About two weeks ago, my colleague Takaoh Miyagawa from Aegon Sony Life Insurance in Japan and I were invited to make a presentation at the 13th Asia Insurance Review conference in Kuala Lumpur. We wanted to do something to stand out and drive home the message that preparing for a successful retirement is broader than just having your finances in order; it involves maintaining healthy habits to ensure that we can do all the things we saved so hard for during our working lives.
We borrowed an old age suit from our partners at the Leyden Academy for Vitality and Ageing that helps people visualize how it feels to be an older person. Ben Ang from the Asia Insurance Review volunteered to wear the suit during our presentation and has written an article about his experience. His article is both personal and eye-opening. It turns a presentation into a real story that people can relate to and helps us think about the things we an do today to prepare for the future.
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Thank you for sharing the article with us, @MikeMansfield! Demonstrations like this with the "age suit" are helpful to put aging into perspective. It's very difficult to face, but we all will at some point which is why planning is so important.
I loved the comment "These mundane tasks which we do not think twice about became challenging and required focus and effort to complete. It was the first time I ever felt Twitter's 140 characters were too long!". Good thing his account wasn't one trying out the new 280 character limit while he was in the suit!
Hi @MikeMansfield - do you know if there is any such "suit" available for the general public? Are there any museums that permit visitors to slip into the experience? I have once been to an interactive museum in Germany about anatomy, where you could wear a "pregnancy suit". Learning about the weight and discomfort and difficulties you encounter when 8 months pregnant. It left a lasting impression on myself and my family, so I am intrigued by this idea of an "aging suit".
Hi @Twinkletoes83 I have not heard of a museum that uses the suit as part of an interactive experience, though the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will be using it in the next few weeks so that they can better understand what it is like for an older person to visit the museum.
Recently, we used the suit at a lunch and learn for our colleagues in Hong Kong. One kind man wore it during the session and afterwards people had the opportunity to try it on and experience it for themselves. In June, we brought the suit to the OECD Forum in Paris and had people try it on when they visited the virtual reality room; it was a great success and we even had a visit from HRH the Princess of Denmark.
The suit is a great way to literally walk in someone else's shoes and helps us understand what it is like to feel like an older person.