Creating Community for a Lifetime



CCFL Forum Small Group Dialogues

Abigail Trafford's thought-provoking presentation on finding pleasure and purpose in the bonus decades generated lively conversations among forum attendees participating in small group dialogues after the presentation. Asked to share memorable ideas from Trafford's presentation, dialogue participants cited themes ranging from language issues to planning for life transitions.

Language needs to be changed
Many participants spoke of the need to change language that perpetuates negative views of the capabilities of older adults, including rethinking the use of the term "senior." Among participant observations:

Gift years
Many were intrigued with the concept of the bonus years as a new developmental stage, focusing more on growth and renewal than traditional retirement - aging as "gearing up, not winding down."

Intergenerational works best
Trafford's observations on the value of intergenerational contact, both within families and in the community, resonated with many attendees.

People who give back are happier
Many forum participants talked about the role of leaving a legacy by helping others.

Plan beyond the money
A recurring theme in the dialogue groups was the need to plan for this important life stage, with a holistic approach that goes beyond traditional financial planning to include "growth issues such as love, spirituality, and helping others" and developing resources to cope with transitions and losses.

Reframing work
Several participants were struck by the concept of redefining many aspects of work, from reevaluating the 40-hour work week to developing portable benefits packages, in order to make work environments more attractive to older adults and thereby gain the advantages of their talents and experience.

Get galvanized
Quoting Abigail Trafford's advice to "be a doer not a drifter," attendees voiced the importance of not only staying active but also dreaming.

Take care of yourself
Citing issues ranging from loss of identity to depression, dialogue participants echoed Trafford's comments about the role of self care for older adults.

Challenges for the Community
Asked about changes needed in the community to help adults make the most of their bonus years, forum participants offered a variety of suggestions, with key themes ranging from improving transportation options to creating more volunteer opportunities.