As birth rates have declined and life expectancy has grown, older adults have come to represent increasingly large shares of populations around the globe. These trends heighten the importance of productive aging—the continued engagement of older adults in employment, education, caregiving, volunteering, and other aspects of society. This study asserts that a key to engaging older Americans is ensuring that there is institutional capacity for such engagement. The authors contend that, by altering attitudes, policy, and programs, the United States can foster the capacity of businesses, nonprofits, and other institutions to engage older adults.
This article evolved from a paper originally presented at an international conference on productive aging, research, and policy. The 2009 conference was organized by Shandong University and the Center for Social Development. Manuscripts were subsequently developed for publication in this special issue of the China Journal of Social Work as well as in Productive Engagement in Later Life: A Global Perspective, which appeared in English and Chinese.
Parallel publication: Morrow-Howell, N., & Greenfield, J. C. (2012). Productive engagement of older Americans. In N. Morrow-Howell & A. C. Mui (Eds.), Productive engagement in later life: A global perspective (pp. 47–58). New York, NY: Routledge.
Project: Productive Aging in China