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Positive Ageing
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Our perceptions about ageing affect our health and quality of life as we grow old. Added longevity, new medical procedures, and assistive technologies have empowered positive aging. It’s important for us to see the potential and learn about the ways in which we can live better longer. We must combat pervasive ageism that focuses exclusively on needs and disabilities. Here, we show information about demographic trends and resources relevant to positive ageing – i.e, promoting and maintaining health and wellness. We include resources for combatting “ageism,” defined as the expression of negative expectations about ageing that act as a barrier to positive ageing.


What issues or topics relevant to Ageing would you like to discuss with others?   If you have an idea for a topic and some interest in either facilitating or joining a short-term Special Interest Group (SIG), please send an e-mail to Jan Hively at

Programs & Organizations

Access to Care for Cancer from Asbestos Exposure. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer caused from asbestos exposure. Due to the long latency period of mesothelioma, approximately 20-50 years, about 80% of those who are diagnosed with this terrible disease are seniors. The Mesothelioma Center works 1-on-1 with these individuals to help them find doctors, treatment centers and support groups. Visit the Mesothelioma Center’s website to learn more about the free care and support that this resource center provides to help seniors suffering from mesothelioma.

The EveryAGE Counts project that is taking on Australia’s ageist attitudes in all sectors and generations, with the goal of changing them to be positive. Led by the Benevolent Society, decision makers from more than 20 organizations are working together on the national campaign with the understanding that shifting attitudes across generations may take 10 or more years. Past research showed that seniors tend to couple ageing with decline and death. The reality is that there are a lot of older people who are living happy, fulfilled lives. The campaign that will be launched in October 2018 will present the reality rather than stereotypes to shift attitudes and policies about ageing across generations. 9/18

Gateway to Global Aging, USC Center for Global Aging Health and Policy. The Gateway to Global Aging is a platform for population survey data on aging around the world.  View their comprehensive technical resources, including surveys and charts.  3/17

Global Age Watch: The Right to HealthIt’s been 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established the right to health of all people everywhere and the World Health Organization was founded. Global Age Watch keeps track of shifts in the four components of the right to health: availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality. This summary of insights shows the barriers that often exclude older people from health systems and services, and the failure of health systems to keep pace with two global transitions: rapid ageing and expansion of non-communicable diseases affecting older adults particularly. Fortunately, more attention to the full life course is encouraged by the Sustainable Development Goals in the UN’s 2030 plan. The report offers specific guidance for changes needed to realize older people’s right to health. 5/19

Next Avenue: Transforming Life as We Age. Ten years ago, Public TV broadcasting stations around the United States were invited to join with Jim Pagliarini, the CEO of Twin Cities Public TV (TCPT), to create a TV show about “Transforming Life as We Age.” After trying out some alternative designs, Next was created as a news journal that is sent out weekly via e-mail to subscribers, with written articles illustrated by brief videos and photos. A free subscription is available at the Next 11/18

Old Schoolhouse 2.0
Tools, ideas and guides to combat Ageism
Watch these two brief videos produced by Leading Age to combat ageism.
Fighting Ageism Be Bold, Claim Old
Celebrate the Aging Journey

Ashton Applewhite has just launched Old Schoolhouse 2.0 to encompass the growing treasure chest of all things related to combating ageism. You will find all you need to join the movement and make a difference in your circles. Here are a few examples of the tools you can download:  How Olders Can Get Involved in Protecting and Promoting their Human Rights (Age Platform Europe); Facts sheet and nifty poster (Stigma-Free); a comprehensive Unit on Ageism, Resistance and Alliance (Campus; Guides for three role plays that explore how it feels to experience and challenge ageism (HelpAge International); a quiz that measures ageism (Project Implicit); a string of videos; and the latest books on ageism. This is the go-to website for materials that you can use in the fight against ageism.

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism is receiving broad international exposure since Ashton Applewhite sold the rights to a new MacMillan publishing division called Celadon Books. Author Ashton Applewhite is eager to schedule book signings. 9/18


SIforAGE, European Commission. The “Social Innovation on Active and Healthy Ageing for Sustainable Economic Growth” project initiated in 2015 has engaged multi-sector users and stakeholders in mutual investigation of current and emerging social needs and expectations in an ageing society.  The purpose was to explore how the EU can improve its future research and economic performance by co-designing new technologies, products and services in line with the needs and values of users in an aging society that encourages the active participation of all generations.

For reports on multi–generational workshops plus good practice examples of older persons’ participation in society, plus comprehensive recommendations for future policies, go to  The Policy Recommendations Guide is – available in 10 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.  3/17


AARP’s 2018 Aging Readiness and Competitiveness Report. This report concentrates on small innovative economies of 10 countries, each with fewer than 25 million people: Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Taiwan. Five best practices common to all were: policies were person oriented, bottom up, holistic, interdisciplinary and evidence-based.  12/18

 The Meaning and Challenge of “Active Aging”. All of us have seen and heard the term, “Active Aging,” but few of us know where the term came from and what, exactly, it means. Now we can see the history, varied meanings, and potential policies derived from the term, “Active Aging” in this brilliant, 32-slide powerpoint presentation from Donghee Han, director of RISBLE, the Research Institute of Science for the Better Living of the Elderly founded in Korea in 1997. Developed for a meeting of ACAP, the Active Aging Consortium of Asia Pacific, Dr. Han’s presentation takes us from 1970’s forecasts of rapid global aging to the present. She highlights the 2002 World Assembly on Aging that called for a supportive environment for advancing health and wellbeing into old age. The World Health Organization (WHO) sought then to advance “Active Aging”, and later, “Age Friendly Communities” to optimize opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. The European Union’s “Year of Active Aging” Laid the foundation for 2014’s Active Aging Index, a tool to measure the untapped potential of older people across countries. It measures the level to which older people live independent lives, and participate in paid employment and social activities. In this presentation titled “Asia Next: the New Challenge ‘Active Aging”, Dr. Han shows that 62% of older adults will be located in Asia. She suggests that Active Aging is the new paradigm for Gerontology in the era of the 100 year life. “It’s important for us to make active ageing inclusive for all, and even for the younger ones.” She would like to see every country develop national Active Aging policies. Dr. Han states the need for establishing an International Training Center for Active Aging, in partnership with ACAP and other partners (including the Pass It On Network).  3/19

Active 80 PLUS: Handbook for Trainers. General perceptions of very old age are mainly associated with limitations, loss, and caregiving issues. Actually, the 10-year cohort of older adults who are age 85 to 95 is the most rapidly growing age group in developed countries. As stated by Marie Françoise Fuchs, founder of Old’Up in Paris, “We are the first members of a new generation who can show its capacity for community leadership. Active 80+, a European Union project, published a Handbook for Trainers empowering professionals and volunteers to coach very old people in developing and realizing their own ideas of learning and active citizenship. The free online handbook describes the specific training process that includes three phases: In-class training (two half-days), Individualized Project Implementation (3 to 4 months), and a Follow-up Meeting (2 to 4 hours) where participants reflect upon their experiences and discuss follow-up activities. It is the fruit of cross-country collaboration between The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, and Austria. 1/19

“Ageism: A Pervasive and Insidious Health Threat.”  The World Health Organization (WHO) is sponsoring four research teams around the world to study the causes and health consequences of ageism, how to combat it, and how best to measure it. The results will appear in a United Nations report to be published within a year. A preliminary report  published in the NY Times, April 26, 2019 by Paula Span entitled “Ageism: A Pervasive and Insidious Health Threat” shows that intergenerational education programs can shift attitudes and reduce ageism. 5/19
The Agewell Foundation Reports on India.  Do older women in your area do better than their sisters in New Delhi? The Agewell Foundation published its latest study on March 8, 2018 on Human Rights and the Status of Older Women in New Delhi to coincide with International Women’s Day. The 25th in a remarkable series of in-depth studies on ageing in India, the report highlights the plight of older women in Delhi. The conclusion states, “Older women have always been marginalized from the mainstream of the society.” Living as second class citizens for centuries, most of them illiterate, they have not yet enjoyed privileges and potential offered by development. 4/18
Anti-Ageism: The Next Big Social Movement. In his most recent issue of Tikkun, an interfaith newsletter, Rabbi Michael Lerner has presented a great review by Ruth Ray Karpen of Margaret Morgenroth Gullette’s new book, Ending Ageism or How Not to Shoot Old People. “Of all the prejudices that divide us, ageism is still the most universally shared and tolerated.” As an independent scholar famous for an earlier book titled Aged by Culture, Gullette argues that our feelings about ageing are defined by medicine, economics, politics, law, media, the arts, language, and the stories we tell ourselves about getting old. Whether active or passive, aggressions against old people “tear at the social fabric and undermine the wellbeing of all people, young and old.” A grassroots anti-ageism movement will start when we get in touch with our “age-wise anger” and speak up.

Attitudes toward Ageing:  A 30-country survey shows that 1 in 3 people look forward to getting old. How do adults around the world think about ageing? This is the question a recent survey by Ipsos and the UK-based Centre for Ageing Better set out to answer. The results drawn from 20,000 people ages 16-64 from 30 countries showed marked differences in attitudes toward ageing. The most positive attitudes came from India and Turkey and the most negative from the USA. Globally, the upside of ageing included having more time to spend with friends and family (36%), for hobbies and leisure (32%), for holidays and travel (26%) and giving up work (26%). Downsides included worrying about not having enough money (3 in 10), losing mobility and losing memory. 4/19

Blue Zone Lessons – from People Around the World who have Lived the Longest. How do you score on these 9 healthy lifestyle habits of centenarians that Dan Buettner identified around the world?  In his research report titled ‘Blue Zones’, Buettner said:  “I saw how the environment dictated the lifestyle of the world’s healthiest people. They weren’t trying to be healthy. Their lifestyles helped them to: Move naturally, Know their purpose, Slow down, Apply the 80% rule, Plant slant, Wine at 5 pm, Family First, Belong, Right Tribe.”   3/18
Brain Health:  You injure your brain when you don’t sleep enough, eat too much and don’t exercise. Margaret Young, CEO of Boundaryless Aging and Pass It On Network’s liaison in Vancouver, tracked the latest information available on Ageing and Brain Health Health at a two-day conference in Canada and shares her insights. 4/19
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 2017.  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 rethink 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-generation teams tend to boost the productivity of those around them.” 9/17

The FrameWorks Institute Toolkits. The way society currently thinks about aging creates obstacles to productive practices and policies. How can the field of ageing help build a better understanding of ageing, ageism, and what it will take to create a more age-integrated society?  To answer this question, a group of leading national aging organizations and funders in the USA commissioned the FrameWorks Institute to conduct an empirical investigation into the communications aspects of aging issues. In Gaining Momentum:  A Communications Toolkit (2017), you will find this original research as well as a variety of materials to help you apply it.   This collection of research and resources equips advocates in the aging services sector to change perceptions about what it means for the society to get older.  9/17

Healthy Life Expectancy – Closing a 20 Year Gap. What if our first goal as seniors were to keep ourselves well above the threshold for dependency? In fact, this is the new goal set by WHO and Europe’s Age Platform to increase “healthy life expectancy”. It is detailed in the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Aging and Health (GSAP). The major public health goal is “to live not just long but also healthy lives” and it suggests the use of “healthy life expectancy” as the measure of health care success. The current gap between life expectancy (80) and life expectancy in good health (62) is close to 20 years. AGE Platform has been campaigning for this goal since the creation of the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing in 2011. The World Health Organization (WHO) will now use “healthy life expectancy” as the primary measure of success for its focus on developing age-friendly environments for healthy ageing lifelong. 3/18

HelpAge InternationalFreedom to decide for ourselves. Read what older people say about their rights to autonomy and independence, long-term care and palliative care.  5/18

HelpAge International – Living, not just surviving. What older people say about their rights to social protection and social security, and to education, training, lifelong learning and capacity building. Downloads available in English, Russia, Arabic and Spanish. 4/19



Human Rights Advocacy. Take a look at HelpAge International’s new “FAIR” guidelines for four steps aimed at effective advocacy for a UN convention on the rights of older people. You can download the guidelines in English, Arabic, Spanish and Russian. 5/19


In Our Own Words. Read what older people say about their experience with discrimination and human rights in older age in this consultation report developed by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP). 9/18
Italians Say 75 Not 65. Dr Francesca Ghillani, a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, writes about the public shift in Italy identifying 75 rather than 65 as the age when people are qualified as “elderly.” She says that newspapers and TV news programs welcome this major adjustment. This attention, she said, prompted a question: “What is the significance of a number in defining a person’s life?” Dr Ghillani has shared her thoughts in her blog, Age: Not Just a Number. 2/19
OECD Better Life Index – A Fun, Interactive Way to See How Well You are Doing. The Better Life Index is designed to let you visualize and compare 11 key factors – education, housing, environment, income, jobs, community, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety, work-life balance– that contribute to wellbeing in 35 OECD countries. It’s an interactive tool that allows you to see how countries are performing, based on the importance you give to each of 11 factors that make for a better life. See the Executive Summary that is available in several languages. 3/18
Older Persons’ Self-Advocacy Handbook. AGE PLATFORM has produced an excellent online handbook to support the involvement of older persons in all processes that affect their human rights at the United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union levels. 6/18

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: How Perceptions of Ageing Affect our Later Years. Learn how perceptions of ageing can have serious affects on health, behaviors, and even longevity. Download this useful research summary from Mather Lifeways Institute on Aging and discover how these perceptions can be changed to promote more positive perceptions of ageing. 6/18

The Science of Getting Old – Infographic. Here’s an infographic (includes an embed code) that you may want to use on your website. It graphically explains why we age, why our hair turns gray, why our skin wrinkles, why we forget, why we get shorter, and why we can’t see as well as we get older. 2/18

Silver Tsunami? Let’s follow the suggestion made by Dr. Bill Thomas in his recent blog “Changing Aging” and discourage use of the term, “silver tsunami.” He and his co-author, Jeanette Leardi, titled the blog, “Turning the Tide on the Silver Tsunami.” They say that there are two problems with equating the increasing growth of an older population with the effect of a tsunami – one geological and the other gerontological. A tsunami is generated by sudden displacements, which doesn’t apply to the gradual absorption of Boomers into elderhood, or to the gradual extension of longevity. The gerontological problem is seeing aging exclusively in terms of deficits – physical and cognitive decline. That does not reflect the productivity and other huge assets that older adults bring to all aspects of life.“Dr. Bill,” as he’s called, suggests that we speak instead about a “silver reservoir” that stores essential elements of life for the purpose of supplying them to the community. The water in a reservoir comes from great distances and is accumulated over time. “Let’s turn a destructive tidal wave into an exhilarating wave of the future all generations can ride.” Sounds good to us!! 3/19

The Wisdom of Age: Perceptions and Insights from One Generation to Another by Jeff Rubin
Jeff, a community leader from Berea, Kentucky, and member of the Pass It On Network, says, “My journey of discovery this past year has been an eye-opening experience culminating in the launch of Wisdom of Age  – Perceptions and insights from one generation to another”. The book, he says, reaffirms a long-held belief that we each have something to share and something to learn from one another, regardless of our age or ability. Jeff has collected words of inspiration, motivation and comfort from people across the age spectrum, including sage advice from precocious five-year olds, gentle affirmation from people passing their 100th birthdays, and extraordinary wisdom from everyone in-between. He invites you to join the conversation on ways we can foster the breakdown of barriers between young and old at 1/18
World Health Organization – Infographic – A quick reminder: This infographic from the World Health Organization gives a quick overview of the essentials for staying healthy and independent. 5/18


“What’s one thing that is important to your sense of well-being?” asks Jan Hively. Here is a four-minute video recording from 18 Pass It On Network Liaisons who responded, hear what they had to say. Think about how YOU would respond to that question, which is central to your quality of life. If you would like to add your response to those that we have, just identify your name, age, years of life experience, and tell us what’s important for YOUR well-being. Send the e-mail to: 11/18
African Research on Aging
Four Arcs toward Transformation. Although 78% of the people in Africa are under the age of 35, its population of older adults is expected to quadruple between now and 2050, thanks to increased longevity and reduction in births. At the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Isabella Aboderin is connecting socio-economic data about ageing in Africa with development agendas across the continent. 11/17
Ashton Applewhite
Let’s end ageism.
Ageism is a prejudice that pits us against our future selves — and each other. In this video of her TED talk, Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. “Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured,” she says. “It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.” 4/17
6’36 – Redesigning Long Life

Stanford Center on Longevity
Laura CarstensenLaura Carstensen: TED Talk
Older People are Happier. In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! Psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world. 12/11
rodney-brooks-iconRodney Brooks: TED Talk
Why We Will Rely on Robots. Scaremongers play on the idea that robots will simply replace people on the job. In fact, they can become our essential collaborators, freeing us up to spend time on less mundane and mechanical challenges. Rodney Brooks points out how valuable this could be as the number of working-age adults drops and the number of retirees swells. 2/13
what-is-an-elder-iconJan Hively, PhD
What Is An Elder
What is Old?
What age do you consider to be old? AARP posed that question to Millennials and asked them to show what “old” looks like. Then they were introduced to some real “old” people. Watch what happens when folks let go of their outdated beliefs and embrace the idea that ageing is not about decline.  It’s about growth! Learn more about AARP’s efforts to Disrupt Aging 11/17
The Water Lily EffectDr. Edgar Mitchell’s “Sustainability”
The Water Lily Effect. Dr. Edgar Mitchell, 1930-2016, Apollo 14 Astronaut, Founder of The Institute of Noetic Sciences ( and chairman Emeritus of Eternea, Inc. ( featured in an important video on the sustainability issues facing humanity and all life on earth. 2/16
SIforAGE International Conference 2016
View all videos of the three day event organized by the SIforAGE Project. 11/16