With the population’s aging, community engagement has become a critical factor in achieving healthy aging. Low levels of community engagement have been associated with higher death rates and social isolation.
In line with these themes, the active aging approach of the World Health Organization and the age-friendly community strategy are both participatory and empowering. They blend ‘top-down’ policy initiatives to encourage and facilitate community engagement and employment with ‘bottom-up’ participation of older adults in developing their activities.
Furthermore, the process involves older adults and all levels of government, and essential players from all aspects of society.
Today’s episode of This Is Getting Old features Part 3: Civic Engagement and Employment of the 10-part AARP/ Age-Friendly Social Innovation Challenge.
Please tune in to learn more about civic engagement and employment programs specifically designed for older adults and how these programs can help us move towards an age-friendly world.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ Civic Engagement As A Concept
Civic engagement includes:
- Connecting with others in your community.
- Serving and giving
- Any activities such as volunteering
- Charitable giving
- Voting in presidential and local elections
Given we also talk about employment, if you haven’t heard of the Age-Friendly Employer program, you can check out episode 58 with Tim Driver, Founder, and CEO of Age-Friendly Venture. Also, check out related This Is Getting Old episodes 90 and 91 with Larry Samuel.
✔️ Joseph’s Situation
Joseph lived in Brooklyn with his daughter and school-age grandchildren. He got in trouble because he ordered magazines from the phone—which is a scam— and his daughter told him he couldn’t use the phone anymore. Joseph is 79, retired, and wants something to do. He feels like he’s home alone in the daytime and doesn’t know how to proceed.
✔️ The Problem?
Many programs to connect people to civic engagement and employment opportunities already exist. However, many people—like Joseph— don’t know about them.
✔️ The Challenge?—Reaching Target Audiences With Information About Civic And Employment Opportunities.
There are a lot of resources, and the challenge is reaching the target audiences, which includes older adults and their families. After all, everyone is aging, so they’ll need information about civic engagement and employment at some point.
✔️ Innovative Solution On The National Level
Promote a nationwide initiative, creating awareness that older adults’ civic engagement and employment opportunities exist and are essential to their well-being.
✔️ Community Ambassador Programs
Local-level ambassador programs, giving a personal connection to the opportunities shared in these outlets, local volunteers receive training to work in their neighborhoods, connecting them personally with people to find them the right opportunities for them.
You may also have another idea for a solution – or know of a program that would help older adults and their families facing similar challenges. Please add your comments below.
We’d love to hear from you!
If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question.
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (‘96) and Master of Science in Nursing (‘00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I truly enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home and office visits) then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer.
I obtained my PhD in Nursing and a post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing (2011) ) and then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the faculty at George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor where I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health and Humanities.
Find out more about her work HERE.