How to Live Forever: Marc Freedman’s Book on Intergenerational Connection
Open this revolutionary book and you’ll be faced with some complex, but important, questions.
“With so many living so much longer, what is the meaning of the increasing years beyond 50? How can a society with more older people than younger ones thrive? How do we find happiness when we know life is long and time is short?”
How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations offers vital answers to these questions. On issues that relate to ageing and society, author Marc Freedman advocates for more intergenerational connection to promote happiness and wellbeing for all.
How to Live Forever comes at a time when, in many developed countries, people over 60 outnumber people under 18. In Australia, younger people still have the edge right now. In 2019 18.7% of the Australian population was aged between 0 and 14, and 15.9% were aged 65 years and over. But Australia is steadily ageing, with older people set to become a larger proportion of the population than children in the not too distant future.
Freedman shows how society tends to segregate the generations, by ‘placing’ older people in retirement communities and residential aged care. He goes on to show how and why this age segregation is so harmful. Institutional living can create and exacerbate isolation and loneliness among older people, but also robs younger generations of mentors that would provide vibrant support and wisdom.
Freedman’s book helps the reader see the opportunities that lie in our older years, offering an alternative to damaging, negative mainstream narratives about retirement and later life.
As you turn these engaging pages, Freedman develops his argument on how intergenerational collaboration can be the key to positive change in people’s lives. Through vivid personal accounts, he illustrates how older people can take on mentoring roles to benefit themselves and younger people alike. In these roles, older people share their experiences and life lessons with younger generations, contributing to a society that is better equipped to thrive.
Freedman gives us special access to the retirement years of such pioneers as the jazz musician Clark Terry, who mentored a blind piano prodigy 70 years his junior. It's anecdotes like these which infuse this book with so much passion and inspiration.
He also shares the humbling accounts of ordinary men and women, and his own personal mentors. Among these are Freedman’s own father, a gym teacher whose generosity gave so many younger people the gift of wisdom. This, Freedman says, is the antidote to loneliness.
A first-rate storyteller, Freedman is also the author of Encore, The Big Shift and Prime Time—all of which explore issues concerning older generations. As an award-winning social entrepreneur, he frequently offers positive intergenerational solutions through his commentary in the media.
He is also the CEO of Encore, a US non-profit organisation which aims to bridge intergenerational divides to create a better future.
For those approaching, or in the midst of retirement, How to Live Forever is relatable and cathartic. It denounces age-segregation and age-discrimination as social ills which hold back every generation.
How to Live Forever flies in the face of harmful narratives about ageing. Instead Freedman’s book is filled with hope. Forget trying to “stay young” and “live forever”—older people can leave a legacy through the insights they share with other generations.
This touching book inspires us to achieve purpose, fulfilment and happiness in our longer lives through intergenerational connection. EveryAGE Counts wholeheartedly agrees that intergeneration connectivity can help end ageism.