Growing Prominence of Older Americans Spurs Civic Engagement Debate
February 22, 2007
At a time when many Americans are alleged to have become increasingly isolated and apathetic, a "new" senior population is emerging, one marked by better health, vast experience, and expressing widespread distain toward joining "a reserve army of the leisured," according to the latest issue of the Public Policy & Aging Report (PP&AR), a quarterly publication of the National Academy on an Aging Society. Rather than being identified with the "deficit model of aging," which centers on needs and benefits, the recent civic engagement movement sees older adults as a population fully capable of being productive and contributing to American life.
Under the title "Civic Engagement and the New Promise of Old Age," this installment of the PP&AR explores the promise of senior participation while also acknowledging its potential pitfalls.
Sabrina Reilly from the National Council on Aging, together with excerpts from a new Senior Service America report, provides front-line perspectives on how older Americans are meaningfully engaging in community activities. Andy Achenbaum places civic engagement in an historical context, discussing how organizations like Civic Ventures can and do build on those historical concerns. Robert Hudson contributes a political analysis, noting how commentators on the right and left view elders' civic engagement and the larger purposes it might serve. Finally, Martha Holstein outlines the collective fate that might befall older people - women in particular - should the civic engagement mantra redefine the social and economic place of elders in American life.
This issue of the PP&AR can be purchased at: http://www.agingsociety.org/.
The National Academy on an Aging Society is the policy institute of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the oldest and largest national multidisciplinary scientific organization devoted to the advancement of gerontological research. Founded in 1945, GSA's membership includes some 5,000+ researchers, educators, practitioners, and other professionals in the field of aging. The Society's principal missions are to promote research and education in aging and to encourage the dissemination of research results to other scientists, decision makers, and practitioners.
Contact: Greg O'Neill
202-842-1275, ext. 118
Gerontological Society of America
Research, Education, Practice
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