Words Matter—Reframing Aging

Words Matter—Reframing Aging

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation

During the Grantmakers in Aging Conference plenary presented by the FrameWorks Institute, I reflected on how often what we think we say may not be what others hear.  With all good intentions, we can actually turn others away because of what is perceived.  One of their studies related to affordable housing is an eye-opener.

With the stigma about “aging,” national aging organizations funded a study to reframe aging. More questions than answers were found in how to shift from a negative/deficit frame to a positive/abundance frame.

If one looks at the third chapter of life, not as a decline but rather building momentum from experience, any number of sayings come to mind that spark the positives of being older than we were last year. Let’s face it, we are living longer than previous generations. Every day 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65, and this longevity revolution has potential for the economy, environment, and society as a whole when we frame through assets and aspirations.

So as you read these phases, consider how you might frame getting older:

  • To Infinity and beyond—Buzz Lightyear
  • To go where no one has gone before—Star Trek
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss
  • On a roll
  • Getting a head of steam
  • Keeping the dream alive
  • Hitting our stride
  • Larger than life
  • We’ve only just begun—The Carpenters
  • The older we get, the older we want to be

As I look ahead, I think of light bulbs glowing, tributaries adding flow to rivers, and crescendos as we all use our gifts.  Let’s each use words that affirm the possibilities.


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


  • SHARE THIS POST:

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.