What about the more intelligent animals, like a dog or a monkey? A dog needs to be outdoors and to encounter other animals. If confined to a small space for a long time the dog becomes anxious and wild. And what about the monkey with the more sophisticated brain? Some laboratories house many animals for their experiments. These animals are minded not only by specialists, but also by graduate students who help with the research. Confined monkeys, to relieve loneliness, sometimes indulge in self-abuse, which may surprise or worry young students. Professors should care for these animals by providing them with special toys, like wire puzzles, mirrors, or TVs. Animals need to roam around looking for changes in the environment; they cannot live in a confined space. Before any animal is confined, it should be provided with sufficient physical needs. Only reptiles or lower forms are likely to be okay in captivity.
What about humans, then? In a modern developed country, most people function as members of organizations throughout their working lives. After retirement, they may become lost in a daydreaming world. Such a person without an office finds it difficult to find something to do in the morning. Humans, with our large advanced brain, need to use that brain to maintain a healthy life. Simple quizzes or brain training games are not enough. In an organization, people can do a job and follow preplanned schedules. An efficient modern organization provides similar mechanisms for all its members. We consider it worthwhile.
Humans used to work until their last breath. As lifestyles advanced, spare time became available for the kids’ education, light work, or religious activities to support the community. The most satisfactory activities are voluntary services to the public. Most people want recognition from society.
Japan is confronted with an aging population (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Population distribution in Japan
Sixty to seventy year olds comprise a large share of the population.
[Source: Population Pyramid of Japan (in Japanese)]
As Figure 1 shows, sixty to seventy year olds share about the same percentage as those twenty to sixty. Until recently, the aged were ignored as social contributors, which is a waste of their potential power. Here, I’d like to propose a new platform for retirees. Following are requirements for the new organization:
What happens after this innovation? People will behave more positively and actively, which will improve their health, keeping them robust (if not young) both physically and mentally. It will reduce medical costs, too. A check of my local city administration revealed that many city operating services are supported by volunteers. However, many more people want to find volunteer jobs. There are too few job offers from private companies. Taking into account the myriad jobs in a company, many of the light ones could be handled by senior ex-employees. Some examples are education, sales and marketing, maintenance, customer services, planning, public relations and human resources. Before worrying about the shrinking younger generation, we would do well to use seniors, who could give a healthy boost to the GDP as a whole.
On a personal note, here’s what I’m doing. Human potential does not immediately drop to zero. Everybody has knowledge that can help others. I have read Science Magazines for more than 15 years, so I can teach what I’ve learned from my reading, including English. I can share my knowledge with others. I advertized to hold a science class in my home and started teaching the class twice a week about six months ago. Several people, including high school students and housewives, signed up. I can now enjoy chatting with those people from my community. I am delighted to have found a productive niche for myself in the community.