Juan Basurto Romero
Fellow Since 1998
Club de Aspirantes a Centenarios Felices (CACEFE)
This profile was prepared when Juan Basurto Romero was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Armed with an indomitable spirit and a sheaf of available projects, Juan Basurto is obliging Mexicans of all ages to reconceptualize the process of growing old. He launched an organization called the Club for those who Aspire to be Happy Centenarians to mobilize retired persons and convince them that the longer they utilize their mental and physical faculties, the less likely they will be to slip into dementia, boredom, or despair. At the same time Juan is reaching out to the broader society through the media, to insist that a new demographic momentum is carrying Mexico into an era in which it will depend on the productive contributions of its senior citizens if it is to remain competitive in the world economy. Juan also seeks to create cooperative businesses for the elderly, taking advantage of existing but underused government facilities and infrastructure, and using them as a base for the development of autonomous residential complexes for older people. His goal is to create an environment of meaningful activity and dignity for senior citizens, to turn a portion of the funding that is now spent on their care into a productive investment, and thereby to constitute a model that can be applied across Mexico and in other countries that face the same challenge of how to accommodate an aging population.