When you imagine a future for Greater Portland that embraces the voices, time and talents of experience, what is needed? This is the question that nearly 100 local leaders examined on November 30, 2016.
The Portland region, like much of the country, is experiencing rapid growth among its older population. People are both aging in place and moving there to retire. What opportunity does this “aging boom,” or “experience dividend,” represent? What are the challenges? How might people of all ages work together to create a more age-friendly, equitable region?
On November 30, 2016, nearly 100 leaders from nonprofits, government, higher education, philanthropy and community volunteer efforts gathered to discuss these questions. The event was co-convened by Encore.org and nine Portland-area programs and organizations, including:
- Encore Network Members: Age-Friendly Portland, Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (a program of JVC Northwest) and Life by Design NW at Portland Community College.
- Other Great Portland leaders in aging: AARP Oregon, Bridge Meadows, Elders in Action, Metropolitan Family Service, Portland State University Institute on Aging, SAGE (Senior Advocates for Generational Equity), and Social Ventures Partners Portland Encore Fellows Program.
During the morning, participants learned about age-friendly and encore-related efforts across the region and around the country. A group of volunteers and program leaders from Bridge Meadows, Experience Corps and IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization) began the day with their stories. Alan DeLaTorre, who co-coordinates Age-Friendly Portland and Multnomah County, gave a short talk focused on the region’s changing demographics and how local age-friendly efforts are responding.
Ann MacDougall and Marc Freedman of Encore.org placed Portland’s innovative programs within the context of a national movement. Eunice Lin Nichols, director of Encore.org’s Generation to Generation campaign, invited participants to join this new national effort to involve increasing numbers of older adults in contributing to the well-being of younger generations. Finally, leaders from the co-convening organizations offered brief highlights of how their efforts are engaging experienced talent and helping solve social problems in the region.
During the balance of the day, participants engaged in three major activities: 1) mapping strengths, opportunities and gaps in Portland’s current “ecosystem” for age-friendly and encore efforts, 2) joining in one of seven interest groups to generate ideas for action and 3) discussing next steps and reflecting on the day.
Visit the Portland Encore Regional Convening website for more information.