BY DAY 5
Respond by Day 5 to at least two colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
· Provide additional resources or information on your colleague’s selected websites on aging.
· Compare a similar local or global organization.
· Offer alternative viewpoints and insights.
· Ask for clarification.
Area Agency on Aging, District 7:
Mission: "Assisting individuals to maintain independence and personal choice by providing resource options and service."
The local organization, Area Agency on Aging, District 7 (AAA7), is an organization that focuses on maintaining individuals who are 60 and older, in their homes and independent as long as possible (Area Agency on Aging, 2023a). Their philosophy and strategies have been in place for the last 44 years wherein the agency partners with other local providers to maintain the health and wellness of the aging population (Area Agency on Aging, 2023b). Many services provided include connecting consumers to local resources to help improve their quality of life, both physically and mentally (Area Agency on Aging, 2023a). There is no indication of ageism on the organizational website, and agency information specifically identifies that their services are provided “on a non-discriminatory basis.” The organization provides services based on the individual’s physical and mental needs. Therefore, they provide services to those who are more active, but also give more services to those who are not.
The AAA7 supports/promotes self-determination in their mission (Area Agency on Aging, 2023a). This mission is part of the social work Code of Ethics and I agree with it entirely. The agency’s vision statement indicates the region they serve will have resources available and provide services to those 60 and older as well as for at-risk individuals to meet their health and well-being needs. Although I too agree that as a society, we should have resources available for our aging population, this is problematic in that resources are not always available and, currently secondary to the shortage of workers, the vision is not attainable for all individuals in this age group depending on where they live in the agency’s service areas.
Lastly, the AAA7s mission, vision and work challenge my preconceptions about aging in that, there are times I feel that seniors are allowed to remain in their homes even when they put themselves in danger, on the premise that they are alert and oriented. Social workers and AAA7s are bound to ethical guidelines, but there are times, I believe individuals stay in their home for far too long or decline services because of their personal beliefs, and this causes their life to be shortened or they suffer because of their self-determination.
Global Coalition on Aging:
Mission: "Through research, public policy analysis, advocacy and strategic communications, GCOA is advancing innovative policy and market solutions and working to ensure global aging is a path to health, productivity, and economic growth."
The Global Coalition on Aging (2023a) is an organization that is focused on assisting corporations all around the world to keep the aging population “engaged and productive through healthy and active living.” This philosophy promotes the financial stability of the aging population, while helping them remain active in their workplace and socially. The organization works directly with policy makers and corporations to change the mindset of a problem with the vastly growing population of aging individuals to see the potential of improved lives at multiple levels (micro, mezzo and macro) (Global Coalition on Aging, 2023b).
While I support the organization’s mission of keeping seniors engaged both corporately and socially, the concern I have is that the organization may miss supporting those individuals who are not in the middle and upper class or not as physically able to continue working or being active. For example, individuals who may not have steady markets in their communities or have the ability to work secondary to physical limitations (as Kunkel and Settersten (2022) point out that there are typical changes in aging that may prohibit some individuals from continuing to be economically productive), have the potential for being missed by the initiatives of the Global Coalition on Aging.
Global Coalition on Aging, actually refutes the bias and prejudices of the aging population, as it points out that the world’s misguided opinion about the correlation of age and poor health (Global Coalition on Aging, 2023c). Their partnerships all over the world speak to improving the health and wellbeing of the aging, therefore, it seems that the organization does not demonstrate ageism. It does support my preconceptions of the aging population being able to do more than what some realize. I believe, however, that I too at times feel some continue working far beyond their abilities, but only because they cannot make ends meet financially.
Area Agency on Aging, District 7. (1996-2023). Mission statement, vision statement, AAA7 PRIDE core values/desired behaviors.
Area Agency on Aging, District 7. (1996-2023b). History & profile of Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. https://www.aaa7.org/site/383/history.aspx
Global Coalition on Aging. (2023a). Shaping how the world thinks about aging. https://globalcoalitiononaging.com/about/
Global Coalition on Aging. (2023b). We have a strategic vision for global aging. https://globalcoaging.wpengine.com/initiatives/
Global Coalition on Aging. (2023c). Our national conversation on aging. https://globalcoalitiononaging.com/news-events/
Kunkel, S., & Settersten, R. (2022). Aging, society, and the life course. Springer.
Aging individuals should not be overlooked as this is one of the fastest growing populations. This discussion focuses on addressing biases and reactions to research on aging individuals.
Local Organization: Lexington Senior Center is an organization designed to improve the lives of the aging community here in Lexington, KY.
Mission Statement: The mission of the senior center is to be a community focal point on aging, where older adults come together for services and activities that enhance their dignity, support their independence, and encourage their involvement in the community.
Organizational Goals: To provide a safe and inviting environment at one of the four senior centers, encourage seniors to participate in activities that enhance their dignity, support their independence, and encourage community involvement. Seniors can join in various activities which means they are spending less time at home alone and more time in the community, making meaningful connections with peers, and participating in enjoyable activities.
My reaction/biases: My initial reaction to the website was that I had no idea this even existed in our community. I also thought that this information about the Lexington Senior Center and the many programs it offers should be something that all of us know about considering most of us are connected to at least one aging individual in some way. I have worked for various government agencies and in social service roles working with an aging population and was never aware of this organization. I perused the website and was shocked to learn that they have 4 local facilities with activities ranging from financial literacy, arts and crafts, social hours, a café, their own library, and even dance classes. The Lexington Senior Center even has a dance group called The Prime Time Dancers which included a lady aged 70. After reading so much information and seeing the many social activities being offered, I realized I do have biases regarding the aging population. Previously, I did not think seniors or aging individuals were very active socially or physically. My biggest bias may be the thought that the aging community isn’t as productive, social, or willing to participate in activities outside of the home as younger people. I may have thought that once people retired or reached the age 65 or so, that you just want to stay home mostly. I believe this train of thought comes from remembering as I was growing up, my retired grandmother and great-grandmother watching soap operas, The Price is Right, and the news. Of course, I was outside playing most of the day but other than communing on the front porch, some very light gardening, and “watching their shows”, I don’t recall seniors doing much more. Another thing I will say is that maybe I just didn’t pay much attention to the aging and elderly people around me as a young adult, other than direct family members, which may speak to a larger, national issue of not being concerned, focused on, or really “seeing” the aging population. After viewing this website and information it offered, it made me think about how life doesn’t just end when your children grow up or you reach a certain age and I also thought, “when you do reach that age- what then?”. I still have a young child at home, so the thoughts of aging haven’t been as heavy on my mind. I was very impressed by the website and the activities and services offered. It was warming to see that there is a space specifically for aging people in our community. I was also impressed by the focus placed on the aging community.
Global/National Organization: NCOA- National Council on Aging is a U.S based national organization designed to assist older individuals in various aspects of life. Founded in 1950, this is the oldest national organization focused on aging and older adults.
Mission Statement: “We believe every person deserves to age well. We believe in a just and caring society in which each of us, as we age, lives with dignity, purpose, and security.”.
Organizational Goals: Impact the health and economic security of 40 million older adults by 2030, especially women, people of color, LGBTQ+, low-income, and rural individuals as we believe that equitable aging should be a right for all and not a privilege for a few. Our goals also consist of ensuring access to key benefit programs such as Medicare, SNAP, and SSI, advocating and encouraging health and independence, and addressing income and financial security for aging adults.
My reaction/biases: My initial reaction was that I wasn’t aware that as far back as 1950, that any organization focused on the aging community. I also didn’t know that there was an organization that focused on aging equitably while serving women, people of color, LGBTQ+, low-income, and rural individuals. These groups of people are often marginalized and not always the focus of specific, age-related programs from what I can tell so far. Another reaction to this website and content is that it is important and necessary work. A bias I previously held that was challenged by this website was that all or most aging and elderly individuals have access to and know about such programs such as SNAP, Medicare, and SSI. I believe I just thought it “came with the territory” of getting older. However, according to the NCOA website- aging individuals are more often that not, aware of key state and federal benefit programs designed for them nor are they aware of their eligibility or how to even apply for or access these programs. I am not sure why I thought the aging population just knew about such things, but this website and this assignment has proved that assumption to be incorrect.
Lexington Senior Center. (2023). Lexington Senior Center. .
The National Council on Aging. (2023). National Council on Aging. .