From time to time news comes of people in their 80's and 90's and even older doing seemingly the impossible at their ages of graduating from ballet school, parachuting, mountaineering and racing. These individuals are exceptional because usually older people stay indoors. Dmitriy Yampolskiy believes it is the lack of organized opportunities that keeps them in and his new project is designed to do something about it. Our columnist, businessman, chairman of the "Druzya" and "Vera" foundations Dmitriy Yampolskiy tells about his project opening new possibilities for those who need it but doesn't have them yet.

Visiting Scotland, I decided to go gliding. Although fully trained, the rules of gliding prevent one simply going to a gliding club and taking off. An instructor is required and my Scottish flight was with an eighty year old woman.
Her story was that until retirement she was a biochemist working in a laboratory. At first she thought her active life was over with a fu-ture of being with grandchildren and gardening ahead. Until one day, enchanted with the grace of gliders, she decided to learn to fly. Twenty years on my instruc-tor continues to teach and she's proof that there are no fixed lines on when active life should stop.

No one can know how much time is left. Russian life expectancy has increased, with the average of seventy one still well behind Japan's similar population size, but the trend is up. Medicine's improvements alone do not prolong life but do make the older more active. Despite this not much is made for people of this age in comparison to other age cohorts: children, young and mature people world created a lot of products and services for them. For older people there are nursing houses, lodging houses, sanatoriums, golf resorts but the need in developing of the industry of comfortable life for aged people is tremendous. What I'm worried about is the fact that starting from a certain age, people are excluded from normal social life. It's not easy for them to start studying and the skills and experience they accumulated are treated as if redundant.

My new project has as its objective the breaking down of barriers between older people and younger to provide them with the possibility to live a full and interesting life and be wanted. I'm creating a company now which will be focused on work with aged people from 70 and higher and it will develop products to enrich their lives. One of the most important of them in my opinion is a possibility to study and teach. If I were to choose where to settle a living complex for aged people I'd build it in the university campus, so that they lived not in the closed residence but among people of different age. I consider the possibility to study, teach, and be wanted to be of paramount importance.

There's a wonderful project in Great Britain: An Indian businessman made an online advertisement which makes it possible for Indian children to learn English by Skype communicating with British retirees. This became extremely popular not only among children eager to learn English but among the aged people too they found themselves in the project, they met friends. A new sense came into their lives they woke up in the morning knowing that they would meet their pupils, children from India, they knew how children live, they showed interest to their lives and what is the most important they felt useful. Another British model is the charity and commercial organization Saga with its insurance, holidays and onNursing Homes are important and needed of course but I'd give them some other name. In my point of view their format should be maximum up to date, dynamic, the ideology should be changed and I think it should be similar to Faith's ideology of helping hospic-es: live for the rest of life. People in places like this should go on living not finish living. There should be no wall between the healthy physical active person and retired person. They are us, we are them. Until ten years ago when I started to do charity work I never gave any of this much thought. Now I see how much needs doing. The young should never forget that in their turn they too will be old. I wish people to have equal possibilities no matter what their age, financial situation or ability to move without the wheelchair is. And we should pass a long way to make society accept every member as its equal part: healthy or not, young or aged. Because they are us and we are them.line shopping of age related products, for example hand rails for stairs and bathrooms.

Breaking down of barriers between older people and younger to provide them with the possibility to live a full and interesting life and be wanted
— Dmitriy Yampolskiy