Nine Principles of Active Aging

by Jason D. Johnson

Colin Milner, the CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, sent an article last week detailing his keynote presentation at the ICAA’s latest conference.  The outline of the Nine Principles is to encourage and provoke employers, employees, elders, family members, congressmen, congresswomen, and the like to focus on the shifts occurring in the aging population.  It is a good reminder for all of us to keep these concepts in mind as we build communities, remodel houses, plan events, perform research, volunteer, lead, write commercials, script articles, affect change, and find more ways to provide value to the lives of our senior population.

While I am sharing Colin’s message below, you can find more at  Colin’s message and principles are as follows:

“The association’s new, industry-shifting model – the “Nine Principles of Active Aging” – is designed to guide governments, product and service providers, employers, and the health care industry in implementing their active-aging strategies.  I hope these can assist you with the development of your services.

These principles, and a few of the many questions that need to be answered, appear below.

Nine Principles of Active Aging

1. Populations:  The older population is extremely diverse, from ability and age, to income and culture, to sexual orientation.  How will we meet the needs of these different individuals?

2. Perceptions:  Ageism and negative stereotypes of aging are stalling the opportunity to empower older adults.  To move forward, we need to leave the old way of thinking behind.

3. People:  Who will serve the older population’s needs?  With fewer people entering the labor market, where will the workers come from?  Will technology fill the gaps?

4. Potential:  A society in which older consumers dominate purchasing decisions creates untold business opportunities.  What are these opportunities, and how can businesses tap them?

5. Products:  Whether due to a lack of interest or understanding among product or service providers, too few offerings today are geared to the older population.  From technology to housing, the result is immense opportunity for those who respond strategically.

6. Promotions:  Effective promotions are needed to inspire change.  Yet marketers often earn a failing grade from older adults when they focus on the older population, perhaps because they have an inaccurate or incomplete picture of these consumers.  To be effective, promotions must be rooted in the realities of today’s older adults.

7. Places:  Environments can encourage or discourage older adults in leading active, engaged lives.  From indoors to outdoors, what environments support active aging?

8. Policies:  How do policy decisions affect active aging?  Consider how important policies are in areas such as age discrimination, and affordable care and housing.

9. Programs:  As promoted by ICAA, the seven dimensions of wellness-physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, vocational and environmental wellness-are the backbone of active aging.  They are also key to meeting the challenge of providing diverse programs and environments that fulfill the needs of the diverse older population.”

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