In a special double edition of Ageing International published this year, CSD’s Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, and Ada C. Mui, PhD, of the Columbia University School of Social Work discuss the productive engagement of older adults.
“The productive aging perspective recognizes the growing capacity of the older population and promotes the maximal involvement of older adults in paid and unpaid work – as employees, volunteers, and caregivers,” reports Morrow-Howell.
The recognition of older adults as critical resources contrasts former policies and programs that often referred to this population as burdensome. In these two issues of Ageing International, derived from a 2011 Productive Aging conference in Beijing, China, Morrow-Howell and Mui examine the efforts of gerontologists from around the world to shift this perspective. CSD initiated and organized the 2011 conference, in collaboration with many partners, including six McDonnell Academy universities.
The first issue discussed the topics of caregiving and working. Volume two focuses primarily on volunteering among the older population, “an activity that is increasingly being recognized as positive for older adults who volunteer as well as the organizations in which they serve.” The examination of three community-based models from Taiwan, Singapore and the United States provides evidence of existing programs and policies, as well as challenges, opportunities and areas in which greater knowledge is needed.
“We hope these articles advance knowledge and skills in research as well as program and policy development in across all countries,” says Morrow-Howell.