Imagine a future where grandparents are younger (or at least appear younger because they’re healthier and living longer), where they get grandparent leave from their companies, and where we combine child and senior care in the same facilities. This is a wonderful vision of a future where society is more integrated and generative.
That’s this week’s Throwforward Thursday vision of Grandparents of the Future, with Graeme Codrington. Welcome to tomorrow’s world, today.
Welcome to Throw Forward Thursday. My name is Graeme Codrington and come with me some time into the future where grandparents look very different than they do today.
There will be three specific ways I think grandparents might change in the future. The first is of course grandparents will be a lot younger. Well, they’ll be the kind of same age, people start to become grandparents sort of in their 50’s or 60’s but being 50 and 60 and 70 is going to be a lot younger than it’s ever been. Today’s old people are fitter, healthier, more mobile, and more active than any old people have ever been. And we’re going to have grandparents more involved in our lives in the future just because they’re more around and they’re more alive, so younger grandparents.
Secondly, I think that we are going to see companies giving grandparent leave as a perk. Maybe this is something to start thinking about now. That’s kind of why we do Throw Forward Thursday, not just so that you can imagine some fancy for future, but that the future inspires your strategic imagination to maybe do something about it today, and maybe because people are working longer, people are younger longer, maybe you will have a lot more people in your company who are grandparents. And sure, we’re having conversations about not just maternal leave or maternity leave, but also paternity leave, encouraging and even requiring fathers to take more leave as babies are born.
Well, why don’t we also have grandparent leave as well? We know how valuable having grandparents is for those of us who have had children and had grandparents around is really fantastic, but if the grandparents are still in the workplace, maybe we need to be asking those workplaces to give a little bit of grandparenting leave so that grandparents can get involved in the lives of the youngest members of our society and help out grandparenting leave. Not a bad idea.
The third thing I think that we will see, and this I know, is already being experimented with. I know of experiments in China, in Brazil, in Scotland in particular, where what they have done is they have taken old age homes or frail care facilities, so these are for the older people who are older, and they have combined them with daycare facilities for babies and infants and young children. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.
What they initially did was they experimented with bringing young children into old age homes and they discovered there is a math of health benefits when old people engage with children. Some of you have got wonderful grandparents in your life and love them dearly. Others of you wish that you had that, we all know a good grandparent adds great value to our lives. So why don’t we just make it a formal connection? Well, yes, you’ve got some professional educators in the mix and yes, you’ve got some professional caregivers too, but you have a structured and physical space where grandparent age people and young children are able to interact on a regular basis, on a day today basis.
Good for all the people involved. Good for society in general. Smart idea. It isn’t really a future idea because it’s already happening, but I think that we might have normalised it sometime in the future. I’ll put some links to some of the research and stories into the show notes. So whether you’re listening to the podcast or watching a video, have a look at some of the links that the stories are remarkable.
Younger grandparents getting leave in order to engage with their grandchildren and then maybe living and working in spaces where they’re connecting with them on a daily basis. What a wonderful future that is to imagine, human connection and different generations learning and loving each other. Wonderful.
Thank you for joining me, as always in The Throw Forward Thursday studio. I think a really wholesome picture of what might be this week. As always, if you’ve got any insights or any questions, or any ideas about something you’d like us to have a look at, please go to Askaboutthefuture.com
That’s a website where you can leave a message for our team and we will pick up your ideas and respond to you. Otherwise, just make sure you like and subscribe keep connected to us and contact our team if there’s any way that we can help you and your team to imagine wonderful, amazing futures together.
I’ll see you next week.
Extra reading about combined child and senior care:
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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.