Highlights from the Center on Aging & Work’s research on engagement, entrepreneurship

Our November webinar featured researchers from the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, headlines from new research on engagement and entrepreneurship, and reports from practitioners translating that research into programs. 

The Center promotes quality and choice of paid and unpaid work across the lifespan, with a particular focus on older adults. Its website provides a wealth of resources on work-related issues. 

Christina Matz, Center co-director, presented her Engaged4Life research on the best ways to increase “health spans” in our longer lives through increasing physical and cognitive activity, and social interaction in meaningful and natural contexts. Her collaborator David Guydan, director of ESC Discovery Program of Empower Success Corps, presented about the workshops and training curricula he developed to complement Christina’s findings. 

David also led — with the Massachusetts Council on Aging, the Encore Boston Network, and Empower Success Corps — the development of Discovery Centers, senior centers that help older adults find purpose and engage in social impact work. Two centers have launched, David reported, in Amesbury and Framingham. Programs will launch next year in Wellesley, Duxbury and Dartmouth. 

Cal Halvorsen, faculty affiliate of the Center and former Encore.org director of research, discussed his study on the diversity of interest in later-life entrepreneurship among older Americans. Sherree Lucas, Lucas Strategic Consulting, outlined the research’s implications for an encore entrepreneurship program she’s launching in Asheville, NC. 

Cal noted that 40% of adults age 50+ are at least somewhat interested in entrepreneurship. That interest is higher among younger people, those who identify as male and Black, and those who are currently volunteering and/or self-employed. Cal’s study points to opportunities to increase entrepreneurship among women and those who do not have a financial safety net. 

Download the presentation slides here and the session recording here.

BONUS materials – entrepreneurship research

  • A study on the diversity of interest in later-life entrepreneurship by Cal J. Halvorsen and his co-author, Yu-Chih Chen, in the open-access journal, PLOS ONE
  • An op-ed on the study implications by Cal J. Halvorsen in Next Avenue
  • A study that promotes a new research agenda on self-employment in later life by Cal J. Halvorsen and co-author Nancy Morrow-Howell
  • Sherree Lucas’s LinkedIn profile, where you can contact Sherree to learn more about her plans to support older entrepreneurs in Asheville, NC.
  • AARP Foundation Director, Income Security Programs, Aliza Sur is happy to be a resource. She leads AARP’s Work for Yourself at 50+ activities with colleagues Brandy Boyce and Anna Montain.

BONUS materials – engagement research

  • A study on the Engaged4Life randomized trial by Christina Matz and co-authors in The Journal of Gerontological Social Work
  • A study on the importance of meaningfulness in work among older people by Christina Matz and co-authors in The Journal of Applied Gerontology
  • A study about financial and psychological security in retirement by Christina Matz and co-authors in The American Psychologist.

Published: November 18, 2019