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April 5, 2022

158. A Meaningful Life Knows No Age Boundaries - Dr. Rose Joudi

Be your best self regardless of your age bracket.


Be your best self regardless of your age bracket.

 

ABOUT ROSE

Rose’s purpose is to spread awareness about aging. Her aim is to inspire and empower people to be their best selves regardless of their age bracket. She has more than 13 years of academic and research experience in the field of Psychology of Aging and is currently an Aging and Ethnic Diversity Consultant.

Rose is very good at sharing knowledge and supporting people and organizations in understanding how our expectations of aging and the perceptions or stereotypes we have about age and older adults affect us on many levels.

Rose believes that regardless of how old we are, we continue to want to live independently, competently and we continue to strive for an attainable life that is full of purpose and meaning.

Rose has been invited to run educational sessions, facilitate workshops, and talk about aging, ageism and mental illness stigma among ethnically diverse groups.

 

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Transcript

When you have in an organization, someone that's been successful helping your organization grow for 20 odd years, that means that that person has something they know, the ins and outs of this organization, the written unwritten rules. So this person has so much knowledge that they could pass on to the younger people that are coming in. I find it baffling sometimes organizations don't even think about making use of that.

 

Welcome, everybody. Today I'm Super excited to have Rose Joudi on with us. She's going to talk to us about creating a meaningful life regardless of age, a life that knows no age boundaries. I'm really excited to have her speak with us today. Thank you so much for joining us, Rose.

 

Thank you. Thanks a lot. I'm excited to be here.

 

Absolutely. So Rose's purpose is to spread awareness about aging. Her aim is to inspire and empower people to be their best selves, regardless of their age bracket. She has more than 13 years of academic and research experience in the field of psychology of aging and is currently an aging and ethnic diversity consultant. Rose believes that regardless of how old we are, we continue to want to live independently competently and want to continue to strive for an attainable life that is full of purpose and meaning. She's been invited to run educational sessions, facilitate workshops, and talk about aging, ageism and mental illness stigma among ethnically diverse groups. Thank you so much for joining us again. And would you just share a little bit about your background? What got you so interested in this work and why are you so passionate about it?

 

Thanks a lot, Wade. So I actually started off doing a PhD working with people who come from refugee and immigrant backgrounds and settling in, I guess, or integrating into mainstream Western societies. And then I realized as I evolved in my research that there's a big gap that doesn't include the aging populations who also may have experienced the same traumatic experiences. So we kind of direct our resources and services to the younger people. It could be young families, for example, or young adults. But we really don't have that many resources to cater for older people who have experienced also displacement and trauma as a refugee or even as an immigrant. And then also looking at my own parents, I come from a visible minority background, and so my parents are an ethnic group who is aging as well in a Western society. We immigrated many, many years ago. But that doesn't mean that they're not wanting to hold on to some values and traditions that are quite unique. But when you look around the resources that are available for aging people, you find that they're predominantly catering for a one size fits all kind of group, predominantly white, European, Caucasian, Anglo.

 

And they don't really have the resources that understand or honor and appreciate the diverse backgrounds of our aging population. And so that got me quite curious. But also, I taught a course in psychology of aging, like you mentioned. And when you look at the students in your class, they are of a diverse background. They're not all white students or European students. And so you start to think about the message that you're giving in a class. You're educating people who are going to be nurses, psychologists, therapists. And so it's so important for them to understand that when you look at older people who are aging in our society, they're not homogeneous, they're not the same. They don't have the same needs. They have unique needs that we should kind of cater for, but also be mindful of how the resources that we're giving them will help them thrive and not just survive, but also thrive in our society, regardless of their cultural backgrounds. And so that's just been my passion ever since. And again, like you said, I've been doing this for ten years, more than ten years, actually 13 and a half. And I think the work still needs to be done.

 

There's a lot of work that needs to be done about our ethnically diverse aging population.

 

Thank you so much. I'm blessed to have been exposed to many different cultures. My parents are from Trinidad Tobago. My wife is from Peru. I've lived in Peru, lived around the United States. I've done a decent amount of travel. And it's just very interesting to me that a lot of the times we're blind to differences, we just assume so it's not necessarily this active xenophobic form of I don't like the person that's from another country than I am, or I don't like this other person because they're a different color. It's a lack of understanding, misconnection. And having grown up in the United States and then getting the opportunity to live in Peru for a total of about four years, I really got to understand that culture not completely, but from a much deeper level than I would had. I just, for example, when I visited Costa Rica for a week, and there are so many nuances to it. And as entrepreneurs, we're very aware of, okay, we're going to segment by demographics based on their wants or different things. And yet it almost seems to be this externalized thing that will that affects somebody else or that's how I market to somebody.

 

And yet you and I had talked about in the pre interview this concept, two things. There was a quote that you had shared that's from CS Lewis, that you're never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. And I just think that's so awesome. And your LinkedIn bio talked about you're aiming to inspire people, empower people to be their best selves, regardless of their age bracket. And I'd gotten a chance to interview John. I believe you'd comment on one of his posts, and he's just so passionate about this. And what so much came back up for me is when you and I were talking about the idea of how the Western society processes age. And so for those people listening might say, wait, I thought this was an entrepreneur podcast, but this topic permeates in my experience. And again, I'm sure you have so much more of this. Everything that we see, it interprets our assumptions. It's like the fish swimming in water. There's so many things, whether it's the cosmetics industry, the good, the bad and the ugly of it, whether it's how we treat our agent, whether it's how we retire people, whether we have this bias that if they're older, they must not be as productive.

 

When you share a little bit, just to whatever level of depth you think helpful, that bias we have in the Western society of aging being something not even that we hate, but we're so afraid of that we almost never even broached the top.

 

Absolutely. So this is how I experienced, I guess, my approach to this topic. And this is not answering your question directly right now, but I think it's a really interesting segue to it, which is when I started teaching at the University, this course called The Psychology of Aging, I was 28. So I entered a room of younger adults talking about aging, or at least the impression that I was the expert in aging. And I could see the looks of curiosity and astonishment. Right. Because I did not fit the stereotype of a professor who also speaks about aging. Right. I think they probably had they realized I was a woman from the name or female, but they probably expected a much older, perhaps a graying haired professor with glasses and kind of stereotype that you expect when you're an older person. And so here I went in talking about aging, and I did get a bit of pushback from students because they basically thought, what do you know about growing old? You're not even in that bracket yet. And so, interesting enough, I came across that same sentiment a while ago when I was doing a LinkedIn live on ageism in the workforce where I had a comment that said, oh, a young person telling me a 50 plus person how to get a job and how to succeed in the organization, kind of the industry organization world that is ageist.

 

So when we talk about ageism, we talk about how you are assuming a person does not have the knowledge or the ability to be successful or navigate this world because they are either too young or too old. Right. And I would argue that why are we looking at a person's chronological age in terms of their abilities and not what they have to bring to the table, what value they bring in terms of that conversation that you're having with them? And so when I tell people I myself have experienced ageism, and I'm not even in that 48 plus bracket yet, I mean, I'm a few years away from it. But I'm not there yet, because when we think about ages and we think about old people, we think about the discrimination or the visions and views that we have about older people. And so for me, that's an interesting way of looking at ageism. It's not just that young people can experience ageism in many ways and many avenues in our society. But when you view a person as incapable of doing something because of their chronological age, then you're creating a lot of challenges, a lot of barriers.

 

You're assuming that only with age comes wisdom, abilities, experience, expertise. And they're predominantly incorrect because I could be a 50 year old person who may have not had other life experiences, let's say, whereas a 45 year old person who has gone through trauma challenges, a whole lot of adversity in their lives may have had just as much skills and abilities and experience to Shark Tank. So this whole idea of ageism is problematic because it limits us. We see a person as a person in terms of their chronological age. We don't see them as a person with abilities regardless of their age. And that's why when I saw this quote by CS Lewis, I thought, this is just brilliant because it exemplifies everything that I'm passionate about, that people, regardless of their age, can have dreams, can have goals, can aspire to achieve, then they should not be limited because of their age. But in our view, if you're 70 or you're 80, why do you even need to dream? What is it that you want to achieve? Haven't you achieved in the past, whatever it is that you've lived of years of your life? And I think that's absolutely.

 

Why would I limit person that way? I mean, can you imagine someone saying to you, Wade, Wade, when you're 75, you got to stop dreaming. You've got to stop growing. You've got to stop wanting a better life. You've got to stop wanting to be your best self. How do you feel about that?

 

Yeah, well, two things, because I've been blessed to have parents that have raised me in a certain way, and I've surrounded myself with thinkers and entrepreneurs and just really brilliant thought leaders. I probably wouldn't at this stage of my life. I'm about to be 50. I wouldn't digest that. But if you were to tell me that earlier, I would digest it. I would certainly digest a host of other thoughts about, again, generalizations, which I think a lot of people get caught up, as you might know, with, okay, well, the generalization is not hurting me because I'm not being mean to old people or I'm not being mean to those slow millennials. I just did it. That comes out of mouth because, of course, as you said, it goes different ways. What I just find is there's so many as an entrepreneur, there's what, maybe one in ten people on the planet are even trying to be an entrepreneur, and they're still very high failure rates. And so many people, if you talk to them, they'd like to have their own business. And usually it's what's going on up here that's preventing it's. Assumptions, thoughts. And to me, this is another perfect example of, again, something that at first seems like, oh, gosh, wait, now you're trying to tell me that I should be nice to all people.

 

That's the whole message. Well, yeah, that'd be good, too. But that's not why I thought this would be a great episode or a great reason for us to explore it's us looking at what is it that's limiting ourselves? Because as you know, when we're younger and, like, look at those old people, we get to feel like we have one up on them and then we get older than we say, okay, now we're beneath I wish I were younger. I wish I were. I'm losing all this energy and all of this is still going on up here. And you mentioned something that I thought was so interesting that, again, was different in different cultures, that some cultures are more individualistic and some are more collectivist, and that in the individualistic cultures, we like control. And so if you like control, then you want to feel powerful and energetic and attractive and able to do anything. And so anything other than that feels like a weakness. It feels like it's something you almost have to apologize for, that you can't apply for a job. Like, there's so many overarching implications of this. Would you share a little bit about the difference between even just again, because sometimes swimming in our own Wade, people would say collectively almost sounds like, okay, they just follow everything, right?

 

And it's certainly not quite that simple.

 

Yeah. And I say we because I mean Western society, because even though an ethically diverse person I live in and I have grown in a Western society. So I find that in Western society, we are, like you said, an age fearing society. And I think we mentioned that at our pre interview chat as well. I find that we are age fearing and we are deaf fearing as well at the same time. And so when I look at Western society, I look at the values, the traditions, the beliefs and behaviors that the society explores and how they interact with each other. So Western societies, predominantly North America, many parts of Europe, they are what we call individualistic societies, where it's all about your personal growth. It's all about looking after yourself, what you think, how you want life to be, and it's all about you that doesn't work in other parts of the world, which we call collectivist societies or where they're collectivist cultures. So we're looking at Asia, for example. We're looking at the Middle East. We're talking about the African continent, for example, and other parts in the world that could be connected to Western societies.

 

But they're still collectivist. Right? And we're talking about maybe Italians, for example, or the Greek communities as well. They are Western, but they have collectivist values, which means it's about the family, it's about the group. It's about my decision not just impacting me, but impacting my parents, my siblings, my cousins, my grandparents. It's all about my decision impacting the group that I belong to. And so it's not just about what I think. It's about how I think impacts the other people. So when you look at our societies, yes, we are in Western society, predominantly age fearing, and we fear aging because of this individualistic idea that I have to be strong, I have to look attractive, I have to look like I have stamina and abilities because that's going to impact the way that people are interacting with me. And that's going to mean that I am able and all of these other really good pro youth views that we have. Right. And it doesn't work like that in collectivist cultures. In collectivist cultures, they are more about looking at age. And I have to also add that it's not just the culture, it's also about the level of religiosity and spirituality within these groups as well.

 

So you have cultures that are high also on leaning on their religion, their religious views, but also their spiritual views as well, in which aging is a normal part of our growth, it is revered. An aging person is a person who is viewed as respect, respected, highly respected. They are our elders. They are our leaders. They are the head of households, as also they'd be head of families and head of tribes. And there are people that we respect and look up to and seek advice and support from. In those cultures, aging is not feared as much because it's something that we are aspiring to be aspiring to achieve. And so for me, I find it interesting. So when I look at my parents, for example, they are looking at aging as a normal part of life. And we're going to pass on some wisdom to the younger generations about how life has been to us. And as a younger generation, from an ethically diverse population, I listen to them, and I respect I might not agree with everything, but you disagree in a respectful manner. Whereas you find that when you're looking at individualistic people or people from backgrounds in which it's all about being young and youth and able, they are afraid of aging because of that stereotype that they've created.

 

And so when you talk about stereotypes, what really is important to also keep in mind is that as a young person, that stereotype of aging might not impact you now because you're young and you don't want to talk about growing old because why talk about something quite negative. But do you see how this view and vision that we have about aging has also made us very afraid of having this open conversation about it. So we don't even know how to communicate and have a conversation about it without going, oh, stop being so negative. Why talk about something that's not happening now? Why should I just think about this whole idea of being frail? Because I ask my students, when you think about aging and an old person, what are the first things that come to mind? And usually the first things predominantly. The first things are these negative stereotypes that you have. Why? It's because it's becoming normalized in our society to view aging in that negative way, because we don't talk about aging as being someone who is revered and respected. We talk about aging as someone who's in a who's frail and in a nursing home and is dependent.

 

And you know all the other negative stereotypes that we have. One day you as a younger person will be that aging individual. So you'll start to believe in the stereotypes that have been embedded in you and normalized in the society that you're being brought up in. It's going to catch up. You might not worry about it now because you are a 25 year old or a 30 year old or you're early 40s. But at some point, you will be that older person that will experience those stereotypes and those means of discrimination and you'll start to believe in them. And then it's just a vicious cycle, right?

 

Yeah, that's the part I know if you talk to some people, they'll say, if I'm lucky enough to be that old.

 

You will be enough. It's a problem, Wade. You will be because average life expectancy is increasing. We're not in the 18 hundreds now or the early 1009 hundreds. Average life expectancy in North America, in the US and in Canada. I mean, in Canada it's a little bit higher. Average life expectancy for men is in the 80s, and for women it's about 84, 85. And in the United States it's the late 78, 79s for men and early 80s for women. So the reality is you will live long enough to see all of this.

 

Yeah. And there's so many pieces to it. I think we've covered a little bit of why people are afraid of Asian. It's just that sense of going back to how does one value oneself? So if you are primarily seeing yourself as your physical capacity or as Wayne Dyermite might say, if you see yourself as a human being, that what you do is what constitutes your value, well, then, yes, becoming older, at least in a physical sense, most likely your physical attributes will decline. That's a biological truth. But on the other hand, I guess and maybe this has to do with part of my bias is as an entrepreneur, as somebody in the knowledge workforce or wisdom workforce situation. To me, the people who I want to listen to are people who are older and wiser again, about to be 50. And it recently just dawned me was talking to our children about just aging and not the age of presidential candidates. Only one of my children was born in the United States. My wife, my daughter, and I were all born outside Francisco could be President. He only has to be 35. And again, even in that, now that I'm on, I'm like, wow, that's so young.

 

You don't know anything at 35. And even that, of course, that's not absolutely true. But what I find it so interesting is, again, this thing that we're trying to get away from, like you said, being negative, if people talk about aging is if it's some bad things, something to be feared. And this was something I thought that was so interesting. You mentioned how when we then have this, we're almost trying to constantly be proving that we're not aging. So of course, people know this in the physical sense, okay, people will get different surgeries done or what not to try to make it look like they're younger or they'll buy a certain vitamin. They'll do certain things with the explicit purpose. And there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing immoral or whatever. I would hope that people love themselves even if they look older. My daughter is like, what are those? Those are my Crows feet. Those have been well earned. I've been out in the sun. Those are mine. But then we look at when it comes to the workforce, and you mentioned this idea of people over working to try to prove that they're not old, that they're not slowing down.

 

I can still hustle at 55 or 60, as if, again, their whole worth comes from that. It's kind of like watching an athlete that can't come to terms with the fact that at 50, they can't keep up with the 20 year olds anymore, which again, for the most part, if it has to do with racing or speed. No, you can't. That's what happens. How does that start impacting people and how does it even affect them as they're going through even thinking like, Gosh, I got to hustle while I'm young. How do you see that impacts people in their work? To detriment.

 

The reality is the research looks at the impact of growing old on people in the workforce and the impact of the aging experience on abilities and productivity, etc. So we know that, yeah, you're right. There are some signs that we can see as you grow older. They're normative age related signs. We're not just talking about the wrinkles because universally everyone will have wrinkles. You can get wrinkles in your early 20s, late 30s, depending on how much it's going to be exposed to the sun. And again, I think this is a really interesting thing. Actually, just to mention in this podcast is that signs of aging actually starts way earlier and younger than one would assume. Like, wrinkles can happen in your early 20s, mid 20s, your joints start to degenerate actually in your 30s, right? So, I mean, there are things that really start to happen quite early, but we don't see those things initially, right? So we don't really think, oh, I'm getting old because we associate being in my 40s, 50s, that's when things start to slow down. The reality is a lot of the changes that we see in our growing older population are universal.

 

We are all going to have those things that are going to impact our ability to be just as able as when we were younger. And those are things that we have to kind of embrace and work with. The problem lies in us looking at aging as an association with chronic conditions and lack of being productive individuals. And that's wrong because aging doesn't equal chronic conditions and downhill from here for most people. A lot of people will still be. And by a lot, I mean, the majority of older adults will still be very able, cognitively and physically to maintain a lifestyle of work or social lifestyle that could still make them very productive people in society and live a life that is full of purpose and meaning. I'll give you my dad as an example, who is 73 this year, and he was still an academic up till a couple of years ago, and he probably could still have been an academic throughout. He's still very cognitively and physically able and healthy. But when we're looking at people thinking that, oh, now that you're 60, we have to think about laying you off or you have to think about retiring.

 

That creates a whole lot of challenges because we know that people are still very cognitively and physically productive despite this chronological age. In your 60s, you're still able to be a productive employee. But when we have mandates and policies that believe that 65 is it, or once you start hitting your 60s, that's it for you, your organization will start to prepare you for laying you off or introducing retirement to you when you are probably still not ready. I mean, people are still in their prime. I look at my dad in his 70s, still excited about sharing the knowledge that he has with students and for him. And I think we talked about that in our pre chat. For him, academia was his entire identity. That is who he was. He was an academic. My dad was not prepared to be a retired individual. He didn't know what else he could do with his life. And so the first few months of him being a retired individual, he was absolutely miserable. He was miserable. My mom was miserable because what else am I good at? Doing work. And my career was a huge part of who I was.

 

And that's speaking for my dad, I could see that. Wait, I could see this being who he was. And now what else am I going to do? So what you have to find out in older adults when they're in that stage of being told they're no longer good because they're in their 60s, you can't just do that and then let them fend for themselves. You have to as an organization, prepare them to enter a different stage of their life, support them in this transition into retirement by saying, how else can we make sure that this person who has given 20 years of their life to this organization, how else can we show them that we're very appreciative of what they did? So I would recommend, for example, thinking about supporting them, maybe in creating opportunities for them to give back to the organization, maybe mentor the younger employees that you are moving into your organization now. Or it could be, for example, saying, what is it that we need to help you in preparation for you to retire? My dad, for example, wasn't given all of that. Right. He was given a time frame. This is when you should stop working.

 

It was very clear in terms of the expectation. And the message was we don't really care about what you're going to do after this. But thank you for giving us all of your adulthood basically. Right. And I think that's part of the frustration as well is that when you're retiring, you're thinking, okay, well, now what am I going to do now? What is my meaning? What meaning do I have what's my purpose in life? And so that's why I'm all about creating multi generational work cultures in organizations where you're also preparing the older person to move to another phase of their life, which is the transition of retirement. But you're also telling them, we are appreciative of what you have given to us. How can we still make you feel like what you've accumulated, that knowledge of accumulated is something that we can still benefit from if they want that right. Because there's always that do I even want to be generative? Do I want to give back?

 

That's such an interesting conversation. So there's a few things you mentioned that are so very, I think, impactful to people. Number one is, do you put all your eggs in the basket of my job is my identity and who I am. So that, as we know, can be dangerous, because then when you have no job either being retirement or you're temporarily unemployed, whatever the reason, then there's this sort of existential crisis. What's my meaning? What's my why? What am I about? And anybody who's had children or has maybe even just been in touch with the idea of what friendship and companionship is about will understand that you had purpose long before you ever had a job when you were a child in grade school or whatever it might be. And you can have that. So first just seeing that. But the other part is you and I were talking about so many businesses don't still fully understand if you can just go to math and say, okay, what's it take to replace a good employee? Most people say, okay, that cost me a lot. Employee turnover. It's the big thing. It's the negotiating chip. If you want to work a four day work week to your employer, there's so much around, okay, we got to retrain people.

 

And it can be so frustrating for an employer to say, wait, we got to retrain people just so we can be where we were. We're not even going to grow because we just lost people. And when you look at I love this idea, I'd like you to unpack a little bit more, if you don't mind the multi generational workplace, because I could see where if you have these different ages, well, I've seen it in action. Again, I'd love to hear your perspective on it when you have this sense of, yes, this person is older than us. And of course, some people that are older, not necessarily wise, but sometimes, hopefully wisdom comes with age. So we have these people that have something to offer that the others don't have. So I'll even think of a very specific example in pro basketball, there's Pat Riley, who is the coach of the Miami Heat basketball team. He used to be a player. He used to be a coach, and now he's the general manager, actually, at this time. Now, in his case, he has a very sick thing. There are rings that Championship rings he's won. So it's almost more easy.

 

Okay, well, he's got rings, so they call him the Godfather. But there's this sense of respect in the organization. He helps influence the coach and the coach helps leads the players. And so there's this harmony of respect for the different capacities. The elder gentleman, Pat Riley, he's not trying to be the player. He knows who he is. So he's past that stage where he's trying to say, I'm still in my 20s. And yet at the same time, there's a sense of, okay, he knows some things we don't know. And more than just we're going to be nice to him because look at how great we are and how evolved we are. But dude knows some stuff we don't know. He knows some stuff that we're not going to figure out to where his age. And so, oh, wait, we won't be playing. We need to know now what he know. And so there's that sense of if you can understand that was not to mention the other details you just mentioned. And again, at least that I picked up what you said. Number one, what happens at least stereotypically in the Western culture with men of average life expectancy of two years after retiring.

 

So that's not a good thing if the loss of very often identity socialization. But then also just the idea, a lot of times they don't need a full time job if they've managed their money. Well, these gentlemen, ladies that have reached a certain age. Like, I don't want to work 40 hours a week, but I'd gladly come in and work 15 and 20. And, oh, by the way, I'm worth like three to five times per hour of the person that you. But I'll come in and do it for you. There's such an opportunity, I think, if people can see it, not just even with compassion, but even if you're just wise to say there's so much here, can you share a little bit about that concept or what it looks like when you have multigenerational workplaces and when there is a synergy or harmony?

 

Yeah. So you actually mentioned quite a lot of really good points that I see when I talk about aging and I talk about benefiting, really from the depth of knowledge that some older people have. And you're right. The reality is some older adults might not have as much of experience. I don't want to say life experience because chronologically you will get experience, I guess. Right. But it's also the other experience, the experience that you think, well, this is something unique that we can actually benefit from. Again, I don't want to generalize and say all older people are wise because wisdom actually doesn't come with age. Wisdom comes with exposure to life experiences and challenges. So I'd say when you have in an organization, someone that's been successful helping your organization grow for 20 odd years, that means that that person has something they have, you can deny it. Right. They have a wealth of knowledge. They have some depth of information. They have probably built and created this clientele list, or they built this connection with your customer base. For example, they know the ins and outs of this organization, the written and unwritten rules.

 

So this person has so much knowledge that they could pass on to the younger people that are coming in. I find it baffling sometimes the organizations don't even think about making use of that. Right. And it could be for whatever reason, there is this mentality that I find with organizations is that we'll just get rid of the older person now. We'll get fresh, new young, hip people in and things will run the best way possible because young people are quick and they're cognitively fast and they're going to pick up on all these things. And the reality is it takes about six months after hiring a new person for them to pick up on the stuff. So you're paying somebody six months of a salary, but you're not getting from them what you are paying from them. You're paying them to do. Right. So in the meantime, why don't you have this program, this buddy program, this reciprocal relationship built in between the person who is the older individual, who is willingly happy to share and impart with this knowledge. And you're benefiting the younger person because they are not only gaining insight and knowledge from the older individual who is generative and passing on this knowledge.

 

But that younger person is also hopefully changing the stereotypes they have about old people being grumpy, old people stuck in their own ways, old people not fun, old people not. And so that younger person is learning and benefiting on so many levels. And then the senior leader, the senior manager or employee is also learning to pick up some of the hip stuff that the younger person is bringing in. But also there's when you look at research out there, Wade, it says that older people benefit so much from this younger intergenerational relationship because it's almost like they gain energy and life from this younger person, this feeling. And anyone can experience this when you're talking to somebody and they're imparting some wisdom or just insight and they're listening to you and they're coming to you because they're seeking that from you, you feel good about yourself. You think, wow, there's a point behind me living. I'm still needed. I still have a purpose in this life. There's still meaning behind me being here. And I think this is super important when you're looking at our older populations. In psychology, I talk about something called quality of life and value of life, where as an older person, when you open your eyes, when you're waking up in the morning and if you're thinking, I'm so excited because I've got things to do, there's a purpose behind me waking up, it energizes you.

 

It makes you want to live. It makes you feel that this society that I'm living in is valuing me. But if you're opening your eyes up and going, gosh, I'm still alive. I'm not dead yet. Why am I still here? Your older person is losing their sense of purpose, their sense of quality, their value in life. And that is very problematic because that's where we're going to. The other stuff that we don't want to talk about, which is older men over the age of 85 have a higher rate of suicide because they lose purpose, they lose that value in life, and they're leaning more towards I might as well end my life. Right. We don't want to go there in terms of this conversation, but this is where these things could lead to if we're not careful and if we don't provide resources and supports. So this multi generational workplace, I think for me could work really well because you're giving a sense of value and purpose to the older person, but you're also giving that younger generation this opportunity that they may not have, they might not have this opportunity anymore to be in a work relationship with a person that could impart with so much value that rather than me learning on my own and languishing and getting really frustrated because there's no one around me that I could ask for their assistance or support or help.

 

There's this older person who is a senior, who was a senior who was just about to leave that could actually impart with this knowledge and put me under their wings.

 

Basically, yeah, I remember a gentleman I worked with, not directly, but his cubicle was next to mine. He was about 20 years older than me and my first day was just a train wreck. And he said, wait, what do you learn today? Well, I learned this in the old days where we had to go back and get the files each time to look at the client records, said, well, and I picked up the phone, took the client's name and their phone number and the number of their file, and I hung up the phone and went to go get it. And the phone rang again the other day. I literally had like 50, 60 stickies all over my cubicle, said, well, Mari, I've learned that I'm going to actually finish the call with the person. I'm going to go get the file, leave the phone off the hook, and I'm going to come back and get it and I'll get the rest. Good stuff. Wait, I'll see you tomorrow. And there was something about the confidence of his knowingness that he knew the answer. I didn't know the answer. I had no idea what to do because part of it was I just had more than I could get to.

 

But just that sense. It was a sense of pride for him. And it's such a contrast to what I've seen with some of the other clients I work with that going back again to this conversation of being afraid of aging as I've gone in depth with a couple of my clients that are really, really have so much to offer, but they can't embrace that word mentor, because mentor means they're old. They won't. And I'm only now catching this and they haven't said this way, but I just know they're very generous people. They're giving people and they will teach. But if you say, okay, we need to retention, they did just go, no, I don't have time for that. And you're thinking, how many have you not seen like a gazillion, motivational, inspirational movies about an older person, the younger person, that's the whole theme of the entire movie. Have you not seen this before? But it requires them, I would guess on some level, admitting, oh, I'm the old guy now. I'm the old woman now. I don't want to be that person again. Going right back to if the society says, well, individualistic, it's what I can do individually, which is one of the biggest problems for entrepreneurs, that rugged individualism, as Dan Sullivan talks about the entrepreneur who wants to do everything themselves and says, I don't need any help, I don't need a team.

 

It's all me. It's not you, it's not you, it's me. Everything is me. It's independence to a possibly just unproductive extreme as opposed to interdependence, yes, I can do some stuff and I need somebody else. Do you find that with people that accepting their stage is a barrier to them being able to be not that they have to play a part of a certain stage because, of course, you can be at a different stage in your life, but there is perhaps a certain flow if you follow kind of life and how life goes and at certain stages, there are certain things you do. What do you see around that?

 

You're absolutely right. I think one of the challenges I mean, we can say, yes, providing mentorship, and I call it generativity because that's a psychology term for it. But generativity is the need to be needed. That's what generativity means, right. When a person feels that they're needed that you're asking them for support and advice from a psychological perspective, that makes you feel good. But what we do find is that when people and it's a stereotype, it's just like a stereotype of a professor. And like I said, that in the beginning of this interview and the conversation is that when you see professor at University, you don't think usually a particular diverse kind of a selection of a professor, you think of a particular stereotype or image of what a professor looks like. And when we talk about mentor, we might think, oh, that immediately means that I am not just older. I would say more senior in terms of knowledge. Right. So rather than us creating the stereotype of a mentor being an older person, it could be a person who is not necessarily that old but has had the opportunity to be in this organization for longer than the person who's entering and therefore can take them under their wings.

 

So I'd really like to see maybe a shift in that mentorship where I can mentor a person who's the same age as I am. But the reason why I'm located as a mentor is because I have had longer years being in this organization, not that I'm chronologically older by a lot. Right. But what we find in terms of accepting the roles that we have in society, and I think this in particular could be seen in retirement, is that when you are trying to fight this whole aging process and being identified as the older person or being identified as someone who is chronologically older, it becomes a bit problematic because the reality is we're all going to age, so we all have to expect it. And that's why we say even with the younger generation, where they go, no, we're not going to talk about growing old. We're not going to worry about being experiencing ageism at one point. You'll have to, because it's a normal part of our human lifespan. We are born, we grow, we develop, we are young adults, and then we have to become, if we live, of course, to becoming old adults.

 

But this whole part of I don't want to be identified as an older person because of the association of this negative association with age. It can be problematic because we find that even with retirement, for example, and coming back to retirement, if the retired person is accepting of the fact that I'm at this age range and this is a normal part of the process of being in this job is at some point I will have to retire. I'm going to expect it, I'm going to embrace it, and I'm going to walk through it. Right. And see how I can use that to still enhance my life. For aging people in particular, especially aging in the workforce, it's expected that you will be called to think about maybe transitioning out or retiring, for example. But as long as you are making that choice still, we are people who like to have control. And at the end of the day, we want that sense of control. We want to be the ones who make that decision. It's a very independent individualistic perspective, but it makes us feel comfortable knowing that I'm the person who actually chose to retire.

 

I'm the person who put my hand up and said, I'm going to be the mentor. I don't want to be told to do something right. But what we can do is we can work with the individual in terms of either working through what the word or the term mentor means. It doesn't mean that you're old. It means that you are more experienced and working with the person saying, are you planning on retiring? What is it that we can do to support you in making that transition, a successful transition? But it's also looking at the person and saying, are you okay with this whole process of aging? Right. Is there anything that we can do to support you in making this experience a healthy and successful experience? Because a lot of people will start to dye their hair and use the and I do not like using antiaging because it means that we are avoiding aging. But the antiaging creams and procedures, et cetera, why is it anti aging? Well, it's because we don't want to be older people. We want to age. We are against aging. That's what it is, really. Right. And then you'll find people in the workforce, like you said, who are of that older category that are trying to keep up with the younger folks.

 

They're trying to be as hip and maybe dress and use terminologies that the younger generation are using to see if they could cover up on being older so they won't be identified as the older populations. And that's because the unfortunate experience of knowing the reality is we all know that we are going to be discriminated because of being identified as older or being that older category. And so we try to avoid it. But accepting is a huge part of this whole process weight, and it's not forcing acceptance. It's finding ways to support that person in that acceptance transition.

 

Yeah, I find there's so much this there's just a natural flow in business I always try to think about I don't know where I learned it from what mentor, but the idea of if you think of farming, there's a natural rhythm. You plant, you. Sow eventually the harvest comes out. When you try to rush things, when you go outside of natural rhythms, it's not that it can't happen. There's a lot of other things that just don't work as naturally. And to your point, if we're not accepting of there's just a natural pattern to this, there's a natural flow, and it doesn't have to be bad, it doesn't have to be painful. And I just need to think of, again, the basics of whether it's over hustling, whether it's spending our money on stuff we don't need to try to stop what is on some level, parts of it inevitable. And just all this hustle that literally tires us today and makes us Ironically, age quicker as we're stressing this, as we're worrying about this, the whole joke. I'm running 3 hours a day so I can stay young. And so what are you doing? I'm going to live ten years longer.

 

Great. You're going to spend those ten years running. And I'm not against running, but that level of obsession to where it's trying to avoid the inevitable. They have a saying that a lot of the athletes say, which I love, father time is undefeated. And just this idea that at some point time, whether it's father time or mother time, there's time you're eventually used to reach a point where, yeah, there are certain things are going to shift. But that doesn't have to be catastrophic. It doesn't have to be tragic, it doesn't have to be something to mourn. I get to do this stage. And I know it's interesting. Athletics, I think sometimes has a good way of dealing with it because we embrace as the older I play a lot of beach volleyball, we embrace the idea of beating up on the youngsters. It's fun. I get to laugh at you because, Hi, I beat you and I'm older than you. And it's still but it's a more playful way of looking at it. It still, of course, is rooted in some level of it, but it's more of an accepting sense of, yes, I can't do what you can do.

 

No, there's things I used to be able to do that I was never able to do, that you can do, but we can still play together. There's still something to it.

 

Absolutely. And I think what we really have to focus on as well is why are older people reluctant to age? By that, I mean, it's going to happen anyway, but they're reluctant to show that they're aging. Right. Why is that reluctance? And that reluctance comes from them knowing that the society perceives this. And this is why I say it's always going to be embedded in us. If you like it or not, as a young person, when you see society interact with older people and stereotypes being tossed around and becoming the norm in our society about aging, that it's all negative and it's all downhill and you're not productive and you're not supported, et cetera, you're not needed anymore, then as a younger person, you're going to grow up almost assuming and expecting these discriminations and these stereotypes to be experienced by you as well. And so there has to be a point where we realize it's because we fear aging and we fear moving on this natural cause. We know that society doesn't even see this as a good thing. And so they're trying their best to and I don't want to say all of all older adults, again, we're not wanting to generalize.

 

Right. But there's a lot of this hesitancy and reluctance. But I think looking at ways where we can support older adults to age successfully, looking at ways where we can combat and dismantle these stereotypes about growing old, looking at organizations that hire older adults as mentors later on, even after they retire, a lot of older people actually find that they don't want to retire, but they have to. So how can we support them in continuing that purpose that they want to continue and supporting them while organizations can maybe go back and say, we're really wanting to ask you to come back because we want you to support us or mentor the newer employees that are coming into our organization. So keeping that relationship, I think it's also going to be very important for some organizations, too.

 

Absolutely. All right. So I've got a few sort of quick questions, if you wouldn't mind. So first question, if you could give the people you serve, your target audience, any one skill, what would that be?

 

I would say being open minded. I think learning to be open minded is a skill that helps us appreciate differences. And I think appreciating differences helps us also understand that we can learn from people who might not necessarily share the same views as we do, but there's something to pick up from that. So being open minded, I think, is something that we can all benefit from.

 

Awesome. What are you most excited about in your work life right now?

 

I'm excited about sharing, I guess, this passion of mine about talking about aging and educating and bringing awareness to this topic. And I always tell people that I'm the one who's very excited about talking about the elephant in the room. And so whenever I am invited to things like this, you can tell I can get pretty heated up and passionate about this conversation because I'm excited to know that people have started to become more interested in learning about how to support older people.

 

Awesome. What are you most excited about in your personal life right now?

 

I'm excited about the growth that I'm also experiencing as well. The more I interact with people from various backgrounds, various careers, various life paths. I'm finding that I'm benefiting quite a lot from them as well and a lot of the people that I talk with are of that older category and age group and so if I can learn from them, I'm pretty sure that many of us can learn from them as well.

 

Awesome. And where can people learn more about you and your work and connect with your work?

 

Linkedin is right now the best way to connect with me and so you'll be able to see me there and see how involved I am, I guess in this topic and I'm hoping to maybe at some point create a website, but at this point LinkedIn is the place where you can catch me.

 

Awesome. Thank you so much for your perspective. I think there are so many levels to this. I'm really grateful for you sharing your perspective. For those of you all again, check out Doctor Rose her work, connect with her on LinkedIn, see what she's up to, check her post. That's how I actually saw and heard about her, just of her making comments and she's not afraid to engage on LinkedIn. I've seen that too, which is pretty cool. So anyway, thank you again so much for joining us.

 

Thank you so much, Fred. I really appreciate this opportunity. Thanks a lot.

 

Absolutely. And as always, for those listings, I look forward to helping you impact more people and make more money in less time doing what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends and your life. Thanks for listening.

 

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Rose Joudi

Aging and Ethnic Diversity Educator

Dr. Rose Joudi, Ph.D. (Psych) is an Aging and Ethnic Diversity Consultant with more than 15 years of academic and research experience in the Psychology of Aging. Rose has worked with various stakeholders focusing on supporting the needs of vulnerable, marginalized and ethnically diverse populations. As a person who is from a visible minority and bilingual in English and Arabic, Rose believes that understanding the diverse backgrounds and needs of our older adults should be part of any well-being approach. She finds it imperative that professionals are encouraged and supported in using culturally competent strategies as well as holistic approaches when working with older adults. Rose is passionate about enhancing quality of life of older persons, protecting them from exploitation, supporting coping and resilience strategies that promote successful ageing, and ensuring that diversity is acknowledged in professional and community settings.