There’s no better way to gain personal support for positive aging than in a support group of people who are sharing their experience over time. And on a broader platform, there’s no better place to live than in communities that deliberately develop infrastructure that empowers the engagement, mobility, and security of older residents.
As older adults in a rapidly ageing world with shrinking public resources, we must: a) organize mutual support to help ourselves and each other, and b) develop communities that support positive aging lifelong.
Here, you will find innovative guides to form mutual support groups and build on community assets.
What issues or topics relevant to Individual and Community Support 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 email@example.com .
Programs & Organizations
The first member of the WHO Age-Friendly Cities Network from Russia among 33 other cities of the world.
Generations come together in local communities by linking children and youth with older adults to build friendships and work together toward community improvement.
Members of each group provide friendly, neighborly assistance to each other, to preserve and promote healthy independence.
CARE = Caregiving and Aging Reimagined across Europe. Data shows that by 2060, the need for long-term care among Europe’s 80+ population alone is expected to triple. “We are facing a 21st century demographic reality for which we are not yet prepared,” says Michael W. Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging that has partnered with the EU’s European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Health and a consortium of partners. Together they have launched the innovative public-private CARE initiative, to share best practices and improve the quality of elder caregiving in Europe. 7/16
Generations United. An umbrella network based in Washington DC for organizations engaged in intergenerational programs. In 2016, Generations United produced two stellar resources that show the value of intergenerational communities and guide community efforts to build connections between generations. 3/17
Open discussion groups are organized on subjects vital to older adults. The latest in Paris is the “Octo +” group – where +80 year-olds share their experiences.
Helping people use the circle process in creating the environment for sustaining conversation about proactive, productive aging.
Career women making the transition to retirement meet regularly in a small group to discuss their priorities and passions and intentionally design a future that is as gratifying as their prior careers.
Singapore’s New Age-Friendly Town. Singapore has more comprehensive centralized planning than any other nation, so it is particularly interesting to see the plan for Punggol, a new age-friendly town that will have 96 000 units when fully developed. The new town replaces the traditional low-density farming and fishing village where the houses were built on stilts. Today the two rivers flanking the town, the Punggol and Serangoon, are being dammed to create a freshwater lake. Punggol embodies the government’s goal to be friendly for ALL ages by co-locating eldercare and childcare facilities to encourage intergenerational bonding. The town is one of 20 that is benefiting from the government plan to build 56 new Senior Activity Centers. The centers are located close to blocks of rented apartments and studios and the accent is placed on fostering social networks. They are places where seniors can make friends and engage in exercise and regular social activities. They may also receive social support services, especially if they are living alone. You can see photos of Punggol, along with a contact for your questions. 12/16
An innovative, bottom-up management model spreading out from the nursing homes of the municipality of Tjorn, Sweden. The basic idea is to allow staff and residents to manage the nursing home together, and to give older persons the feeling that it is their own home. 9/18
In Seattle, Washington. The County’s Area Agency for Senior Services asked Boomers to envision what they would need from their communities to maintain their well-being as they age. The agency made a commitment to support projects to transform the ideas into reality. Under the banner, Aging Your Way, 100 stakeholders were consulted to get buy-in, then 12 neighborhood gatherings were held. Many of the projects that were generated have been realized, with new ones popping up. What began as an initiative has morphed into a movement. The Toolkit that describes the history and process that led to this success has just been reprinted as a guide for other communities. 2/19
An efficient, supportive and understanding caregiving environment is one in which the entire burden doesn’t fall on only one person, but on a team of inter-connected individuals. By creating a hand-drawn visual illustration of a caregiver’s network, Atlas CareMaps illustrate the caregiver’s own support system, highlighting what is working well, and often revealing duplication or gaps in care and resources. On the Atlas of Caregiving website, there is a guide and worksheets to creating an Atlas CareMap. There is also information about workshops and other tools to support family caregivers. 12/17
Two useful tools to help prevent falling:
Loneliness. What Loneliness Is Doing to Your Heart: As social creatures, we suffer when cut off from one another. Read in this article published in the U.S. about what 25 scientific studies show us. Next step: take action to assure social interaction and support! 7/16
Loneliness Research Study. The Future of Loneliness: Facing the Challenge of Loneliness for Older People 2014 – 2030 is a research report prepared by the Future Foundation for Friends of the Elderly in the UK. The facts are startling. Demographic change alone predicts a 40 percent increase in the numbers of older people living with the devastating effects of loneliness. As illustrated by its Befriending program, Friends of the Elderly believes that the opportunity exists to change the future of loneliness by exploring how society may change the way it behaves. 9/17
New Dream Community Action Kit. The Community Action Kit is a creative, free, and easy-to-use online resource that promotes collective action and civic engagement to build more sustainable, healthier, and happier communities. One of the two downloadable, online documents is a Guide to Sharing: Exchanging stuff, time, skills, and space. The other is a Guide to Going Local: Building stronger, healthier, and more vibrant communities. Each guide includes concrete project ideas, step-by-step tips, and video stories.
The Center for a New American Dream and Shareable have joined forces to spread the word with an expanding number of online documents about sharing. Skills constitute a huge shareable resource and there are ingenious ways of sharing including time banks to facilitate the sharing of skills. The guides offer very clear plans for organizing sharing activities in the community, for example, how to organize a community swop, or how to set up a co-op and how to share time, labor and skills. It also deals with challenges and how to handle them: irresponsible behavior, timing, hygiene (real or imagined), legal issues, safety, and challenging personalities.
Older adults use a questionnaire to look at how their community measures up on the key assets that support Positive Aging, as a tool to work together and advocate improvements.
A fun party designed to get neighbors to interact and to celebrate culture and diversity.
From breakdown to breakthrough – we can do something about it! Explore a free 7-part video series that proposes an action plan, with an accompanying downloadable study guide titled: Citizen Actions Field Manual on what you can do about climate change now. 2/18
Life’s Third Act
How we can think about this new phase of our lives? The human spirit is the exception to the law of atrophy. 12/11
Try Something New for 30 Days
This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.
The Surprising Science of Happiness
How our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.
Reducing our ecological footprint and energy consumption while improving our health and communities.
How to live to be 100+
Dan and team study the world’s “Blue Zones,” communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age.
An animated video for educating and inspiring communities to embrace and invest in intergenerational solutions.