The Encore Network has connected with an increasing number of global leaders, as more countries think strategically about their aging populations. We’re inspired by the opportunity to share ideas and expand the encore movement to new countries.

To learn more about global perspectives, we recently surveyed members of Encore Network member, the Pass it On Network, to learn about encore work in their countries. That Network, co-founded by Jan Hively and Moira Allan, acts as a knowledge and information sharing hub for positive aging initiatives, community support, work/economic security and lifelong learning in two dozen countries on six continents.

The 40+ responses to the survey –  from east and west European countries, USA and Canada, South Africa, Australia, India and the Caribbean – showed enthusiasm for more encore activities and a willingness to support encore movement building in different countries. It also illustrated the need  to build  awareness and understanding of older adults as a resource for social impact. Key findings:

Encore activity is limited: over 50% of responses reveal there is limited or no encore activity in their countries and a lack of knowledge of the encore movement.

Value of encore work:  Over 80% of responses revealed some, very little or no value attributed to encore work in their countries. But there is high/somewhat high cultural acceptance (just under 50%) of older adults doing volunteer work.

Barriers/Challenges: Challenge #1 is social sector organizations’ lack of awareness on how to use or recruit encore talent. A corresponding lack of funding and government support mean that progress is frustratingly slow. communications fuel the movement’s growth: The main message to is “keep doing what you’re doing.” Respondents urged Encore to continue with publicity and communication about the value of older people in social impact work and innovative programs engaging older adults. Those efforts, combined with financial planning and lifelong learning, will create culture change that supports local encore programs.

We are very grateful to Pass It On network members for their insights, to Moira and Jan for supporting the research and to Julia Randell-Khan, volunteering with during her time at Stanford’s Distinguished Careers Institute, for orchestrating the project.

For more information, contact Betsy Werley.

Published: December 18, 2017