and society in general.

I subscribed to a certain magazine that was supposed to inform one on great locations to spend a Third Life. Past tense on "subscribe,", because after six months of being told all I wanted was a clubhouse, a golf course, restaurants and shops in walking distance, I'd seen enough. It did have value though, in showing me that those "features" are exactly what I do NOT want in my later years. ''

The world has one picture of us, and has tailored our options to these types of images. Here at TGB, I see that there are truly more introverts than I imagined; I thought I was just about the only one quite happy to pursue solo interests. Ronnie, we haven't heard much about your Village, and that movement of late; would like to think what our latter year generations are creating with this will help to form new images of what we really want out of our last 10-20-30 years.

I've seen a few comments about trying to find a post-career part time job with flexibility. I've been living that life for the last 14 years - Professional Pet Sitting. I've owned my own business for the last 10. The industry is begging for people in our stage of life that still want to be active and enjoy something meaningful. Ronnie - keep me in mind if you see a future post on post-career employment opportunities, and I'd be happy to chat.

I have just subscribed to your blog and am liking what I am reading, both the blog and comments. I have been retired for 3 years, am approaching 69, and cherishing and enjoying every moment. The company I retired from offered great retirement planning seminars. One of the points I really latched onto, was "have a plan, thought, etc. of what you will do when you retire." I had lots of them. Some of them I explored, some have been tossed, but others have taken their place.

I was a single mother for 14 years between marriages. During that time, I was the sole support for my sons. There were many things that other mothers were doing, that I could not do. However, I always was able to somehow find the path to experience my dreams. From a young age, I wanted to of the
companies I worked for allowed me to live this dream. After marrying my present husband, through his work, I actually got to live in 2 European countries for 7 years. I travelled whenever I could and still do.

I have also learned all the crafts I missed out on by not being able to experience being a stay-at-home mom. I missed many of my sons' sporting events, but am able to cheer on my grandchildren at theirs. While in high school, I played too much and did not pay attention to the Civil War, World War 1 and World War 11 eras. I am studying all those subjects again and really enjoying exams.

I embrace my age, love taking advantage of senior citizen discounts and when looking in a mirror, seeing the same face that has always looked back at me.

I love your blog, but not crazy about the term "tween." To me, it has a finalty about it. I don't see this period of my life as being final. As long as I can do, I will.

As far as advice for the "younger ones," the only thing I offer without being asked is, "Don't wait to do something you want to do." The experience may not be the one you dream about, but you will have the experience. Such as travel. If the only way you can afford it is backpacking, do it now. You can always buy that first-class ticket when the time is right.

(sigh)-At 83 years of age I was finally getting used to the idea of not having a need to be busy all the time. After my many years in a nursing career and several other jobs -sometimes as many as three at a time-plus raising a family, I found it difficult to settle down. Now I want to just "be" it my time of "undoing". A retired friend of mine when asked, "What do you DO with your time?" she replied, "I KILL it!"... sounds pretty good to me!

However, I agree with Mary Jamieson's comment about having a small job with flexible hours would be a good idea. While volunteering can be very fulfilling being compensated for our time is also rewarding. Personally, I miss the camaraderie of the workplace.

We can't always "shape the trajectory of our longer lives"...stuff happens and as many of us realize, plans have a way of falling apart in mid-flight.

Perhaps education is a key. Say a college course in "How Society Deals With Life After Retirement"--field studies required. That might bring about some understanding and hopefully some better preparation for the 'longer years'.

When I go away on holiday I don't plan every step of the way, in fact, most of the time the most rigid things are the day I plan to leave on my journey and the day I need to be back. I stay longer in places I like and pass through those I don't find appealing. My attitude to retirement is very similar, I don't want to be locked into anything, instead I want to do what I feel like for the day, week or month.
I love being retired and the freedom that gives me which is so far removed from the strictures of my working life. I dislike categories like "Baby Boomers" because they pigeon-hole people who actually have vastly different attitudes and behaviours. No matter how old or young we are there are those who get comfort from knowing what to expect, having options clearly defined for them and recognizable roles but others feel trapped by that and just want to feel free.

I am 73 and a half. At my age I'm proud of all those years I've got under my belt, and I will keep on enjoying them for as long as I can. These comments have been very enlightening. I realize that many are happy with retirement, but there are others who would rather be working and earning a paycheck.

My husband and I are not wealthy, but our needs are few. When I retired eight years ago, I was happy to move to the next phase. Instead of working, I decided to work out: I go to the gym four days a week and hike once a week with the Senior Trailblazers (an activity through the local Senior Activities Center). I consider exercise and the community of other like-minded people to be a huge benefit to me.

For years I didn't volunteer because I hadn't found just the right avenue for me. Then last summer my husband and I filled out our Advance Directives for End-of-Life Care, with help from a volunteer facilitator, and it was such a wonderful experience that I decided to become a certified facilitator to help others do the same. I also applied for and received a commission as a Notary Public so I can certify the documents. Although it's hard work, it's extremely rewarding, and I've met some fantastic people who have come to me for help. So, for the foreseeable future, I've just got to find a way to take care of myself and not get overextended. :-)

I qualify as a Boomer, but have never felt comfortable with that pigeonhole, it's too stereotypical. Likewise for Tween (of any sort, glad it didn't exist when I was a kid) or Senior or Elder. "Hippie" I could relate to, it was like an insider joke, but in those days the folks I hung out with usually self-labelled as "Heads". But enough with the labels, I like the idea of a course on how society deals with life after retirement, it's more of a societal issue than a "seniors" issue. And I have learned the hard way that I don't do well with formal volunteering opportunities, any "giving back" (oh do I hate that concept) activities I engage in are of the undercover one-on-one type.

When I was young I met an African PhD candidate whose goal was to return to his village as a Wise Man, he intended to fill his life with experiences that would qualify him for that designation. I wish I had a village to return to as a Wise Woman, I'd work hard at fulfilling the requirements for the designation.

Count me in as one who dislikes age labels. As an individual I prefer more "human" labels.
I am an avid reader, a lover of jokes, a walker, etc. These labels apply to any age and allow
me to have a variety of friends with multiple ages.

I'm your age, and I find I can still do some manual labor shuffling books around for the American Cancer Society Discovery shop here. As some places, like the big Salvation Army store, cut back their books, we are getting their customers. My hands are fragile, but I love books. I love talking to the customers. I wear braces, and I wear them out. But I can laugh at my worn out self and keep shelving books.

Giving back is the key to my survival.

Hmmm...when I saw your title I thought approximately age 65 to age 80...those of us old enough to retire but young enough to, hopefully, still be fairly active and in control of much of our lives. For me, reaching retirement meant a whole panoply of opportunities laid out in front of longer limited by 8 to 5 Monday through Friday. I think what is so wonderful about this age is the *choices*! For my husband, a retired engineer, it has meant a new career teaching history to retirees. For me it has meant more travel, more volunteering, joining a walking group, taking classes in whatever interests me, being available to help my kids and grandkids when they need me, etc. What's great about this age is that each of us can re-invent our self in whatever way our interests lead us and our health allows!

JIm Harris I like your comment.

Teachers attended pre-retirement workshops but no speaker mentioned the elephant in the room:

The psychological adjustment.

The financial aspect was explained in fine detail.

Absent was a discussion about the stages of retirement, the highs, lows, the possibilities.

Possibilities such as:

My retired friend is teaching a school caretaker how to read. The caretaker is 57 years old, is dyslexic, was trying to get a promotion, but he couldn't fill in the application form.

My friend is getting paid to teach the man how to read. The caretaker has already progressed to sending emails to his boss. Caretaker has a smile on his face now.

I love it when seniors take their natural skills a step further and create a job on their own terms.

Providing us with this blog is indeed a volunteer activity as I see it and one that not only assists others, but requires you to stretch and learn also. So, to me you are a big time volunteer.

Language is often the key to innovation and acceptance. Until something has a name, it is hard to explain or accept.

This page (the current blog post and comments) gave me one random thought about employment. Interns are a marvellous concept — if they're taken seriously and if they are paid. Why not externships — low key flexible (maybe short-term) paid jobs for people who have already had one or more careers? Or another beautiful word that signals another option between volunteering and career employment or contracts?

As for the term 'elder tween', I hope that one is allowed to expire without fanfare. I don't want a label: all the 76-year-olds who I know are worlds apart in their lifestyle and goals. But I do like the phrase, University of the Third Age (speaking of thirds).

More on the category 'elder tween' : between what? Adult life and death? I'm not especially keen on that thought, are you? (Excuse me if I'm flogging a dead horse here.)

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