Productive Aging: Active Engagement in Older Adulthood

The world is in the midst of a demographic revolution. Globally, those age 60 and above will comprise 13.6 percent of the population by 2020 and 22.1 percent of the population by 2050. In the United States, these numbers will be even higher. As the aging population grows in the U.S. and around the world, it will be necessary to develop policy and programs that support active engagement in later life.

In its work on productive aging, CSD seeks to advance national and international research and policy innovation to actively involve older adults in employment, volunteering, caregiving, education and other productive activities. The imperative to change policies and expectations about aging in America is based on evidence that ongoing productive engagement produces positive outcomes for older adults, their families, communities and society as a whole.

CSD scholars have produced some of the seminal work in the productive aging field, introducing a conceptual framework for a research agenda on the topic in Productive Aging: Concepts and Challenges (2001) and contributing chapters to Successful Aging through the Life Span (2004), and Perspectives on Productive Aging: Social Work with the New Aged (2005).

"Advance long and productive lives" is one of the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work. Read the policy action statement that targets expansion of paid family and medical leave.