Highlights from this week’s conversation include:
Abundant Aging is a podcast series presented by United Church Homes. These shows offer ideas, information, and inspiration on how to improve our lives as we grow older. To learn more and to subscribe to the show, visit abundantagingpodcast.com.
Michael Hughes 00:07
Hello, and welcome to The Art of aging party abundant aging podcast series from the Ruth Frost Parker center for abundant aging, which is part of United Church homes. On this show, we look at what it means to age in America, and in other places around the world with positive and empowering conversations that challenge, encourage and inspire everyone everywhere to age with abundance. And we’re very pleased to have Jon Warner on the show today, certainly one of the most respected and well known people that I know in the aging and age tech space. But that’s not just limited aging and age tech. Jon is a five time company CEO, and a widely respected expert in entrepreneurship. He’s held executive leadership roles, including as Deputy CEO for a small company we know called ExxonMobil. He’s also the founder of the worldwide center for organizational development and CEO of silver moonshots, which supports emerging organizations and health and technology just to serve the age 50 plus population. He’s a noted author, speaker and teacher, especially around the subject of entrepreneurship. And we’re very pleased to have him on the show today, Jon, welcome.
Jon Warner 01:07
Thank you very much, Mike. Good to be here.
Michael Hughes 01:09
So I just want to open up with a question we ask a lot of guests on the podcast. You know, you’ve obviously got a terrific resume, a lot of experience and talent. Why are you putting this to work now in the world of aging and H tech?
Jon Warner 01:24
Yeah. And my route to aging was Securitas when I left the oil industry back in the mid 90s. I went into management consulting work that took me into healthcare, I very quickly realized that a lot of healthcare dollars were spent in the older adult population. But it was really in 2012, that I joined the board of an organization in Los Angeles called St. Barnabas that showed me that there were a lot of things needed to change in the world of managing older adults, and not just in their health care. This was a safety net organization. And I quickly became immersed in the space and enjoyed the space that went on to join aging 2.0. That was looking at innovation and technology in this space. And before I knew it, I was completely submerged. And for the last dozen years or so I’ve been very heavily involved in this space. And it’s been great fun.
Michael Hughes 02:22
Yeah, it’s a young space, too, isn’t it? I mean, for you know, the world of age tech, you know, compared to other areas of innovation just seems almost like no 12 years ago was right at the very beginning. Although, when you look at it, I mean, innovation can be found anywhere means it’s not just technology. But how do you live? momentum has been just over that time? Do you think that sort of a you think of sort of slow and steady is an acclamation of this interest in age check here? Do you think it’s been picking up? I mean, what would you, you know, where are you seeing the trend?
Jon Warner 02:56
I think it’s growing. I wish it were faster. I think you’re right, we’ve been very slow to pull innovation and technology entrepreneurs into the space. And I think, but I think it’s starting to turn, I think we’re now seeing a number of accelerators in the space, I think we’re seeing money coming into the space, there are more and more of venture capital funds, family offices, and so on starting to invest in the space. So it’s turning the curve. But I’d also say it’s about time. This is a very large population of people, as we both know, and they’ve got, you know, a lot of things to solve for. So I’d like to see that go even faster than it has in the last decade, let’s say,
Michael Hughes 03:37
yeah, it’s one of those things where, you know, I always like to say to the most certain things that I know trend wise, in terms of where future demand is going to be, is, you know, climate change and aging. And so for someone like yourself, that sees gaps in the system, you know, it’s almost like a number whose door do we have to pound on to say, look, this is going to be a 10 fold size problem, and in five or 10 years, and, and we have to work ahead now. But there’s also, I think, an opportunity. Let me pose a question to you. Do you believe that the reason that we will, in general, live longer lives, you know, generation to generation? Do you believe that those lives will have more healthy years for them? And what do you think that a longer life with more healthy years, you know, could do for us? What potential Do you see there?
Jon Warner 04:32
Yeah, so I think it’s inevitable, we’ll live longer. I mean, one of the reasons for that is I think we’ve been successful in the last 100 years or so, and increasingly, you know, improving health care in all sorts of ways dealing with infectious diseases dealing with childhood diseases, loss of children very early on, and so on. I think that’s taken all of that in the right direction. So I think it is inevitable we’ll live longer. Whether we live longer in a healthy way is another question. I think we have the potential to do that. And I think we have better diagnostic tools, we have better data now, in terms of some of that, but we’ve also got some unknowns, we know as we’ve lived longer, for example, so there’ll be a large population of ones living much longer, that we’ve got areas like dementia, which have doubled and tripled in the last 20 years in terms of incidence rate. So we need to catch up with some of the new challenges that we’re facing in the space, I think the goal is to try and create, you know, healthy aging, for as long as possible, I think we’d all like to, to hope that we can sail into our very old years, in a healthy way, in a very mobile way. And I think we have potential to do that. Yeah,
Michael Hughes 05:45
I think you’re sort of introducing a couple of different, you know, cuts on this, you know, I think we have, you know, we have this, we do have examples that we see right now, I think, you know, we have the example of Italy, where we have negative birth rates, we have the example of Japan, that’s already, you know, living with a much older population, and also a an environment, where it’s much like the United States where, you know, immigration is limited. And we seem to have this sort of, you know, this consistent problem of not having enough workforce to deal with it now in Japan is interesting, because, at least culturally speaking, I think we see more and more, you know, normals around around dementia, what I mean by that, you know, I’ve read the other week that someone’s opened up a cafe that or a restaurant that has nothing but people with dementia, you know, serving food, and you get what you get in terms of what you would show up at your table to kind of raise awareness. So what I’m getting at here is, you know, back to that scalability problem with all these different sorts of, you know, specters that we have in space. So if you look at sort of like the holistic environment of H tech, where do you think we should be? Really, what are the sort of the key challenges you think that H tech should be addressing?
Jon Warner 07:05
Yeah, that’s a very big question, because there are many realms in which we need to, to address that. Let me at least start at where you started. In terms of, you know, big trends, I think the first thing we need to do is recognize that these challenges are here today. And I recently came back from the United Nations, running a whole session on healthy aging over a couple of days as part of directive three, which is all about health and well being, as you will know. And I think we have now got a situation where, almost across the planet, with the exception, perhaps of Africa and the Middle East, to a lesser extent, we’ve got these burgeoning populations of people. So I think, you know, for innovation and technology, the challenge is one of scale diversity. And then making sure that the solutions that we’re rendering fit for the population it’s addressing in very particular ways, I think one of the mistakes we’ve made historically, is to generalize about older adults. I mean, even that term suggests that they’re all the same. We know we throw the plus sign at the end of 65. And then assume that everyone between that age and 100 or even older is the same. So I think it’s not so much that we don’t have particular challenges. We have many of them. But I think it’s about making sure they’re fit for purpose for the population we’re serving. And obviously, that splits into things that are particularly health related and things that are not. There are many challenges out there, which have not to do with just healthcare alone. So I think that’s the challenge for the entrepreneur is to think in that much more nuanced way.
Michael Hughes 08:46
And generally speaking, when you’re looking at, you know, because I know that you’ve seen many different solutions, in tech and in innovation, is there a certain process? Or is there certain? Is there a certain character about solutions, where you look at them? And you say, this was designed, right, this was designed, this is a smart way of going about it. And then, you know, what have you seen in the opposite way, you know, what sort of characteristics you know, jumped out at you as, as well as I guess, a well thought out solution.
Jon Warner 09:15
Yeah. And I’ll build on the comments I just made and as much as where I see greater success, it’s always because individuals are talking to real end customers with very sound customer discovery practices, meaning that they’re talking to individuals, whether they’re at home, whether they’re in a clinical setting, whether they’re in an adult daycare center, whether they’re in, you know, community living, institutional living in some way, shape or form. It’s really understanding what the needs are, either for the oldest adults, the other adults themselves, or indeed for the people who care for them. There’s obviously a very large caregiving population, as well that we have to address that environment. So I think you can distinguish almost, you know, 5050, those organizations that do that well, and those that don’t. And I think there are practices around that entrepreneurially. To do that, we’ll really listen to those older adult voices and their caregivers in particular, and then put that into the design thinking for the product, whatever it may be, in such a way that they’re fit for purpose, more often than not. And I think it’s why we’ve seen failure, when you’ve seen failure, I think you can often anchor it back to where the listing hasn’t been long enough or deep enough, and therefore it slightly misses the mock.
Michael Hughes 10:37
Yeah, and I think that opens up an interesting conversation about data and what we do with it. And I want to actually be the very first podcast, Jon, to tackle the subject of generative AI. I hope they do, you’re willing to explore this with me. But at least in senior living, you know, we traditionally have not had a lot of data. But you know, I, you know, one of our other guests, Victor Wang had a great analogy about, you know, AI and geriatrics and this concept of, you know, if you’re a cardiologist, you know, everything about the heart. If you know, if you’re in geriatrics, you tend to know everything about complexity, because so many of the factors around aging and living well, you know, it’s not just your clinical health, it’s your social health and functional health and resources and all of these things, there is a promise that AI can kind of make sense of data. What is your Where do you think the power and data comes in a space when or where have you seen it in your past?
Jon Warner 11:37
Yeah, I think it plays a critical role. And if I want to go all the way back to my oil industry days, which is a long time ago, now we’re talking about the mid 90s, I used to run a refinery. And in that refinery, I had a lot of equipment as you would imagine. So for example, I might have had as many as 400 pumps, mechanical pumps around the refinery, literally pumping product from A to B, every one of those pumps was monitored. So we were collecting data seven days a week, 24 hours a day, over the lifetime of that pump, and that pump might last for 15 years, that would be a typical life of a pump before you might replace it altogether. The sad fact is, I knew more back in the mid 90s, about my population of mechanical pumps, because we’re monitoring them and remote patient monitoring them, like a pager would go off when problems occurred, we’d know when maintenance needed to be done. We knew when we had to refurbish, we knew all of those things, it had a very high level of detail. We were running data analytics for trends that I did today. So I think the role of data is crucial. I think we shy away from it a little bit because we think there’s complexity in human beings for a start. And then do we even have enough of the data set, but I think we really do have the opportunity with AI today, and with big data and with supercomputers, to take the datasets we’ve got and start to collect it for greater intelligent insight generation. And I think that’s fascinating, because I think if we take an Eric, you alluded to, which is these, you know, social determinants of health, for example, we know they very often can play as big, if not a bigger role in terms of someone’s capacity to thrive, than the fact that they might have broken their leg, for example. I mean, that might just be a medical fact. And we can say, that’s, that plays its role, but it needs to play his role in context. So I think the more we can concatenate the datasets we’ve got and use AI to perhaps turbocharge that and do it more efficiently, we’re going to get better and better insights. And that means our diagnosis, treatment and recovery pathways are going to be considerably better in the future. And I’m very excited about that.
Michael Hughes 13:58
Yeah, and I’m very hopeful in much the same way. You know, and I think that there is a big Greenfield opportunity for us in the senior living space, and anybody who’s experienced with non clinical supportive care, because there just seems to be this know how I know that in our organization, there’s this decades of know how around, you know, just addressing risks associated with social determinants here, either food or transport or even loneliness. And I think, you know, when you look at AI, and what’s available today, it seems to the very, you know, a lot of the generative supportive models are very clinical because all the clinical care pathways are largely known you know, I that’s maybe an overstatement. You know, but if you have a wound, clean the wound, bandage the wound, disinfect the wound, whatever, you know, maybe not in that order. For us, you know, we’re seeing things like the impact of a pet ownership on people you know, pets can be good but maybe not if they’re bigger, boisterous, you know, for function. We had another person telling me that, you know, He’s sure that longevity is associated with the number of home cooked meals you eat every week. But what is that? What is that for is the fact that you can control the ingredients is the fact that somebody makes it for you. So you have a supportive person in your life. I mean, I’m hopeful that the larger the interpretive AI models can help us unpack that. But when I think about it, I mean, if we’re able to achieve that, I think it’s gold. You know, I’m not sure if you’ve, you know, what you see in your space, or what’s sort of coming over your transom in terms of solutions, but very finding that that people are kind of, you know, exploring that space now, or is or is kind of new, the new fancy stuff kind of going in a different direction.
Jon Warner 15:42
Yeah, it’s a mixed picture, I think you make a good point in terms of particularly taking social determinants, and whether that pet data is even in the data set in the first place. And I think that’s one of the great challenges of AI, right? If we’re not collecting the data in the first place, then the ability to leverage it is obviously not there for us. So I think our first challenge is to make sure that we are envelope in the data that we think plays in some way, how far it plays, and to what extent it’s influential in terms of someone’s capacity to thrive, live healthily, be happy, etc, I think is something that, you know, we can determine down the road, but we must collect a complete dataset in the first place. And I think we can learn as we go. So I think we have to build our databases in such a way that we can, we can do that. No longer can we take collect, for example, episodic data, you know, maybe as blood pressure readings, for example, we should be looking at trends over time, what influences that, you know, in a wider context, some companies started doing so I think we’re seeing the rise of population health data companies, very often these are driven by AI solutions now. But again, I would say there’s public data that’s out there data that’s easily accessible. But there’s also other data, private data on concatenated data, that we need to start thinking about to enrich the models so that we can start looking for causal factors in either decline or in thriving on both sides of the equation. So we’re seeing, you know, some Healthy Beginnings and healthy shoots. i We need to give them time to grow.
Michael Hughes 17:16
Yeah, and I think what’s interesting, I think we were finding this, even the verge, I think, in the long term care insurance industry right now, Jon, you know, I think that we have a lot of incentives within that industry to address and manage risk, because just because of comparative cost of a homecare claim versus a nursing home claim, and they need to look at an entirely non clinical way, they just don’t have they’re not they don’t have the permissions for that data. So we’re seeing things like, you know, I want to give a shout out to mom to dad in New Zealand and their work on large consumer datasets and predictive models around those datasets. But coming back to what you’re seeing in the space right now, what gets you what gets you particularly excited? What have you seen, let’s say in the last 60 to 90 days, has really stuck in your head in terms of innovation, either as a one particular solution or category of solutions?
Jon Warner 18:10
Yeah, I’ll give you two. And I’m going to stay with categories rather than individual companies, I just came back from the very large health conference in Las Vegas, takes place every year with a giant hole and 15,000 companies in it, I was very encouraged to see that healthy aging was, you know, very much front and center in a way that perhaps it hasn’t been in big conferences like that in the past. And I think there were two trends that I saw that were really encouraging as it relates to older adults. I think one is I think we finally woke up to the fact that we should be in the wellness business, not in just a sick care business. And we know wellness is a much broader category. And I saw plenty of innovation going on in terms of getting ahead of the curve using that data set to go and say, do we really understand the human being in front of us? What is their capacity to thrive? What do they want in order to do so? And I’m very encouraged by some of the wellness companies and indeed how they’re going about the task, to incentivize people to pursue wellness behaviors. You know, I would challenge people to actually even think about when we’ve done much of that. In the past, perhaps our parents helped us to clean our teeth when we were young, out of sheer habit, so we could keep them, you know, sort of healthy throughout our lifetime. But really, generally speaking, we haven’t seen too much of that. So I think now we have gamification. We have nudge theory, to go and help on that wellness side of things. I’m very encouraged. I think the other one there was a whole pavilion at the conference, dealing with food as medicine with 13 or 14 companies in that space. And I think that’s exciting too, because I think we now have got data insights in terms of healthy diet. And of course what goes with that then is healthy exercise and other things as something we can engage in as habit in order to make us stronger as we age because there are obviously so To the merits of physiology decline, mental decline, but we can live a longer and, and more wellness for life if we’ve adopted those habits rather earlier. So I think that was encouraging. And perhaps I’ll mention just a brief third, I saw a couple of startups that were starting to think about wellness, and healthy aging in the school system. And I think that’s an inherently useful way to go. Why not teach people very early on what healthy habits look like in the first place, and what wellness looks like in the first place. So those habits can be inculcated, you know, before they fall ill and suddenly get told by a doctor, that you have to change your lifestyle when you’ve had decades of it being perhaps not going in the right direction. So those are just some of the areas that were encouraging to me.
Michael Hughes 20:49
That’s really, you know, it’s it. We just did a series on oral health and aging. And I think the adjoining the idea, the answer to some of the first two categories you’re talking about, I mean, you know, you can’t enjoy your food unless you happen to do oral health, and all kinds of work together. So, you know, more and more, I think, you know, dietary or meals, is it not just a clinical health plan, but just over as a healthy aging plant? Isn’t it just an enjoyable quality of life? It’s just, there’s so many things that surround that. I love your distinction between the wellness space and the health care system, which you call a sick care system? And it’s kind of correct, isn’t it? You know, I think that we’re all kind of waiting for the larger incentives in the healthcare system to return a word that manages care models that people will be interested in quality, and not quantity. Do you think, you know, I occasionally go to health and occasionally go to HIMS. And one of the things to be sure that we’ll talk about next year, we’re going to have interoperability, and next year, we’re going to have you know, we’re going to have complete managed care and note never seems to happen. But do you think we’re getting there?
Jon Warner 21:53
Yeah, I again, I’m sorry, for it sounded like a stock record. We’re a very slow recalcitrant industry, of course, as we know, so nothing moves particularly quickly. But I do again, I do see green shoots, in terms of changing that I think managed care, you know, value based care is making its way slowly across the landscape. I think people are experimenting with it more and more, I think there are some startup companies in particular that have gone down that path that are showing results and are proving to others, they can, you know, perhaps take on more risk, and push people down the wellness path, I think consumers are also voting with their own feet. I think if you think about sort of digital health and virtual care in general, I think people are adopting these solutions themselves, because they can see the efficacy of this. And I think that’s dragging there for, you know, some of the fee for service systems we have in healthcare in particular, to have to go with that trend. So again, I’m encouraged albeit, I would say I wish it would go a little bit quicker than I perceive it to.
Michael Hughes 22:50
Can I ask you a dangerous question?
Jon Warner 22:53
Michael Hughes 22:57
What segments of age tech do you think are overhyped? Or where do you think people are, you know, trying to address an issue in the aging space, and they’re just kind of not getting it?
Jon Warner 23:08
I’d like to spin that question around a little bit. I mean, obviously, there are plenty of scenarios in which there are lots of startups chasing the same issue. And I’ll give you an example of that. That would be something like fall prevention, for example. And I think it’s not that they’re unworthy. And I don’t worry too much about it. Except obviously, it’s quite hard for 20 startups to succeed where maybe a couple should probably ultimately be dominant in a particular space. But I do think it’s about solving for a real need and not wasting their time. So I worry less about sort of over indexing or too many people chasing the same dollars, the investment dollars, or, you know, the reimbursement dollars, for example, I worry more about that they haven’t spent enough time, really nailing the problem that people want to get solved the job to be done, as it were. And I see a lot of that in each Tech, I think we see idealism in each tech. And very often, you know, particularly if it’s a younger founder, you know, mom or dad or grandparent, for example, I’ve experienced a problem, and they think their solution will work for grandpa. But you know, and therefore work for everyone else. That isn’t always true. So again, we’re back to customer discovery. I think they’ve got to go and make sure they know the target population, what they’re struggling with, and does their solution really work. Because if it doesn’t have that style, it’s not going to make it. So I worry about that being wasteful. In a sector that needs more investment. We want to see more successes, we want to see more exits, we want to see companies grow to 100 million, you know, a billion dollars that so called unicorn. We haven’t seen enough of that in the tech space. I think as we see it, it’ll encourage more people to come into it. I think we’ll see more and more quality.
Michael Hughes 24:53
Yeah, and I got it. I got to thinking that it’s there, Jon, just because again, we’re just but just the overall trending. I mean, just seeing you know, everyone talks about seeing him round corners, but it just seems like the need is right there. I mean, if we just do basic math, about total addressable market today and total addressable market and the few in the future, you know, changing preferences and whatever, you know, notwithstanding, it just seems like there’s a lot out there. But you’re right. I think a lot of what drives innovation in the age tech space today is just this wonderful thing, this wonderful, purposeful act of going out and addressing something. We just had Max Samco on the show. And, you know, Max, and I think, yeah, I think one of the things he pointed out is that, you know, when he opens a decK, he really wants to see that somebody has a broad understanding of the problem, really falling in love with the problem. And and making the point that if you fall in love with the problem, then you’re not affixed to one particular solution, you know, you have that ability to work with, you know, and just, as you said, to work with a broad variety of voices to understand what the variations in the solution mean, or what the variations from are for people. Do you think it’s easy to kind of point out companies that do that? I mean, what do you do? Is it just a feeling you get when, you know, companies that kind of work in that way?
Jon Warner 26:09
Yeah, some of it’s a feeling there’s some intuition in the game. But I think there are some hard questions that I think you can ask of an early stage company. I mean, I’ve already alluded to one, I think, how much customer discovery have you done? You know, it’s, I don’t think it’s enough to go and say, I spoke to my family, and they all think this is a great solution. It’s not enough to talk to 10 people or 15, I think you’ve got to be out there at scale, talking to your target customer and getting feedback, including feedback that doesn’t corroborate your hypothesis. So that you’ve shown yourself to be agile. So I think that’s a big one, just in terms of what I look for. I also look for end to end thinking. And so when I’m solving, you know, particularly around a narrow problem that I perceive to be out there, have I thought, both upstream and downstream, in terms of what else I have to integrate with, or I will affect? Or indeed, what, you know, what part of the shared wallet, am I going to go and be taped by introducing this solution into this particular ecosystem? I mean, falls is a good example, since I used it, you know, there’s upstream of falls, how do we get into the prevention game, so people don’t fall in the first place, you know, which might have training and education in the mix, and so on, there’s the fall event itself, and then there’s post fall and the management there off. So that doesn’t recur. They’re quite different. And there are all sorts of solutions in that space, some of which need to integrate one another, not the least of which is data. For example, are we learning from our experience, or even capturing the data? So I think I tend to look for that end to end thinking and contextual thinking, as part of Aristotle chose well,
Michael Hughes 27:40
so I’m gonna give you the magic wish question, if that’s alright. If you had three wishes, for the impact of innovation in aging, what would they be?
Jon Warner 27:51
So I think they would somewhat anchor to things that I’ve alluded to, I think, number one, I’d love to see more entrepreneurs and even intrapreneurs in the space, which means we envelope some of the bigger companies out there that are perhaps, you know, trying to ideate and innovators well, because I think we need more people solving for this very large sector of people with actually a very large amount of even b2c discretionary cash on hand, who want better solutions, and not just for their health, by the way, they want it for their mobility, they want it for travel, they want it for entertainment, they want it to address social isolation and loneliness. So I think the more we’ve got that sheer volume level, those people in space, the better. And the more adept, they are around customer discovery, and around end to end solutions. I think so much the better. So I think that’s number one. I think that the population needs to understand the older adult community and all of its complexity and nuance. So that’s demographically, geographically, psychographically, socially, I think you need to really dig into that space and understand it. So if it were, for example, in community and senior living, and you’re going into a sniff environment, or you’re going into an Al environments, or memory care, for that matter, matter, really understanding that community of people, both in terms of who’s experiencing that world, and who’s caring for them in that world. And then third, and last is just building on what I’ve said earlier about the World of wellness side of the coin. I think I’d like to see people engaging more in early healthy habits, using data and data analytics. To help. Big example would be we’ve got very rich data, again, which AI is turbocharging now on genetic and genomic data. We know that’s quite predictive of a lot of things. It’s only one of the mixes, but nonetheless, it’s important. I think we’ve got the scope now to really understand so go back to that point you made about diet for example, I think genetically we now know some foods are not good for one person but might be good for an and vice versa. I think that’s very exciting in terms of where we might go in the future. So it’s using those data and data analytics to determine those sorts of outcomes.
Michael Hughes 30:09
Well, Jon, thank you so much for being such a terrific Kepta guest on the show, we really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opinions and knowledge with our listeners. And we always like to close up these podcasts by asking people, you know, three questions about their own perspectives on aging. Is it okay, very nice of you? Of course. Yeah. But first, can you share with our listeners where we can find you? Oh,
Jon Warner 30:31
Yes, I’m all over social media. So you’ll find me on Jon Warner without an H. So you’ll find me on LinkedIn. For example, I’m Jon C. Warner, on Twitter, for example, and people are more than happy to email me, I don’t know whether that’s going to be in the show notes. But I’m firstname.lastname@example.org. And more than happy to talk to people who are interested in the older adult space and aging and innovation in particular.
Michael Hughes 30:58
And I gotta say, if you’re looking if anybody out there is looking for a keynote speaker or panelist or anything like that, and you know, Jon, I just really enjoyed the work I’ve seen, you know, at the conference, and things like that with you. And so we’ll shut it optimal Jon@gmail.com. But you are getting two or three questions that are the first ones. So, Jon, when you think about how you’ve aged? What do you think has changed about you, or grown with you, that you really like about yourself,
Jon Warner 31:26
I think I increasingly see the world as I get older, and the challenges that were faced in a much bigger picture way than I did when I was younger. So it’s, I think, these days, I take more of an outside in rather than Inside Out View, rather than to treat every experience almost wholly within the narrow confines that present themselves at first. So I think that’s a general super power of older a lot of older adults, I’ve experienced it in myself. And what that means is sort of, you know, the second part of that, and what I like about, you know, kind of where I am today is I’m better at making connections between problems and possible solutions these days. So, and I think that’s part of having, you know, a curious mind or Keras approach to life. And obviously, I’ve been around longer to help, maybe that’s why I can see so many more connections, I’ve just lived a little bit longer. And that’s just become hugely enjoyable. I very much enjoy my portfolio life that I have, you know, advising, you know, 10s and 10s of companies every year about how to think about the old Dalit community and to show up successfully. So that’s perhaps the answer to what I like the most about getting older.
Michael Hughes 32:41
You know, I’m gonna quote again, the bumper sticker on my, my neighbor’s car, and she’s in her 80s. And she exemplifies this, that bumper sticker says, curiosity never retires. Right? Yep. I hope it doesn’t retire.
Jon Warner 32:55
F Kennedy said learning is life and life is learning. As I’ve always liked that quotation also.
Michael Hughes 33:00
That’s cool. All right. So now for question number two. What has surprised you most about you, as you’ve aged?
Jon Warner 33:07
Yeah, I, again, it’s hard not to put it into two things. I think one related thing is my thirst for learning and connection is strong today, and rowing. And I thought it might diminish. I feel like you know, that might go in the other direction at some point as I’ve got older, and it hasn’t, in fact, I, you know, it’s actually burgeoning. And I think that’s great. And then the surprise, perhaps on the other side of the fence is and it’ll be inevitable for a lot of people. I know my physical injury energy is not what it was when I was in my 20s, or 30s, or even 40s. So I think the way I think about that is I need to be conscious about that and do what I can to stay fit and strong and agile. I’m a very poor sleeper, for example, and I’m very conscious of it now that I need to quiet my mind and I need to get after all of that because I know it saps my energy and when I don’t have energy, it stops me from doing some things that I love and enjoy. So I think that the other thing that’s been a bit of a surprise is to see the fall off in energy, which has just come with later years.
Michael Hughes 34:09
Yeah, another one of our guests mentioned, I think it’s the Botswana language. But Sofia is a concept that as the body, if the body physically slows, then that gives your brain your mind, you know, it gives you more time for reflection and for mental energy and to kind of this is the time for me to be creative, or I’m butchering it. But they sort of see it as the physical capability declines. You know, the mental and creative ability can rise. That’s what I think it is. I think
Jon Warner 34:42
That’s right. And I mean, one example that for me is I you know, I sometimes have to force myself because my energy is low. Today’s a good example. I said this morning, I will go to the gym later in the day. I think the trick is not to blow that off because I know my physical and mental energy are a pathway to keeping me sort of bright and alert and curious. So I think it’s maintaining that kind of discipline.
Michael Hughes 35:02
Very good. Okay, last question for you. Is there someone that is there someone that you’ve met, or been in your life that has set a good example for you in aging someone that inspires you to age abundantly?
Jon Warner 35:14
Well, many people fit that bill. But my favorites, someone I’ve known for a long time, who is a woman who is 92 today, who continues to live life fully by reading, writing, traveling, and socializing. I just picked her up at the airport last night, having traveled all the way to Dallas to go and see her son. She takes on leadership roles in her community in church. She has such an inspiration that it’s hard not to nominate her as you know, someone that I think has really demonstrably lived a very full life, and continues to do so for a long time. May she continue.
Michael Hughes 36:04
That’s amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that. Well, Jon was a terrific guest, thank you so much for being on the art of aging. And most especially thank you to our listeners for listening to this episode of The Art of aging, which is our initiative starting from the Ruth Frost Parker center, or abundant agent, and which is also part of United Church homes. And we want to hear from you. What’s changed about you as he raised you and what has surprised you the most? How do you define abundant aging and who is your abundant aging hero? Just visit us at www DOT abundant aging podcast.com to share your ideas. You can also give us feedback on the subject we’ve been discussing today and ideas for new shows. Also check out the Ruth Ross Parker Center at UnitedChurchHomes.org/Parker-Center. And Jon reminds our listeners again where they can find you?
Jon Warner 36:54
Yeah, on LinkedIn on Twitter and email@example.com by email.
Michael Hughes 36:59
Terrific. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.