reframing 2019

Join us as we challenge the “conventional wisdom” on aging with the Reframing Aging Initiative — a long-term social change endeavor designed to improve the public’s understanding of what aging means and the many ways that older people contribute to our society.

Ultimately, this greater understanding will counter ageism and guide our nation’s approach to ensuring supportive policies and programs for us all as we move through the life course.

Read GSA's press release about the launch of the initiative.

Key Concepts: Why We Need This Work

While changing cultural perceptions is not easy, the alternative is to acquiesce to an unacceptable status quo that undermines our ability to build support for aging-friendly policies, necessary research investments, and the future of our every-generation-nation. Let’s change the 'conventional wisdom' on aging together.

—James C. Appleby, GSA CEO

Widespread misunderstanding about the aging process and lack of information about how older people contribute to society have led to pervasive ageism. Research by the FrameWorks Institute found that the public believes aging is synonymous with decline and dependency, and that the aging process is a battle to be fought.

Those of us in the field of aging know that “age is just a number” and that, with systems in place to support wellbeing in later life, our society can benefit from the longevity dividend offered by our aging population.

For a quick, two-minute overview of the key concepts behind the initiative, start with this interview of Julie Sweetland of FrameWorks Institute recorded at the IAGG World Congress hosted by GSA in 2017.

Read further to find out how you can change the conversation, be more persuasive, answer ageism, and influence public understanding to create a more just, inclusive, and age-friendly society.

Change the Conversation

 Reframing aging relies on tested strategies and evidence-informed tools that have been found to reduce implicit bias against older people.

  • Gaining Momentum:Learn how to reframe conversations about aging with this toolkit.

gainingmomentum web

Individuals: Learn more with the communications toolkit Gaining Momentum and the video series Reframing Aging and Ageism. Contact us with questions about resources, trainings, and technical assistance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Aging Organizations: To learn about opportunities for workshops and presentations to your staff, board of directors, or conference attendees, please contact Project Manager Laurie G. Lindberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Funders: If you are a funder of aging programs and would like to become involved in this ground-breaking initiative, please write to Project Director Trish D’Antonio at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There are opportunities for local, regional, and national activities and programs.

Who We Are

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) partnered with seven national aging organizations to form the Leaders of Aging Organizations (LAO) to address the entrenched ageism in American society. With support from nine funders, the LAO collaborated with the social science research firm FrameWorks Institute to examine exactly what the American public thinks of aging. Research found that the public’s perception of aging is decidedly negative and antithetical to how most older people feel and what experts in the field know to be true.

Now that the research has been conducted and the communication strategies, resources, and tools have been developed and tested, the next phase of the work is underway. With the generous support of four national funders, GSA, on behalf of the LAO, has launched the next phase of the Reframing Aging Initiative. The four aims of this phase of the project are:

  • Build an infrastructure to enable broad dissemination of the reframing aging concepts to the field of aging
  • Engage the aging research, education, and practice communities to learn about and start using the reframed communication strategies
  • Provide technical support for organizations who complete workshops and trainings
  • Support state and local efforts to reframe aging locally

What We Can Do for You

  • FrameChecks: reframing experts review your communication materials and suggest ways for improving your messages with reframed language and evidence-informed narratives.
  • Workshops and presentations: Master Trainers provide engaging and interactive sessions on the reframing aging concepts, narratives, and tools for your organizations and conferences.
  • Technical assistance:  trained reframers help you fine-tune your messages as a follow-up to workshops and presentations.

Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more.

Funders and Organizations

     hartford 2019
archstone 2019   rrf 2019   scan 2019


  • The Reframing Aging Initiative is currently funded by Archstone Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, The Retirement Research Foundation, and The SCAN Foundation.
  • Founding members of the LAO are AARP, American Federation for Aging Research, American Geriatrics Society, American Society on Aging, The Gerontological Society of America, Grantmakers in Aging, National Council on Aging, and the National Hispanic Council on Aging.
  • The LAO’s previous work was funded by AARP, Archstone Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Endowment for Health, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, The Retirement Research Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, and The SCAN Foundation.
  • The Reframing Aging Initiative staff are James Appleby, Patricia M. D’Antonio, and Laurie G. Lindberg.


Related Content


Toolkit: The Reframing Aging Initiative relies on tested strategies and evidence-informed tools that have been found to reduce implicit bias against older people. These resources are available in a toolkit called Gaining Momentum.

Video Series: aging fwa image largeFor a more in-depth examination of the research behind the Reframing Aging Initiative and a tutorial on how to use the tools, you may want to access the FrameWorks Academy video series on Reframing Aging and Ageism. This resource is free, but you must create an account and a login: Reframing Aging and Ageism

Advisory Board

Coming soon.

reframing 2019


Visit GSA's webinar page to register or view archived recordings:

  • GSA/CDC Webinar part 1: "Health Literacy Considerations for Initiatives with Older Adults" (Friday, June 28, 2019)
  • GSA/CDC Webinar part 2: "Sun Protection and Sunburn Among Older U.S. Adults" (Friday, August 2)

GSA partnered with the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the International Society of Geriatric Oncology on a six-part webinar series on caring for older adults with cancer.

Annual Scientific Meeting Sessions

"Older Adults and Cancer: Building the Research and Clinical Care Infrastructure for an Aging Population" 
Momentum Discussion at GSA's 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting
Moderator: Harvey Jay Cohen
Panelists: Harvey Jay Cohen, Elana Plotkin, Peggy Burhenn
As a result of improvements in treatment and supportive care, the number of older cancer survivors is increasing, including many with comorbid conditions that complicate treatment plans. Frequently, because of the lack of research into the care of older adults with cancer and comorbid conditions, clinicians find themselves unprepared to assess and manage these complex patients. Older adults are often underscreened for cancers, the conditions are understaged when they are found, and treatment is often less aggressive than in younger individuals or not provided at all. This session will examine the relationship between aging and cancer, as well as ways that cancer research, prevention, and care can be improved for older adults. 
Supported by Pfizer. 



Pertinent Articles

Interest Group

Cancer and Aging: Advancing age increases risk of cancer. Simultaneously, age-related conditions may complicate cancer recovery and pose a lifelong challenge. The Cancer and Aging Interest Group brings together a multidisciplinary group, including clinicians, basic and social/behavioral scientists, public health practitioners, advocates and educators, to address cancer and aging across the cancer continuum. Together, we seek to identify challenges and opportunities at the intersection of cancer and aging and translate lessons from bedside to the community for older cancer survivors and their families.


The Real Faces of Careers in Aging: Interviews with a range of professionals in the field of aging.


The GSA on Aging Podcast Series is supported by the GSA Innovation Fund.

Howard B. Degenholtz, PhD, FGSA, Social Media Editor of The Gerontologist, interviews authors about their latest work and research findings published in the journal.

Subscribe to the GSA on Aging Podcast Series on:

  Listen on Apple Podcasts stitcher subscribe button Subscribe to GSA On Aging on Pocket Casts RSS

The Gerontologist Podcast – Mindfulness Interventions for Dementia Caregivers with Dr. Rebecca Collins

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Rebecca Collins about her clinical practice and research on mindfulness-based interventions. Her paper, The Effectiveness of Mindfulness- and Acceptance-Based Interventions for Informal Caregivers of People With Dementia: A Meta-Analysis, published in The Gerontologist provides a great meta-analysis of the effectiveness of these strategies for dementia caregivers. After speaking with her, Dr. Degenholtz called his mom to see what she thinks about mindfulness and acceptance based strategies.

Article (Published online on April 4, 2018 in The Gerontologist) | Download the Episode



The Gerontologist Podcast – Use of Cannabis Among Older Adults with Dr. Brian Kaskie

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Brian Kaskie at University of Iowa about his research on use of cannabis among older adults.  He published a Policy Studies paper, The Increasing Use of Cannabis Among Older Americans: A Public Health Crisis or Viable Policy Alternative? and has had several additional papers on this important topic.  After having a fascinating and wide ranging conversation as befits the topic with Dr. Kaskie, Dr. Degenholtz called his mom for her opinion!  

You can learn more about Dr. Kaskie's research on his project website.

Policy Studies Article: The Increasing Use of Cannabis Among Older Americans: A Public Health Crisis or Viable Policy Alternative? (December 2017 issue of The Gerontologist)

Measurement Article: Measuring Attitudes Toward Medical and Recreational Cannabis Among Older Adults in Colorado (Published online on May 14, 2019 in The Gerontologist)

Download the Episode



The Gerontologist Podcast – Homeless for the First Time with Dr. Victoria Burns

Dr. Degenholtz interviewed Dr. Victoria Burns about her paper, Homeless for the First Time in Later Life. She shared her motivation for this line of research. She also discussed a fascinating documentary project she is working that brings to life the stories of homeless older adults in Calgary.  You can learn more about "Beyond Housing" on the StoryHive website.

Article (April 2019 issue of The Gerontologist) | Download the Episode


The GSA on Aging Podcast Series is supported by the GSA Innovation Fund.

Teaching Resources

Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology and Geriatrics

The sixth edition of the AGHE Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology and Geriatrics is an excellent reference for gerontology and/or geriatrics curricula planning. It has also risen in status to be an important resource for an AGHE-approved national program of evaluation: the AGHE Program of Merit. The Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education has been integrated into the Standards and Guidelines and offers consensus-based, recommended core competencies and selective contextual competencies for gerontology programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. The sixth edition of the Standards and Guidelines offers leaders and faculty of gerontology programs the tools to identify and implement competency-based education in aging.

To obtain a copy of the sixth edition of the AGHE Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology and Geriatrics, visit our online store.

Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education

The AGHE Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education were adopted on November 20, 2014, after an Association-wide multi-year effort of gathering and integrating feedback to build consensus. The effort was led by the AGHE Competency Workgroup and was built upon the work of Wendt, Peterson and Douglas (1993) as well as current literature in foundations of gerontology and competency-based education. The AGHE Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education are a resource for competency-based gerontology education with liberal arts, professional and/or scientific program orientations. The framework for the competencies encourages gerontology education programs to maintain their specific orientation (e.g., liberal arts), and utilize the competencies with flexibility and creativity. The competencies may be applied to gerontology programs with majors, minors and certificate programs at the associate, undergraduate and/or master’s level. Please find a mapping tool here.

There are three categories of competencies (I, II and III).

Category I competencies represent the essential orientation to the field of gerontology, are foundational and expected to be broadly represented in Associate, Bachelors, Master’s degree and gerontology certificate programs.

Category II competencies are “interactional” competencies that capture the processes of knowing and doing across the field of gerontology and are also expected to be broadly represented in the above types of educational programs. Category II competencies are meant to capture the most relevant skills for contexts of employment in the variety of sectors and areas that gerontologists may work, including education.

Category III competencies are to be selected based on the mission, goals and orientation(s) of the educational program. Competencies in Category III provide gerontology education program leadership with the ability to select and tailor the competency expectations for their particular programs’ needs and orientations. It is suggested that programs select 2 or more Domains in Category III, and use the related competencies within that domain for their curricula. Within Category III, programs may identify additional competency content as appropriate for their program orientations and emphases.

Pianosi, B., Damron-Rodriguez, J., Jukema, J. & Schoenmakers, E. (2016, October). Use of professional gerontology competencies for workplace alignment & use in practice. Poster session presented at the Canadian Association on Gerontology, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Poster PDF)

Schoenmakers, E.C., Damron-Rodriguez, J., Frank, J.C., Pianosi, B., & Jukema, J.S. (2016). Competencies in European Gerontological Higher Education. An Explorative Study on Core Elements. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.

A Hands-on Approach to Teaching about Aging

Hallie Baker PhD, Tina M. Kruger PhD, Rona J. Karasik PhD
This peer-reviewed collection of hands-on activities is designed by noted educators in aging and incorporates Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) competencies. It offers clear, step-by-step procedures for implementing each activity, including preparation, introduction, the activity itself, discussion/reflection, wrap-up or follow-up if appropriate, and assessment. The book also addresses learning outcomes and includes recommendations for number of participants, settings, materials, and time required. All royalties go to AGHE. Order your copy today!

Books for K-Primary Students

Suggested Early Children’s Literature

Institution Resources

AGHE Consultation Program assists community, four-year colleges and universities in:

  • Developing or evaluating a gerontology/geriatrics program
  • Developing a strategy for long-term planning
  • Obtaining an objective assessment, external review, or validation of a proposed or existing program of gerontology/geriatric instruction
  • Obtaining resource materials for executing, expanding, or evaluating gerontology/geriatrics instruction
  • Identifying tools for designing and implementing gerontology/geriatric content/courses

The needs of each institution are unique; therefore the AGHE Consultation Program has been designed to provide dynamic communication between the institution and the consultant they choose. The Institution is in charge of the process with the consultant reporting to the Institution’s Designee.

We provide a selection of national experts in the field of aging studies for you to choose from to ensure the best possible fit for your institutional needs. The AGHE consultant uses his/her unique expertise to objectively evaluate your proposed or existing program and helps identify opportunities and barriers employing a solution-oriented approach. A consultant also provides unbiased comments regarding gerontology/geriatrics instruction, program development, program change, faculty development, program evaluation, etc., in a final report constructed to support the Institutional mission and goals to enhance education on aging.

The AGHE Consultant Works with you:  
The Institution’s designee(s)

  • Contracts with AGHE to ensure the provision of professional consulting services for the institution
  • Chooses the consultant from a national panel of AGHE Consultants
  • Determines and arranges the process for consultation (a site visit is recommended)
  • Maintains communication with AGHE and the consultant throughout the consultation
  • Reviews the report prior to its finalization
  • Receives a final report complete with observations, recommendations, suggested plan, and a list of AGHE resources.

°  Consultation Program Request Form
°  Does our institution need a Consultant? – Answer these important questions
°  Cost: Scope of work is factored in to determine consultation cost. Click for the fee structure


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