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Words Matter: GSA’s Reframing Aging Work Animates the Age-Friendly Ecosystem

By CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
June 22, 2021

I had the opportunity to showcase GSA’s work on Reframing Aging during a recently convened Age-Friendly Ecosystem Summit hosted by The George Washington University’s Center for Aging, Health and Humanities. The two-day meeting included age-friendly success stories from the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Regional leaders advancing age-friendly programs in the District of Columbia, Montgomery County and Hyattsville, Maryland, and Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, provided examples of how the many facets of the Age-Friendly Ecosystem are evolving.

It is exciting to see the momentum building within this “ecosystem” as related initiatives — Age-Friendly Cities, Age-Friendly Communities, Age-Friendly Health Systems, Age-Friendly Public Health Systems, and now Age-Friendly Universities — thrive, and find new ways to be mutually supportive. While the fundamental source of energy for most ecosystems is radiant energy from the sun, the age-friendly ecosystem draws its energy from the many individuals and organizations that are championing this work including the World Health Organization, AARP, The John A. Hartford Foundation, IHI, Dublin City University, Trust for America’s Health, and GSA.

GSA’s essential role in ensuring this ecosystem thrives is Reframing Aging, the Society’s ongoing work to cultivate a new way of talking about aging that leads to greater support for age-friendly programs and policies. The words we use shape the discourse. How we discuss topics shapes thinking. How we think about issues shapes behavior and leads to policy change.

By implementing the principles of Reframing Aging, all individuals in this thriving ecosystem can help the public understand that there is much we can do, together, to ensure well-being as we age. We can all be thankful for the philanthropic support of Reframing Aging provided by The John A. Hartford Foundation, RRF Foundation for Aging, Archstone Foundation and The SCAN Foundation.

GSA’s work on Reframing Aging provides the unifying language that connects and animates the many age-friendly components of this expanding ecosystem. As it has done for the past 75 years, GSA is enriching the public and professional dialogue on aging, enabling all to pursue meaningful lives as we age.

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