Changing the Narrative is a strategic communications and awareness campaign to increase understanding of ageism and to shift how Coloradans think about aging. Funded by Rose Community Foundation and Next Fifty Initiative, longstanding encore leader Janine Vanderburg is applying her impressive organizing and communications skills as the initiative manager.

Like people across the country and world, Coloradans are living longer and healthier lives. Yet national research conducted by FrameWorks Institute over the last three years shows that aging is misunderstood in America, and ageist and negative stereotypes about older people abound. By marginalizing older people and minimizing their contributions, ageist attitudes and stereotypes harm older people and our communities, which fail to benefit from the build up of experience and insights that all of us acquire as we age.

Changing the Narrative asks, “can we do something about it?” and answers, “Yes, we can!” The FrameWorks research showed that it is possible to shift how people think through “reframing” aging and ageism. By changing the way that people talk and think about aging and ageism, Changing the Narrative set the foundation for more productive policies and practices across Colorado that leverage the strengths and talents of older people, and systems that support wellbeing for all of us as we age. Program activities include:

  • Training and technical assistance. Changing the Narrative will train advocates, policymakers and other influencers of all ages in using evidence-based, cutting edge communications tools and messages developed by FrameWorks Institute, and tailored for Colorado audiences.
  • Media campaigns. Through blogging, opinion pieces, letters to the editor, targeted stories, social media and other platforms, Changing the Narrative will extend the reach of our communications and messages to diverse audiences across the state.
  • Change AGEnts. Trained volunteers working through local encore leader Boomers Leading Change will “call-in” ageism, educate their networks in reframing aging, and recognize individuals and organizations that are advancing a positive view of aging and eliminating ageist practices.
  • Colorado Encore Network. The network, which connects older people to each other and to resources for developing “encores” with purpose, will host monthly Meetups and skill-building workshops, designed to help all of us maintain and strengthen our contributions to the economy and to the larger community as we age.
  • Coloradans. The more people learn about changing the narrative and reframing aging and share what they’ve learned with friends, neighbors and colleagues, the faster we will make progress toward our goal: Ending Ageism. Together.

Check out the initiative’s new website as well as their Facebook and Linked In pages.

Published: July 17, 2018