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Motivate retirees into academic research - don't let all the wisdom go waste!

People retire - some want to and some are forced to. Depending on an individual's social-physical-economic circumstances, longevity casts varied impacts on self and others.

One thing is sure - there is a lot of accumulated learning and wisdom, and majority of it goes untapped. What a waste of such a fantastic resource...!

In what ways could society motivate willing retirees to continue to contribute actively?

Why does society stop expecting game changing ideas and contributions from experienced individuals? This can't be right, dad!


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    Oct 26 2011: This is the exact kind of thinking that I am challenging....

    When bright people suggest to my dad how he could pass his time productively through volunteering, blogging and many such ways - there are implicit assumptions/messages that I'm arguing are not right. You are basically conveying with nice and respectful euphemism: hey dad, your turn is over - make the place for younger generations - impart your wisdom when asked.

    I'm saying, rather invite dad to help in academic research - music, arts, history, engineering, basic sciences, law, computers, genetics, literature - where ever a new perspective is needed. Don't stereotype academic research to TR-35 or Ivory towers. Don't contain academic research to some degree, or some job or start-up at the end. Who else other than retirees and rich could be in a better position to research without the need of a job at the end?
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      Oct 27 2011: There's an assumption that retirees don't need a job! Quite a number of retirees didn't have the choice about retiring and would like to have the opportunity to continue exercise their experience in a real job. They have chosen to exercise their skills in a practical rather than an academic way and may want to keep doing that, or may need to keep doing it for financial reasons. Retirees aren't a homogenous group, they are individuals each with their own needs, abilities and preferences. Some may want to take an academic route, and that should be as open to them as to people of any age. But they shouldn't be forced out of the commercial world.

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