Meet, Talk (Part 2)… and Make Connections

How best can the Men Beyond 50 Network speak up about our common needs and gifts? How can our voice reach a wider audience? One part of the answer is to focus on creating a face to face network and events that meets the specific interests and specific concerns of older men, including around lifeskills, relationships, health, care and development. Another part of the answer is for the MB50 Network to deepen and widen the connections between us, allowing conversations to develop finding our voice as mature men and sharing ourselves with the world.

Finding our voice as mature men: both as a distinct voice among older people in general, and as a voice that expresses the gifts and issues of our dependency and interdependency as older men.

Sharing ourselves with the world: there is a real need for maturing men to speak up and be heard, and to speak out to different groups of both younger and older people.

These are the main reasons why the Men Beyond 50 Network is beginning a series of evening discussions under the title Maturing Men: a Growing Conversation. The next in London will be on Tuesday  June 18th (7-9pm): contact if you would like to attend and take part (and for further information).

Exploring the dependency and interdependency gifts and issues facing maturing men in the UK: for a 6 minute introductory briefing on ageing with really useful facts and helpful visuals, try this YouTube summary On Ageing Population in UK and Europe 1985 – 2010 project to 1935  (NB -Don’t be put off by the speaker’s really annoying  voice!)

Digging into these interconnected challenges facing maturing men in greater depth: if you are interested and are looking for reports, statistics, and analysis, I particularly recommend the well researched and authoritative guides issued by the National Audit Commission on the UK ageing population. You can find their latest (January 2013) briefing by clicking here:

The summary also provides links to x 6 very useful guides the National Audit Office has published since 2004 (NB they are all available to read online): Older People – A Changing Approach. Together the x6 reports tell us an important story of the changing 21st Century realities for older people:
1. The main aim of the first report (Feb 2004)was to begin to change our mind-set about ageing from thinking about dependency and deficit to looking at well-being and independence.

2. The second 2004 report explored in greater detail the need to recognise diversity and difference among older people’s interests and life experiences, especially in terms of income, ethnicity, sexuality… and gender  (including older men!).

3. The third report was aimed at briefing the public sector on how to meet the interconnected challenges of dependency and interdependency… also written in 2004… when there was still the expectation that there would always be a well funded public sector to provide the services.
4. The 2006 report was called ‘Living Well in Later Life’ and looked in greater detail at the specific future needs of the UK ‘baby boomers’ across 6 interconnected areas:

Social networks (including activities and ‘keeping busy’)
Getting out and about (transport)
Information (including online and social media)
Health and healthy living.

5. The 2008 report was called ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and looked at ways of implementing new approaches to meeting the complex challenges of dependency and interdependency facing older people.

6. The 2010 report was called ‘Under Pressure’ and began to own up to the gap between older people’s needs and what public services will be able to provide in future.

“How Can Local Authorities with Less Money Support Better Outcomes for Older People?”: this is the increasingly insoluble question being asked of the public sector by policy makers. Actually this question was also the title of a separate and recommended report from the UK Centre for Policy on Ageing (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Jan 2011, and also available to read online)- )

Meet, Talk… and Make Connections:
realize our potentials as older men
contribute to our communities as we support values, quality and growth
grow face-to-face social networks (supported by the virtual online medium)

YES, because we’re facing the 2020’s together and we can’t do it alone!