Every May in the Republic of Ireland approximately one quarter of the country’s over 65 year olds celebrate the fact that they’re growing older with the annual Bealtaine Festival, Ireland’s groundbreaking “celebration of creativity as we age”.The Festival gently questions expectations of old age. Festive enthusiasm overcomes threshold hesitation for individuals and organizations. Challenging subjects addressed through entertainment become easier to engage with.
Bealtaine makes the issues of aging public. The scale of the festival brings it into contact with every walk of life. Collaboration attracts diverse resources and is at the heart of the festival’s ethos of inclusion. It offers fertile common ground for seeding new approaches to aging.
Around the world older people are becoming a larger percentage of the total population. We are living longer and healthier. In The United States for example, the population aged 65 and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years. By 2030, almost 1 out of every 5 Americans, 72 million people, will be 65 years or older. The fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is the age group 85 and older. What kind of old are they going to be?
Opportunity now exists to build from Ireland’s proven model in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere. Creative Aging International has begun to work with companies and festivals worldwide. We believe that our work can transform how we all view and approach aging for the better – as individuals, as artists, as companies, as governments and as societies.