Contribution and Reciprocity in Society can be Done in many Forms

Contribution and Reciprocity in Society can be Done in many Forms

Both Tom and I talk a lot about the contribution to society. With our friends. In our blog posts. In our Facebook posts. In my Facebook lives. Most of the time this is about volunteering in some way or another. But there are many other ways.

Reciprocity in society is a common gesture. A neighbor smiles at us and next time when they are not at home, we collect their delivered goods from the courier.

Society is built on written and unwritten laws. Some are evident. You do not enter another person’s house without an invitation. Others are less obvious. For example, when you borrow your neighbors’ chainsaw, they might expect you to be extra careful when you use it.

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How to make friends when you are older?

How to make friends when you are older?

Years ago, when all my friends were either occupied by working very hard or by doting on grandchildren and babysitting them, I was convinced I needed new friends. I was equally convinced it’s impossible to make friends when you are older!

Negative or limiting beliefs serve nobody. And being convinced it is not possible to do something is a sure guarantee I won’t be able to do it. Duh. I am so glad I was wrong, but I only realized this when I read some posts in one of the Facebook groups I am in.

This is a group with a lot of single or widowed women and the topic often is solitude and loneliness. And I do realize my position is privileged, because I am happily married. For 45 years, so I can in no way imagine how I would feel when I would be alone.

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Japan, a country at Old Age

Japan, a country at Old Age - Kishie Yoshida
This is Kishie Yoshida (1912). She worked in a velveteen factory from age 12 through 25. Married at 25 and got 4 children. In her married life she worked with her husband, buying and selling produce from the countryside. She is in 2013 still strong enough to weed the garden and sweep the floor.

What can we learn from a country at old age such as Japan? Japan is a very encouraging and inspiring example. It’s the country with the highest life expectancy rate in the world. Moreover, in 2033 a third of the Japanese will be 65 and over.

Already in 1980 Japan was ‘an aged society’. In 2005 Japan surpassed Italy and became the country with the highest amount of people aged 65 and over. Japan really is at old age. Which means that Japan has a lot of experience with aging. How does it cope and what can we learn?

Old Age Demographics

To be able to learn from Japan as a nation at Old Age, some background information is relevant. In Japan live just over 126 million people. This is 334 people per square kilometer (Netherlands: 417,8; UK: 270,7; China: 145; USA: 33,6). Life expectancy between men and women differs substantially, respectively 79,4 to 85,9 years. As a result, in the age group 75 and over, for every 10 men there are 16 women.

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