American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a nonprofit membership organization for people 50 and over, offering resources, advocacy, and community service opportunities. www.aarp.org, 888/687-2277.
Alliance for Retired Americans
is a progressive, grassroots organization allied with the AFL-CIO that
presses for action on retiree legislative and political issues at the
federal, state and local levels.
Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit founded as The Hemlock Society, assists competent, terminally ill adults who face end-of-life trials through advocacy and counseling on hospice care, navigating the health care system, and ways of hastening death. www.compassionandchoices.org, 800/247-7421.
Gray Panthers has been active for 35 years in 28 local networks, working from an intergenerational perspective on social problems such as peace, housing, health care, and jobs. Steps for action regarding these issues are available on its website. www.graypanthers.org, 800/280-5362.
The National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) advocates access to health care, retirement, and security, and federal rights for low-income elders through litigation, legislative and agency representation, and assistance to attorneys and paralegals. www.nsclc.org, 202/289-6976 (Washington, DC), 213/639-0930 (Los Angeles).
Older Women's League (OWL), a national grassroots organization, voices the unique concerns of aging women through research, education, and advocacy. Information is provided for starting chapters not yet included in the organization's network of 60 cities. www.owl-national.org, 800/825-3695.
Elderhostel Intergenerational Programs offer educational traveling experiences that adults of all ages can share with children or grandchildren.Its website offers a searchable database for 8,000 programs in 90 countries. www.elder hostel.org/programs/inter generational_default.asp, 877/426-8056.
Generations United is a membership organization focused on intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies. New online virtual resource center (IPath) facilitates intergenerational communication regarding its 350 programs. www.gu.org, 202/289-3979
Spiritual Eldering Institute is a multi-faith organization that promotes educational programs, leadership training, and community development for all generations. Website offers information on conferences, workshops, and resources for further reading. www.spiritualeldering.org, 303/449-7243.
is a free online organization that provides an array of resources and
articles on health and wellness of spirit, mind, and body.
Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI), in concert with a network of local organizations, offers a range of outdoor volunteer opportunities in many states and one of its newest in Mexico. A list of sample programs is available on its website.www.easi.org, 540/788-3274.
offers service opportunities for those over 55. In 14 cities, its 1,800
members receive training and work in teams to help young students
struggling to learn to read. Its website offers resources for launching
new projects nationwide.
The Peace Corps
enables elders to employ their experience, maturity, and ability in
developing nations whose cultures value these insights. 460 of its
volunteers are over the age of 50 and continue to serve following their
Senior Corps provides opportunities for more than half a million older Americans to apply their experience and skills to meet community challenges through three programs: Foster Grandparents, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and Senior Companions. www.seniorcorps.gov, 800/424-8867.
staying in your home
The Center for Universal Design specializes in housing styles that benefit people of all ages and abilities, including those essential to elders. www.centerforuniversaldesign.org, 800/647-6777.
Elder Care Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging. Find free resources for senior services nationwide by telephone or by using the easy three-step searchable database on its website www.eldercare.gov, 800/677-1116.
books and films
Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives, by David Snowdon, assesses the effects of aging by observing the lives of 646 nuns. Includes details about the study and suggestions for further reading. Bantam, 2001.
Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal, by Beth Witrogen McLeod, documents practical advice from professionals in the fields of medicine, finance, spirituality, and aging. Offers an appendix of resources, further reading, and websites dedicated to caregiving. Wiley, 2000.
Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who've Lived It, by Studs Terkel, includes interviews of 69 individuals ranging in age from 70 to 99. Includes dialogues with the acclaimed, such as artist Jacob Lawrence, actress Uta Hagen, and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, as well as the obscure. St. Martin's Press, 1995.
Creative Aging: A Meaning-Making Perspective, by Mary Baird Carlsen, emphasizes a creative, meaning-making discussion of aging by blending theoretical analysis with practical, illustrative personal stories. W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.
Dying Well, by Ira Byock, discusses the fears associated with dying and the decisions that can enable growth and enlightenment. Includes a discussion guide for use by book clubs and classes. www.dyingwell.org/discguide.htm. Riverhead Books, 1998.
Elder Abuse & Neglect: Causes, Diagnosis, and Intervention Strategies, 2nd edition, by Mary Joy Quinn and Susan K. Tomita, presents a comprehensive model for detection, assessment, and intervention in elder abuse and neglect. Provides legal tools for courtroom proceedings in its appendix. Springer, 1997.
“Grow Old Along With Me,” a documentary film, discusses how aging enables a creative process as a means to reach one's full humanity. Hosted by Julie Harris, Richard Kiley, Hume Cronyn, and James Earl Jones, it explores the works of artists Frederick and Claske Franck, opera singer Shirley Verrett, photographer Leni Sonnenfeld, and Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. Maryland Public Television.Available for purchase at www.olddogdocumentaries.com/vid_goawm.html.
The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America, by Thomas R. Cole, describes how religious, political, and philosophical beliefs about aging have changed over time by tracking the decline of religious values and the rise of economic individualism. Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Prime Time: How Baby-Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America, by
Marc Freedman, explains how baby boomers will renew and reenergize life
in America by committing to social activism and volunteerism in their
elder years. Offers an appendix of resources for action.
What's Worth Knowing, by Wendy Lustbader, is a collection of 104 interviews with 70-, 80-, and 90-year-olds that illustrate the clarity, experience, and wisdom of elders approaching the ends of their lives. Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2004.
Winter Grace: Spirituality & Aging, by Kathleen Fischer, explores spirituality for elders, commenting on memories, friendship, love, and interdependence within the Christian community. Its appendix uggests sources for further reading. Upper Room Books, 1998.