One of the biggest risks as people age and enter retirement is the risk of isolation. Boomers need to be mindful about the outcome of a a grief and loss process. This is something that is considered to be complex and doesn’t happen automatically. What is it that makes people thrive or die moving into a retirement village/retirement home? Boomers are entering the next stage of their lives which is retirement. They enter a period of personal confusion and even disorientation. It’s a fact that Baby Boomers are described as a very hard-working generation and often have been defined by their careers. Understand how connections really matter to Boomers, how maintaining relationships are of the utmost importance. Keeping in touch with family and friends. They are degrees of closeness – Boomers can choose the degree of closeness. How to maintain connections and make new ones?
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Booms Day Prepping, your regular podcast about Baby Boomers and prepping for the next stage of our lives. We’re joined today by some of our regular panel and we’ll have some others who are dropping in by pre recording a little bit later but we have with us Baby Boomers Brian Hinselwood and Bron Williams. And as always your Baby Boomer hosts Drew Dwyer and myself, Wayne Bucklar. Today our topic is “Connection – Who Matters Most?” and we’re going to lead off with Drew. Drew, lead us into this one.
Dr. Drew Dwyer: Well hello everybody and I’m glad that the panel has arrived in meeting us today. I chose this subject today because it’s an interesting subject but it has a lot of different paradigms to it, a lot of things that need to be considered when we talk about connection. So one thing in particular to be mindful of is that for the older more mature part of the community and specifically our really older generation, one of the biggest risks we have as we age and enter retirement is the risk of isolation. And people think that it happens specifically or primarily because they’re old, or they’re getting older, and they have no family, and they sit at home, they don’t do anything. Well that’s probably in an environmental context part of it but we should be mindful particularly as Boomers, we should be mindful that this is actually the outcome of a grief and loss process. So to become isolated or disconnected is not something that automatically happens, it’s something that progressively happens to people and it can happen to people of any age, but it’s something that progressively happens to people and with older people, it is a staged event that goes through cycles very much similar to a grief and loss cycle. And usually in the people that I counsel or talk with or work with, I can identify the trigger point or the igniting stage of this through looking or being looking through the lens of grief and loss. So older people just don’t become disconnected or isolated because they’re old. They gradually move through the cycles of grief, loss, change and the things that we always discuss on this panel, until they eventually become isolated and disconnected. So I think the conversation we want to have and I want to have today and to get our listeners wrap their heads around is what is connection to you and what is important for you to remain connected with or who to remain connected with? What’s not important to be remained connected with? Why do you see this connection having no value or worth getting rid of?
Bron Williams: What I see is that there are three levels maybe of connection, maybe four. Certainly there are operating in my life. The first level is my connection with myself and I’m finding as I get older, that connection is deepening all the time as I become more aware of myself, understand myself better, understand how I relate in the world and I anticipate that that will just continue till the day I die. Then there’s my connection with my mum and all the things that go with that and the change is that because of her like she’s in her early 90s, all the changes that that’s bringing in her life and therefore what that brings in my life but that connection is very important. It’s the connection with my children and my grandchildren which is more at a distance now as their lives take on that individuality that you want with your children, you want to live separate lives, to be independent human beings and of course, my relationship with my grandchildren is that one step to live because I don’t see them a lot. And then there’s the connection with those people who are important to me as peers. Whether that’s my friend, my partner, those sorts of things. So I think there’s still a lot of connections and I think there needs to be intentionality around maintaining those connections.
Brian Hinselwood: One of the things Bron, you said right at the beginning there and Drew kind of alluded to it as well which you were saying – your first level is with yourself. Isn’t that one of the dangers of not for you but for people becoming lonely is they become so self almost inward looking? That’s how they sort of become lonely. I mean I agree with what you’re saying, I mean I’ve always, in fact I’ve said probably a million times for different people who may be known a million, a lot of times to people that if you’re not happy, the people around you can’t be happy. If you’re not working in whatever capacity, you’re talking about the other people can be because if you’re down on yourself, the vibes to you go out to other people and it just doesn’t work. You have to be intense and happy, content maybe a little bit strong, but you have to be reasonably content and happy with yourself for it to affect other people. And I agree, for me my main thing is family and friends and I put them on the same level because as you weigh more with my friends and I do it with my family, both my daughters live interstate so therefore my grandchildren are interstate. We see them whenever we can, if they happen to come up here for a few days or we will go down there for a week or whatever. And so friends and family to me are vitally important. In terms of work and I try to keep in contact, being an actor, it’s more difficult to talk like you’ve got an office and people come in or you go to their office or whatever and you probably go for an audition somewhere and you hopefully meet somebody that you’ve work with before and they were impressed with blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I think one of the awful things about loneliness for me is obviously the isolation thing but how relatively easy it is for people as a society to overcome it. There’s a lot of things we can do to help people who are on their own as opposed to being lonely to stop being lonely.
Dr. Drew: Yes. Part of what you’re both talking about is related to where we see it from a clinical aspect and I know I do this a lot but people have to understand that it is what we do professionally. But I often talk and this is not about age, it’s about human beings. I have to talk to clients and patients around what we know as the circle of influence. So when we have to sit down with a patient or a client and work out what are the most influential people – you’ve both already been discussing it – our lives and the way we construct our behavior in our environment is much like an onion. So as psychological people or professionals, when we dig through with our clients, we take them on a journey of understanding themselves much like an onion that has layers. And if you can picture an onion cut in half in front of you, those rings of those onions, we draw down right to the center and that center ring is what Brian talks about that – that self, that person itself but it’s called the inner circle. So it is that part of the person that is what is the most important part that in a circle? For me, I know it’s my wife and my two children. And then you go to the next ring, or layer or circle out and I’ll probably put some brothers and sisters in there or some very close friends. Then the next circle out, I’ll probably put some aunties, uncles, and parents and so forth and my mother and father will probably sit about 30 rings out further. And when we do this with people, it’s about learning themselves, their needs and wants but also understanding where these other people have a connection or an influence in their life. And one of the great tools or the skills we use in this tool is teaching a person that they have the right and they have the power to move people and their connection and their influence with this people in and out of these onion rings or circles. So if I know that I’ve put my mother-in-law on an outer ring circle and all of a sudden she’s in my space and annoying me and disrupting my inner circle, it gives me great courage, and privilege and confidence to be able to challenge, to question, to ignore and to have some strength in my emotional intelligence to understand, “The person that I’m with right now is not a close connection, there on my outer circle and I really don’t have to listen to what they’ve got to say or take any of it on board.” So of course it goes in and it comes out. But what it does do is that it allows us to identify who are the most important people of influence in our lives and to start to segregate people out in matter of importance particularly as we age and who’s significant and who’s going to have an influence and then it helps you to stabilize why you do want a connection and why you don’t. So in very important factors, I know that there’s psychological things and they’re based in science but they are tried, and tested, and evidence-based and when you really sit with people and I do it a lot of my older cohort and they start to understand that they realize, “I really don’t like that person so I’m gonna actually start pushing them out to my outer circle.” Now it’s a metaphorical thing, it doesn’t mean you stop seeing that person, it means when you’re in connection with that person, you know where they sit in your circle of influence.
Amanda Lambros: I just wanted to add to this onion ring analogy is that the way that I’ve always worked with it in grief recovery in the Grief Recovery Institute is that instead of an onion ring, what we actually use is we use an “Artichoke” example. And so what you’re doing is you’re essentially peeling the layers of the artichoke away so that you get to the heart of the matter and that’s actually what’s really, really important. So no matter what, you do have to actually go through those emotions to be able to get to the point that you need to get to which is the heart of the emotion.
Glenn Capelli: Hi team, it’s always interesting for me and I often say, it’s all to do with SOG-esteem. So self, others, global. To me, this whole thing that connectivity is how we form a relationship with ourselves? How we communicate with ourselves inside our head, how we build self-esteem. But then there’s that connectivity to others, others esteem, how we do, what they call the “dyad” when we pair with somebody whether it’s a marriage, whether it’s a relationship, whether it’s a business thing, whether it’s pairing with somebody who becomes a mentor or are we a mentor for them. And then the global is how we relate to this planet of ours and how we make our contribution. So connectivity for me is really an interesting topic when we break it down into self, others and global.
Bron: I was just thinking it’s a bit like I’ve got a lot of Facebook friends and some of them, I’ve unfollowed because I get tired of seeing – they’re helpful as connections – but I don’t actually want to see the intimate details of their lives. So I unfollow them, they’re still friends but I’ve unfollowed them so there’s their sense of which I’ve put them into an outer onion-ring circle.
Amanda: I think one of the best things to understand especially with regard to relationships in like your life and connections is that they’re really important and sometimes, you don’t realize how important they are until they’re gone. So while of the relationships are there and while you have the ability to connect, try to make the most of it and it could be simple things like going over to a friend’s house for dinner or showing up or even just a simple text message to somebody to let them know that you have that connection and want to remain with that connection as well. And then it’s funny, sometimes you’ll share stories with people within your your sphere of friends or relationships and the degree of closeness that you actually have, the degree of connection could be that they know someone you know and it’s a good way to reconnect. And from that reconnecting, I think one of the most important things to think about is how you can benefit and not stay or remain isolated going forward because that’s one of the biggest issues is that you just don’t want to feel a sense of isolation going forward.
Glenn: I always find interesting when we look at the “jukebox of life” and I think Harry Nilsson wrote the song and in Australia, John Farnham and maybe it was Johnny Farnham in those days recorded that and it said, “1 is the loneliest number that you’ve ever heard.” But I don’t know if it has to be. I think one of the journeys throughout life from “go to whoa” is the relationship we form with ourselves and how we do solo, to do solo well. Now I’ve got friends and I’ve got business CEOs that I work with, they really find doing solo tough. One of the CEO said even when he’s on the road traveling and he gets into a hotel, he has to turn on the radio, turn on the TV and then get on his phone to talk with somebody – he needs voices around him. And we tried to help him and be able to form a little bit of better relationship with self time, slow time, self thought time, solo time in nature, solo time in life. When we’re in flow, when we’re really at our very, very best, we’ve got some time to ourselves in the world and it might be us going for a walk, not listening to iPads, not listening to even this podcast, we’re just going for a walk and being in that moment doing things alone and doing things solo. So to establishing a really good relationship with solo time I think is an excellent thing throughout life and if we don’t do it well in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, then we don’t have that quiet place where we enjoy it in our 70s and our 80s. So 1 might be the loneliest number Harry and Johnny Farnham but I think 1 can be one of the beautiful relationships in life. Do solo well.
Wayne: I love the analogy of the onion Drew because it strikes me that it’s bitter in big mouthfuls and better when it’s pickled.
Dr. Drew: I was going to say it’s like life Wayne, you can make a choice. I often say to people, you can make a choice. I do this a lot with nurses in the area that I work in and say to them, “You have a choice as a leader and a clinician. You can peel the layers of the onion back or you can bite into it and chew like hell but I’m warning you either way, at some point you’re going to cry.” Because it’s an onion and you can’t avoid it, that’s what onions do.
Bron: That’s true.
Brian: I have to say Drew that as the first time I’ve ever heard anybody say that mother-in-law’s who can sort of get on your nerves or something. I’m quite surprised at that. Equally, I love the analogy of the onion because, yes, one way or the other you’re going to end up in tears.
Bron: And can I also say that that goes for women as well with their mother-in-laws, it’s not just the domain of men with theirs.
Dr. Drew: Well that’s a problem, I mean you did take on the man that was nurtured by his mother.
Bron: This is quite true. As you took on the woman who was nurtured by hers.
Dr. Drew: Yes.
Bron: It works both ways.
Dr. Drew: And I often look at my mother-in-law and go, “I hope not.”
Bron: I know what I’m saying.
Wayne: Bron, it’s interesting that you raised Facebook because I work in technology. I think when we talk about connection now maybe even with my mother who’s in her 90s, she’s quite confident with a mobile phone and texting, she’s not a Facebook user. But that generation, the assumption that everyone who’s over 70 can’t use technology is just not true. People have adopted it and use it and the issue of distance has just gone away. The days when we used to pay a fortune for long distance phone calls has just been replaced. But we now have this large number of very low value, what I see is low value connections on Facebook and on LinkedIn, on other things of people you don’t even, you have them as friends but you’ve never actually met them. And so for me, there’s three categories here and it’s maybe a little bit of Drew’s onion ring analogy. There are those people that you’re friends with who you talk to or chat with regularly enough that you’re interested in their day-to-day happenings and they’re easy to stay in touch with. And then there are those friends who are friends but you don’t stay in day-to-day conversation with them and it’s maybe the couple of times a year you’re in touch with and you do see their feed. But the issue with them is because you’re not in day-to-day contact, what happened today at work is not a relevant question, it’s the big things that make conversation. And the technology facilitates you not staying in touch. I have an application I’ve just reviewed for Facebook that will send a personal message to everyone on their birthday, and you can pre-program the personal messages from a list of a thousand personal messages and you just pick the ones to go. You probably both get these, lots of happy birthday messages in your LinkedIn and Facebook, things that are just someone clicking the “Wish Brian a Happy Birthday” button. So my strategy for dealing with that is that on people’s birthdays, if they’re in that ring, I ring them up, I don’t send them a message, I ring them and I actually speak with them. And I think there is a vast difference in the way we perceive our connection between talking to someone interactively and sending them a chat interactively. I think it feels very different.
Brian: I agree. Like almost everybody, I’m on Facebook and I very, very rarely use it. But my daughter and my youngest daughter who has two young children, I have trouble talking to her on the phone because she can never answer the phone, one of the other of the children needs attention on its feeding or whatever. And so I actually have to text her first and say, “Call me when you’ve got a minute” and it’s a damn nuisance. I hate just texting people just sort of saying, “Hello, just thinking of you. How are you? Blah, blah, blah.” For me, one of the reasons I like this, I can see everybody’s face and I know who I’m talking to and it makes a big difference to me to be face-to-face with people, whether it be for people a thousand kilometers away.
Amanda: So one of the important things that I’d like to mention here is that face-to-face connection is vitally important. There’s a lot of cues that you get in a physical connection so face-to-face that you just won’t get over social media or that you won’t get while you’re texting people. And so oftentimes, that face-to-face connection just gives you all the subtle nuances that you wouldn’t necessarily have over text message and chances are more than likely, some of those text messages are being misread or misinterpreted because they lack the physical seeing of somebody’s body language and all that kind of stuff. So definitely, the face-to-face is a better way of communicating and connecting with others as opposed to just simple online or texting.
Glenn: I always find that interesting. So my take on this in terms of relationship is that dyad, to have a variety of relationships in your life where you’ve got pairing with people. Now of course, hopefully somewhere along the way, you will have relationships with another human whether that formulates in into marriage or whether it’s girlfriend-boyfriend, or boyfriend-boyfriend, girlfriend-girlfriend, mate and mate. But to have some one-to-one friendships where it’s the person you will pick up the phone and chat with, it’s the person you will get face-to-face with and have a buddy. To every John Lennon, they need a Paul McCartney. For every Paul McCartney, they need a John Lennon. Marie Sklodowska married Pierre Curie and Marie and Pierre Curie became a wonderful relationship in work, in study, in Nobel Prizes. We’ve all got to have those people that help us grow and help us flow and who challenge us. Lennon pushed McCartney, McCartney pushed Lennon. They were better together than they were solo and that’s what the dyad should be. And to have that throughout our life and I know it becomes a great challenge when we transition from one partner to another whether that’s a relationship breakdown, Lennon and McCartney stayed together as songwriters for 7 years and then split. Whether it’s a marriage breakdown, times where we do transition well and we are able to find other links with other people which means that somewhere along the way, we’ve got to have that way of keeping open. And if we look at the word, if I was to say Paul Revere to people, some people would be thinking Paul Revere and the Raiders, a rock band from the 60s. But the original Paul Revere was the guy that rode his horse going, “The British are coming, the British are coming” and warning people that the British were coming. There was another chap that rode his horse and his name was William Dawes and William Dawes knocked on doors saying, “The British is coming”, but nobody listened to William whereas they did listen to Paul. And their reason for listening to Paul was because everyone knew Paul Revere. When Paul Revere knocked on your door, even if it was 2 o’clock at night, you were excited because it was Paul Revere who is the President of the Hunting Club, President the Fishing Club. Everyone knew Paul Revere and Paul Revere was connected to everyone. William Dawes was a different type of a personality and even though he was a good mate with Paul Revere and Paul said to him, “William, I’m going to ride this way. You get on your horse and ride that way” and William Dawes didn’t know which doors to knock on. So he knocked on random doors and they told him to “Ride off and go away. It’s late at night. Who are you anyway?” So he couldn’t get his message across. The point is that Paul Revere was a connector. He was connected to people and he knew everyone. Not everyone is a Paul Revere. Some of us are more William Dawes than Paul Revere and the thing is if you are not a connector yourself, then get to know one, find the people who are connectors, have a buddy who is a connector that will help you get out and about. I guess in dating we used to call it the “wingman” but we all need somebody to help us make connecting.
Wayne: And we should just mention for our listeners you may not be aware, we are actually in different parts of Australia and in different countries and we’re chatting to each other via a program called “Zoom” which allows us to video chat to each other and shortly, we’re going to get exceedingly brave and share with you dear listeners our video feeds so you’ll be able to watch us as well as hear us.
Brian: We might need a make-up artist.
Wayne: Yes. We’re having a video call and that allows us to chat at a distance but it gives us that human interactivity.
Dr. Drew: Yes. You made a comment before Wayne about because people are over or older in their 60s and 70s, they don’t use technology and you’re right. It is the biggest load of rubbish that is fed out to people and it annoys me when I hear it because you only have to walk past an Apple store and you will see wall-to-wall grey nomads sitting there, annoying the hell out of those little tech monsters because they want to use and learn how to use the Apple phone, the iPad, the apps, to download the different apps and get them all right because either these elderly or older people are on a mission, they’re on the move, they’re in good retirement, they’re being active and they actually still have worked out “Hang on a moment. I can still connect the way I want – as Brian says by Skype, by phone, by video – and still do it the way I want to do.” New young ones are not going to be the only ones and to be walking around connected to the universe and each other through the internet or through technology. And older people love this stuff when they understand the simple versions of it. So social media of course has its downfalls, I’ve learned much of it, you have to learn to be an expert in it and you have to also learn to communicate with people. I’ve got a number of friends who are in their mid-50s “Oh no, I don’t use Facebook.” And of late, I’ve had a couple of run-ins with them to be able to have them understand, you actually need to be connected in this space because the rest of us are having conversations that you are not connected with. We’re talking about things we’re getting fed, or seeing, or that are on the buzz, or in the undertow, or in the airwaves and you’re not connected to our conversations because we’ve all seen a feed that we may not have commented on them but we’ve all seen it, we all understand it, we were probably following it. But if they’re not following it, they don’t understand it. They start to become disconnected, then you see the “Narcissistic Sociopath” come out where they start to create environments around them, “If you want me, you know where to contact me. You’re not a good friend because you don’t call me enough or you don’t come and see me.” It’s like, “No, we live in a different space. If you want to see me, tag me. If you want to see what I’m up to, follow me. If you want to know where I am, send me a message and I will contact you. If you need me, connect with me.” But some people particularly Boomers just make this rule, “No, I don’t do social media.” And I go “Well it’s very obvious in the way that your empathy, your attitude and the way you are communicating with us now, that you are disconnecting yourself from the way society is.
Bron: What I’m finding like after this podcast, I’m meeting up with a young woman. She’s a law student. Now I met her on LinkedIn. She reached out to me, wanted to be a connection. And so I messaged back and said, ” I’d love to have you in my network. I’m interested to know why you wanted to reach out to me.” And she said, she liked what she saw and we’re meeting for lunch today. So I’m actually going to meet her. So you can transfer from the online space, the physical space and vice versa. It comes back to what the word I used earlier which is the “Intentionality.” We have to decide what we’re going to do with our lives as we always have.
Dr. Drew: And that connection Bron, we have to decide who we want to connect with and in what way.
Bron: That’s right. They’re not just say, “Oh it’s all too hard or I can’t” because the truth is we can. As you said, it doesn’t matter what color your hair is, you can learn stuff.
Wayne: Drew, in what role does depression play in this? Because it occurs to me that one of the characteristics of my experience with depression is not feeling worthy of being worthwhile for anyone else to contact. Does depression play a role in disconnecting people?
Dr. Drew: It does and we’ve got to remember Wayne, depression is a mental illness. So there’s the first and foremost teaching point and grounding point for emotional intelligence for anyone is to understand that when you have depression or think you have depression or you may have depression, it means you have a mental illness. Does it mean that you are a mental patient? Does it mean anything like that? It means you’ve got a health condition around your mental health that needs adjusting. But depression is highly is now associated to the structure, and the enzymes, and the hormones that sit around the hippocampus, a section of the brain that forces that influence that you are just talking about, “I’m not worthy and so forth.” So there are two types of this that where I teach or I look at and when I treat them with my medical doctors with my patients. When we look at anxiety, anxiety is an outward expression of the human mental health pathway. So it’s being scared “What’s going on? They’re looking at me, they’re talking about me. She doesn’t like me. What if I go there? I can’t do this.” This is anxiety. Who’s paying for that? Where am I getting the money? Who’s going to come and see me? No one. This anxiety. If it’s left over long periods of time and goes untreated, that mental health projection turns itself inwards to the person and it starts to become a depression and the words and language used around the client now is, “I’m not worthy. I’m too old. I’m no good.” And it’s a forcing down of that mental outward expression and anxiety to now come inwards on to the person. So it’s very important when we work around Boomers, elderly people when we see them being nervous about leaving the house, going here, meeting new people, who’s going to pay the bills, feed me, look after me, blah, blah, blah. This is the anxiety process and we need to capture that very quickly and understand there’s a mental health issue progressing or producing itself and I don’t want it to get further or ladened because then we’re stuck with, their language changes to, “I’m not worthy. I’m no good. I’d rather be dead. Just leave me alone.” That in itself is depression. So we don’t just become depressed. Again like disconnection, we go through a cycle and we end up reaching the state of depression. And it’s very manageable if we can touch it early, diagnose it early and work with it early. And part of this is about this discussion we’re having, who do you connect with? Why do you connect with them? How are you gonna connect with them? And what does it mean to you to do this or not do it?
Amanda: One of the things I’d love to add here is why Boomers experience depression, and feeling lonely and isolated and one of the things to understand is that by the time you get to be a Boomer, your friends maybe dying, people are moving overseas, they’re in a different life transition. Typically their kids are out of school, out of high school, now living an independent life and you’re there by yourself so your social circle typically begins to get much smaller than it used to be. And so we tend to isolate and just do the things that were comfortable and familiar with which might just be sitting on the couch watching TV. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you still have the ability to get out and socialize and maintain the social connections which are really important.
Glenn: I’m fascinated when it comes to connectivity because the “FOMO” Fear of Missing Out, some people like to be involved in everything and have their finger in every pie and their fingertips on everything. But there’s also “FOBIA” Fear Of Being Invited Anywhere. And if you got FOBIA, Fear Of Being Invited Anywhere and you find face-to-face connectivity really difficult, then I think the Facebook and elements like there that can be wonderful. Listening to this podcast and then finding someone to go online and share it with to talk about some of the issues that have been raised is a really nifty thing to be able to do.
Wayne: Drew, what’s the advice that you give to Baby Boomers about being prepared for this issue of connection because I know it is a real issue and when you talk about Baby Boomers, please don’t say elderly people because it does make me feel quite decrepit when you call me elderly.
Dr. Drew: Yes, I know we’ve had that discussion about your emotional intelligence Wayne.
Wayne: Well, that’s been Booms Day Prepping. It’s been lovely to talk with you.
Dr. Drew: Well I mean I gave that monologue, I just gave a big public forum at an RSL and I use the term “Elderly”. I’ve just made a public post in this around in my social media. Our elderly, our elders, they’re elderly and we’ve got to actually get our language right, we’ve got to stop that. I get told from the moment, I don’t like the term “Seniors.” Well I get to the point “Oh bugger me. I’m so over you lots at the moment.” I’m not elderly. I’m not old. I’m not a senior.” I’ve got some pretty bad news for most of you, you’re not actually spring chickens and you’re not pumping out of yourselves and when we not down into the conversations that I had with many of them, it is that discussion, “Oh I’m too old to do that.” They’re quite happy to say, “I’m too old to do that. I can’t go back there. I can’t learn new things.” But you call them seniors, or elders or elderly and they go, “I’m offended.” Get over yourself, you need some emotional intelligence. And as we’ve discussed before, owning yourself is the most powerful place. Brian said it at the beginning, he was clearing that owning self is dangerous, it’s the first place to start with a Boomer. Own who you are and love who you are because you are an amazing person to have got this far in this shit fight called “Life.” And at the end of the day, it is like now is your opportunity, you’ve got time, you’ve got space, you can do whatever you like and I hope this empowers you to step up and become a mentor, a leader, a person that other people look and go, “Man, I want what he or she has got. I want to be there. I want to be there what he is gone. Look at him, he’s enjoying himself, he’s retired or he semi-works, how do you get there?” And they don’t get it and it’s not that I’m having a go at you Wayne because I do love you. But if people don’t want to be called elderly, well you don’t grow old. At the end of the day, stop being an old person because we do, as I said old 70 by the way, if you really want to categorize it, you’re not old until you’re 70. And you’re not a geriatric medically until you’re 85 and there’s a long lifespan in those 15 years and you can do a hell of a lot. But back to your question Wayne, when I work around the Boomers and and I have to give them or evolve them or give them some advice, I ask them to look inside themselves because they didn’t just arrive here, it just didn’t happen. They took a journey, they took some risks, they challenged life, they persevered, they sacrificed and we really do have to reach a point where you sit there and go what’s in and this is the best thing I set in goals, we’ve got to set goals all the time, SMART goals. But I sit with elderly and I say to them, “What’s important to you and what’s important for you?” These are very two important questions and they say to me, “Well what’s important to me is my kids.” I go “Great. Where are they?” “Will they leave out of state.” says Brian. I said, “Well, what’s important for you?” then Brian is finding a way to connect, staying fit enough to travel to see them and having the space and the environment that it’s nurturing or loving when they come to see you. So it’s about people need to stop and look all the time. Just two questions, what’s important to me? It’s important to go to the club once a week and catch up with my mates. What’s important for me? You need to get there, get home, you need to have the money to go to the club, you need to have conversation when you get there, that’s what’s important for you to keep that going. If we don’t know what’s important to me, then you’ve got nothing to look forward to and if you don’t even portent what’s important for me, then nothing has purpose for it to be important to you. So we’ve got to give things purpose and we’re the only ones who can do that for ourselves.
Bron: And I think when you were talking about people not liking the word ‘Seniors’ or ‘Elderly,’ it’s only because it has a particular connotation in our culture and I think that’s probably up to us, that’s what us Baby Boomers can do is change that perception of aging. Like in some cultures, the aged, the elders are highly respected. They’re not necessarily in our culture. Well it’ll never change to being a respected state of being and we’ve got the opportunity to because we get to live longer, healthier, with greater emotional intelligence. It’s about saying, “This is a damn good place to be in life. There’s heaps we can do. I’m happy to be a senior. I’m happy to have my seniors card.” And if I’m an elder, great that’s what I want to be for younger women.
Dr. Drew: I placed a video up the other day on my social media in Facebook at Dr. Drew, A Big Man Talking. And the feedback and the connections and sharing I’ve heard in this video has been extraordinary and it’s not my video, I didn’t create it, it’s a shared video. But it’s a fellow who I don’t know if you saw it Bron, but it’s a fellow who is who drew on the timeline on a piece of paper and he explains from the time you’re 18 when you begin to work more or less 18, for some people 15, 16, and then you work and you do and you sacrifice all the way up to say 65 at retirement and then you die let’s say 80, 85 if you’re lucky they say and we’re going to live to a 100. That large, large component of your life, you have spent working, giving, sacrificing, building, saving how do you go out and he makes it very clear. He’s saying to people, “Start to enjoy some of the parts of your life” because you’ve spent all that time, that major space, find a job you love, do something you like, really enjoy the people around you on that journey. We’re all going out the same way through death. So give up the shit that’s on your lungs, chuck out the bullshit that’s negative and horrible, connect and surround yourself with those that are like-minded and ignore the rest. And in relationship to that elderly, elders and seniors thing, I’m on a mission at the moment, we’ve met it as a society almost nearly there, we’ve got rid of the stigmas around gay, lesbian, bi, transsexual, intersex, queer or questioning and, “Oh my God, that was a big moment.” And I said “I got a bigger one ahead of you.” Getting rid of the stigma around elderly, older people things like dementia, things like retirement.” These are massive stigmas the don’t segregate out by color race, creed or sexuality – this is every human being. And it’s a focus for me because with a growing aging population and every family on this planet will be experiencing it right now and going forward even more so. We have to show and change the way we view our elderly, our elders, our seniors, the more mature and more responsible or focused people in our society and the people who have nurturers, growers, and leaders and mentor to see you. And I want to change this because it has to change but I often say it’s the Baby Boomers who have to pick up this baton and do this leg of the relay.
Brian: I hope you realized Drew that you just cause tens of thousands of people to go into the office this morning and hand in their notice and the sales of the caravan have just gone through the roof.
Dr. Drew: Excellent. I can only hope so Brian because we need to make a change. I put up a post yesterday in LinkedIn and in Dr. Drew’s Facebook and I put an idea to the Australian Government on a community services corps. Now it’s the third time I’ve approached this with them and I doubt whether it’ll get legs again in their offices because they’re not interested. But I see that it’s now our responsibility as the elders, I’ve got a 15 year old son as I’ve said before, I had children quite later in life but my son doesn’t want to be at school. He doesn’t want to and he’s disconnecting very quickly. So we’re talking about connection. I don’t want to see him connected 15, 16, 17, 18, I want to see him connect. But I don’t believe society is arranging or allowing these younger generations to connect in a positive way. They’re connecting negatively and we need to change it. And it’s going to be the older generation that helps to change this and I want to see better structures around – he wants to be a tradie, a plumber, electrician to a trade driver youth and he doesn’t want to go to school, he doesn’t want to go to university, he wants to be out there making a living doing a trade. But you know what, he can’t. No one will take him on, there are no apprenticeships, the pay is terrible, the apprentices won’t work, they don’t see it’s their mission in life. There’s a whole lot of range of factors that our Baby Boomer older cohorts need to look at how to change and connect with our younger people. If I was a tradie now at my age or 60 years of age want to get off the tools, I do want to learn to become a mentor and a trainer and then get into a program where I can release myself part-time, give that opportunity to an apprentice, connect with that younger tradie, teach him, develop him, mentor him, learn from each other and develop the next run of trade he’s in the trade that I own and be gratified as I step into my retirement but I’ve got influence in and I’ve got connection with the younger people in my trade and I’m still connected to my trade. I mean we need to change the way we think because just sitting in a bubble, in a stereotype that says “ageist, aging, anti, I don’t like and stereotype”, it’s a waste of time and space for the older person.
Brian: I’m a little surprised Drew that you said that your son or anybody else for that matter, there’s no apprentices, apprenticeships. I have a very dear friend who’s a builder. He’s forever taking on young people and they stayed with him for two or three years and they do their schooling, whatever, it’s the trade schooling at the same time and end up being carpenter, a plumber or whatever.
Dr. Drew: I’m sure they still exist but it is a big discussion of debate in their social education and children’s services area that this is a lacking area of service at the moment. I know I’m seem to be on my high horse today, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Wayne: I put it down to the luxurious surroundings you’re in.
Dr. Drew: Yes. For those who don’t know, I’m sitting in the middle of an airport waiting for a plane.
Brian: I find that everytime I go over there. It’s just ridiculous.
Dr. Drew: But it gives you a great time to sit around and people watch.
Dr. Drew: Excuse me, connection.
Brian: And what’s worse is isolation and loneliness and whatever. I mean we touched on this before but once people go into a care facility or a retirement village or whatever.
Dr. Drew: Well as I said, these are a stepped journeys Brian. So the the main goal was to keep people independent in their own home and to do that, we’ve got to have goals for them. For those who do go off and step into or or reach the point where all they have left as an option is residential care, well then those people have to choose very wisely. Now the average lifespan of a person entering a residential aged care facility or traditionally in nursing home today is 1.8 years. Some do live a little longer in them but it depends. There is a great PhD study coming out at the moment, I’m waiting to get my hands on, where a colleague of mine has investigated and looked at the study of what makes people thrive when they transfer or transition into a home and what makes them die. And I’m waiting to see the result of this because it’s a big interest to me. Of course, when I hold a public lecture and I’m about to do a series of them with the ACSA, Aged Care Services of Australia, I ask a question. Put your hand up if you want to die in your own home and of course nearly 100% of people put their hand up. Then I ask a question, “Put your hand up if you want to die in a hospital or a nursing home.” And no one will put their hand up, maybe few. I said “Put your hand up if you want to win the lotto” and of course 100% of the people in the room put their hand up. And I let them know “You have the same chance of winning the lotto as you have dying in your own home.” So people have to be very conscious of this when they look at how they and where they see the end part of their life and what they’re going to make of it. And I meet many people in residential aged-care every day that are so happy to be there because their connection outside of that home was lost, was disconnected, was disenfranchised and no one came and saw them and no one had anything to do them and at least inside the residential care service, there are people around them that are focused on connecting with them in meaningful ways.
Brian: One of the things that’s happening in Europe at the moment where younger people and I’m talking school kids, younger people, go into old people’s homes and just connect with them, read stories, read the newspaper, show them how to use an iPad.
Dr. Drew: I totally agree Brian and I watch these studies indicatively and more particularly the sociology of it or the social aspect in the psychological framework at the Mental Health Sciences. Unfortunately in Australia and as I said we need to change now because in Australia, we don’t have the same cultural upbringing or the length of it in our societies. For example the Dutch, the Swiss, the Europeans are very heavily connected to their families and very heavily connected from children to their elderly, to their elders. In Australia, we don’t have that strong viable culture and there’s a huge risk of abuse and neglect within this space. So we have to be mindful that our older persons become vulnerable and at risk and Bron would have seen a lot of this working with Salvation Army. And we do run a huge risk by throwing it out they say, “Oh look, young people can just go into and living with an older person, and get free rent, and help them, and love them and won’t that be wonderful?” Well that’s a hypotheses that is yet to be tested in a society like Australia. And frankly with my lived experience of it, I wouldn’t trust many of the people who would throw themselves at the opportunity for free rent, food, board and lodging to connect and help an older person. I think you’d find the higher risk of abuse and neglect around that elderly person. So yes, I agree with it Brian, I love it and it’s good that you think in that space but we need to vet these and trial them and test them.
Glenn: I got to speak at a conference with Harvey Mackay, an American author, brilliant author, brilliant speaker. Harvey actually said that he gave me a testimonial saying I was a 12 out of 10 speaker, so he’s not very good at math but he’s very good at life. And Harvey had a coach at everything. He had a golf coach for putting and a golf coach for teeing off. He had a speaking coach, he had a language coach, he had a dozen coaches for different roles in his life. And we don’t have to become a Harvey Mackay but I think it’s really nifty to have those kind of dyad relationships throughout life and continue them throughout life. And when we get into our 70s and 80s if we can be a coach, if we can be a dyad partner, if we can be somebody that teams to work with others and passes on the knowledge that we have learned from 70 years on the planet. I think that could be a very, very nifty role to play in terms of connectivity. And if we can’t do it face-to-face then that’s where I think Facebook and some of the online connections can go. Social media has got some really negative sides to it but one of the positive sides is that we can find the people from our life journey, we can find the people that we worked with. In my case on Summer Camp in America or on Kibbutz in Israel. And we can reconnect and just buddy up again and it doesn’t have to be a constant relationship, but it’s pretty nifty to know there’s people out there who have known some of your history. And also, that you might be able to pass a few things on to them, of the messages you’ve learnt in life, on our road the wisdom that hopefully would be able to get to share it and connect with people along the way.
Bron: I think what I’m hearing though too is this coming back to again each individual taking responsibility for their own life. Being intentional about how they maintain their current connections, how they maintain new ones. And the services like the ones that Brian suggested are fantastic and whether you decide to stay in your own home, invite someone into your home to live with you, move into a residential facility, it’s about making those decisions for yourself when you can. So again, it’s about knowing yourself, having that connection with yourself being intentional about your connections at all levels and at all times because it’s so important because if we’re not, the ramifications are either abuse, neglect, or loneliness, disconnection.
Amanda: Here what I would like to add is that what makes people thrive or die moving into a retirement village or retirement home is that some people just have this feeling that they’re going to a retirement home and that’s the place they’re going to die. And I think that’s a really old-fashioned or archaic way of looking at it and I think you should see it as positive social connections, positive ways to get more friends and have people that you can socialize with. Nowadays, retirement homes, some of the villages are outstanding. I know at least the ones near where I currently live. And they have tennis courts, and pool halls, and swimming pools, and bowling alleys, like there’s some pretty really amazing retirement villages. So I think if you just reframe the “I’m going there to die” what you could do is reframe it to, “I can’t wait to be going there” because they’ll be so many more people to interact, things that I can do on a regular basis. So you really get that opportunity to engage with as many aspects and opportunities as you can or to kind of just hang out to yourself and so I think it’s really a win-win situation for everybody when you find a place that you thoroughly enjoy and that you’re going to enjoy living in for a few years to come.
Dr. Drew: We have huge issues to be concerned about but as I said, if we as a society can start to change and this belongs to our more mature older Baby Boomer citizens and that is we have to start taking ownership of being the largest cohort of people in the population, being the part of our society that is having the biggest impact believe it or not at the moment on environment, society, transport, travel, insurances, all this. And we have to start now seeing how we’re going to educate the rest of our society to understand us and older people, retirees, and what we need, and what we expect, and how we want to grow into our older age because guys I can tell you many, many people are going to live until they’re a hundred or plus. And if people say often see me or hear me say this and go, “Oh you’re talking out your bum” but I’m not. And I continue now, more, and more and more people in the next 30 40 50 years will get over the 100 mark quite easily and the society is gonna have to cope in many, many different ways and I believe right now because it’s going to be the Baby Boomers that had the biggest impact here. It’s the baby Boomers that have to be the people that have to understand we’re about to step into this next line of change and we have to own it because it’s us, it’s you Brian, Bron and Wayne and me at the lower end of the scale. It’s us who are going to feel the impact in 20 years time. Picture yourself in 20 to 30 years time.
Brian: It’s not a pretty picture I’m getting.
Glenn: Yes, just on that. I’m backing up or saying about the SOG-esteem, our relationship with self, do solo well, our relationship with others, have a variety of dyads, a variety of partnerships in life and then the global esteem, have something to contribute to the planet and some place to be able to contribute it. When I lived on Kibbutz, the people in their 70s and in their 80s, they still held jobs and still contributed to the community. We’ve got to find a way as a community, as a collective to be able to utilize the wisdom of age better to make sure that we see these people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, as people who have got wisdom and experience to be able to pass on. Who can coach us along the way and it’s a pity with some of the kind of village retirement homes that we don’t have enough of them that spark really, really nifty things for people to keep them open to life and find ways to connect the people within the retirement home to kindergartens, to play centres, to university students. We sometimes have in retirement villages speakers who come in and speak to the group, but to be able to have a variety of things where the group can contribute to other human beings. And the best of them have got their veggie patches where everyone’s out and doing a little bit of stuff, they’ve got their communities where the kindergartens are involved and people are making things for younger folk in their retirement village. So retirement is an encore and a spark of life rather than, “This is the final chapter and just sit somebody down in a corner and not involve them.” We’ve got to learn to do the villages really, really well and have more alternatives available. It is happening but I think we still need more of it. I’m sure Drew and others would very much agree with that.
Wayne: I think that’s probably an excellent thought to leave in our minds as we depart for the week. I do want to say that it’s been one of those conversations that causes lots of reflection and thinking and thank you all for participating. Coming up soon on Booms Day Prepping, we have Sister Anthea Groves. If you’re familiar with St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, you may well have dealt with her or know her, she’s been a feature there for many, many years. She’s on a mission to promote organ donation amongst us the Baby Boomers.
Dr. Drew: I love that. Hello brothers and sisters, hand over your organs.
Wayne: Well it’ll be interesting to hear what she says and I expect that she’ll be with us in the next few weeks to have a chat. I would also love to hear from our colleagues in the lesbian, gay, transgender, questioning communities particularly for those people who are transitioning as we’ve talked about from work to retirement or from independent living to supportive living. You’re part of our world and we’d love to hear from you if you’re in that category, so please reach out on one of our social media channels or drop us an email. We’d love to have you on to have a chat to you about your experiences as well.
Dr. Drew: I’m going down soon Wayne, I have been invited to visit an LGBTIQ specific nursing home retirement village in Queensland and I will be taking some photos and some videos and I will share them on the Booms Day Prepping website once I’ve done that.
Wayne: So we’ll look forward to that. And this is Booms Day Prepping, thank you for being with us today and for listening. To our panel Brian Hinselwood, Bron Williams, Amanda Lambros and Glenn Capelli, thank you all for your time.
Amanda: And I just like to say in closing, with regard to connections and what matters to you, I think a lot of times, people don’t die and they say, “I really wish I had more material things.” It’s really the connections that mean the most to people. So what mattered most in my life are those friends I had or the family that I had that helped support me through things. So any opportunity you have to strengthen your connections, grab a hold of those and don’t leave any unsaid communication because it’s just not worth it in the end. So try to build your connections as much as you can. So that’s all for me guys, have a great day.
Bron: Great, thank you. Good to be here.
Glenn: So if there was a final message for me, it will be that if 1 was the loneliest number on the jukebox, then number 2, the two of us might be a better song Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent and we might even go with The Turtles happy together at forming communities as we fly through life. So from solo, to duo, to trios and beyond – let’s find a way for all of us to make a contribution, be happier together.
Wayne: And to my co-host Drew Dwyer, it’s always a pleasure to have a chat with you Drew. Thanks for being with us from the Maroochy Airport.
Dr. Drew: Yes, no worries and thank you everybody and all the panel. I do enjoy this session and just to our listeners, I would say stay connected, stay connected to us.
Wayne: And one of the ways you can do that is by clicking the “like” and “subscribe” button. Please reach out even if you don’t like us, we love to hear from you, so please add a comment, click the buttons at the bottom of the screen on your social media applications and we look forward to chatting with you again in a week’s time. My name is Wayne Bucklar, this is Booms Day Prepping.