Whether paid or unpaid, meaningful work builds on personal strengths, offers a sense of purpose, and produces benefits for both the doer and the community. Throughout the world, however, ageism in the workplace is pervasive, even while the increasing threat of financial insecurity in old age is creating anxiety. Here, you will find information about multiple routes to purposeful aging that generates good work and livelihood.
Work is much more than employment. It is paid or unpaid productivity that benefits you or your family, your employer or your community. It includes parenting and grandparenting, caring for yourself and others, creative expression, and teaching/learning. Purposeful work contributes to healthy aging throughout life. At Pass It On, we talk about the benefit of “Meaningful work, paid or unpaid, through the last breath.” And we talk about LifeWork – cultivating and honing your skills and interests through a lifelong pattern of meaningful work. Here we show resources that expand work opportunities and LifeWork planning.
Economic security sufficient to cover basic needs is basic to positive aging. Policies and programs to support both retirement and older workers seeking a livelihood are basic to economic security.
What issues or topics relevant to Work and/or Economic Security would you like to discuss with others? The first Special Interest Group (SIG) for Work and Economic Security is focused on the topic of Entrepreneurship. Initiated October 2017 and led by Lynda Smith from South Africa and Julia Randell-Khan from London (now on a fellowship at Stanford University), the group is now closed to new members while it develops its sub-topics and meeting protocol. We will post an announcement when membership reopens.
In the meantime, if you are interested in joining the Entrepreneurship SIG, or if you have a topic for another Special Interest Group (SIG) in the Work and Economic Security Pathway, please send an e-mail to Jan Hively at email@example.com.
If you are interested in adapting one of the below programs for use in your location, complete the online Program User Form.
If you have information about an innovative program, that you want to share, complete the online Program Submission Form or download and scan/email or mail to Moira if you prefer. (mailing information included at bottom of printed form)
COVE offers a process and a set of tools to help individuals align their interests and skills to the needs of mission-driven organizations and find meaningful and satisfying work opportunities.
Provides a platform for meaningful exchange of knowledge, experience and wisdom between business elders (Elders) and entrepreneurial spirited women (Berries).
Informal network of organizations and individuals advancing work with a social impact for people in midlife and beyond. See Elzora’s story.
Workspaces where men (and women) make and mend things while meeting and sharing their experience, skills, and information.
Peer network dedicated to helping people during midlife (ages 45 – 70+) to navigate work/life transitions.
Trained peer mentors who help people who are trying to find meaningful work and community connections in the second half of life.
Projects & Organizations
Encore Talent Works. The Encore Talent Works Toolkit is a dynamic online resource that makes the value of encore talent plain. The toolkit helps nonprofit leaders, hiring managers and volunteer managers recognize and harness the power of encore talent, with practical how-to information, expert resources and success stories. Created by Encore.org and Encore Network leaders throughout the U.S., the toolkit represents a collaboration grounded in experience and best practices, offering insights on the unique attributes of encore-stage adults, as well as sections about transferable skills, getting started, and recruiting skilled volunteers and employees. An interactive, searchable map of U.S. encore programs complements the toolkit, connecting organizations with local resources and helping encore-seekers find opportunities.
Questions? Comments? Contact Betsy Werley, the Project Leader and Director of Network Expansion.
The Power of Purposeful Aging. With people living longer than ever and the world’s older population expanding at an unprecedented rate, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging convened the Purposeful Aging Summit in Los Angeles in 2016. Thought leaders from public policy, business, academia, philanthropy, and media gathered to discuss reframing perceptions of aging in the 21st century. The participants acknowledged the importance of overcoming deeply ingrained bias, and the need to shed light on the compelling but little-understood benefits of purposeful aging. They recognized the upside of changing the culture of aging for individuals old and young. This conference report summarizes the themes, findings, and vision of the Purposeful Aging Summit. 12/16
Co-founders Thibault Bastin and Barthemly Gas, both young civil engineers have decided to build human bridges and their mission in life is to tap into the vast reserve of senior skills and enrich the lives of both the skilled seniors and younger learners. The association has two categories of members seniors and young people keen to acquire a wide range of skills from handwork and carpentry to computer skills and languages. This initiative earned a prize from the City of Paris.
Wisdom Workers. A tourism company in New Zealand called Real Journeys has faced the frustration of younger employees wanting to progress and concerns about retirement procedures for launch masters by developing a certificate training course with a standardized curriculum taught by ageing skippers. The program integrates the master skippers with the younger generation workers on the job so they can informally mentor the next generation and share what they know. Here is the award-winning model for Wisdom Workers. 10/17
Guide to Managing a Volunteer Workforce. This March 2016 Harvard Business Review article by Joe McCannon and Hahrie Han included this sage advice:
Make their dreams come true ~ Create fellowship~ Build easy on-ramps ~ Create rhythms that sustain excitement ~ Offer personal benchmarks ~ Make the experience fun, affirmative and fear-free.
Read the entire article here. 4/16
The Economics of Longevity. A special report on The Economics of Longevity, titled “The New Old,” was published by The Economist in London in July. With contributions from over 30 experts in ageing, it’s clear that the impacts of the Global Ageing trend are as great as those from climate change or new technologies. “Making longer lives financially more viable requires a fundamental rethinking of life trajectories.” “Given the right input from governments, employers and individuals, it should be possible to stretch the increasingly productive in-betweener stage and compress the dependent period at the very end of life.” The report reinforces our appreciation of intergenerational programs with research that shows that, “Older people in multi-generational teams tend to boost the productivity of those around them.” 10/17
The Longevity Economy: Generating Economic Growth and New Opportunities for Business. Although focused on the economic impact of the growing population over 50 in the U.S., this report published in 2013 by Oxford Economics for AARP is useful for any country with a rapidly aging population. It shows how the shifting spending patterns of older adults provide employment for nearly 100 million Americans, boost charitable giving, and contribute over half of tax revenue. It also quantifies the paid and unpaid productivity of people who are working and volunteering longer. http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/home-and-family/personal-technology/2013-10/Longevity-Economy-Generating-New-Growth-AARP.pdf
Purposeful Aging – Readings and Resources. The Milken Institute compiled this valuable library of more than 100 books and resources to go hand in hand with the Power of Purposeful Aging conference report cited earlier. In its preface, Paul H. Irving, Chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, says: “In 1944, it was time to transform the global economy. Now, the moment has arrived for another grand challenge: to re-imagine the future of aging and change the public narrative about the roles and value of older adults.” 12/16
BBC News UK – Older Workers are ‘Untapped Resource’. In June 2014, BBC News in the United Kingdom (UK) featured a segment in which they discussed how the UK, like many other countries around the world, are transitioning into a period where opportunities to retire early with a substantial pension are a relic of the past. The segment discussed the phenomenon of people working into later life and specifically mentioned the fact that retaining experienced and productive workers could potentially be beneficial for individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole.
Marc Freedman at the Avenidas Annual Breakfast
How John Gardner influenced Encore
Tells of his inspiration from John Gardner
Nora Hannah: Encore Solutions
Social Change at a very Organic Level
Creating societal change by putting your skills to work in socially meaningful ways.
Marc Freedman: Shaping the Future of the Encore Movement
Celebrating 5 purpose prize winners
Creative work at later juncture in life.
Betsy Werley: Encore Women
We want to make ourselves a force in the wider world
The Transition Network. Her story leaving corporate and into non profit.
Marc Freedman: An Encore for Baby Boomers
Marc Freedman, CEO of Civic Ventures teaches us retirement …
Dick Goldberg: Encore Opportunities
An abundance of skills, an abundance of commitment
Skills and resources elders can bring to organizations.
An hour-long panel discussion about the “business of ageing” convened by the Milken Institute in London in 2016, including Sarjbit Nahal, Bank of America; Jonathan Collie, author of “The Age of No Retirement;” Lynda Gratton, London Business School, co-author of “The 100-Year Life”; Baroness Sally Greengross, director of the International Longevity Center; and Jodi Holtzman, AARP.