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How Advocates Reframed the Aging Agenda

Example from an advocacy organization

Across the five bustling boroughs of New York City (NYC), more than 1.8 million adults aged 60 or older are living in, working in, and contributing to communities. LiveOn NY is engaged in a long-term effort to change the conversation about aging in NYC. Ensuring older adults’ well-being requires a deeper appreciation of their value by decision-makers and deeper investments by city government.

As the membership organization for New York’s aging service providers, LiveOn NY began this work in 2017 by highlighting the groundbreaking research and tools from the National Center to Reframe Aging to the 400 professionals at their annual conference. In the months that followed, LiveOn NY called for the City Council to increase the “solvency of senior services” and marked 2018 as the Year of the Senior in NYC. This resulted in $18 million in new funding for services to older adults in the City’s budget.

Buoyed by the win, and with an historic NYC election approaching, LiveOn NY garnered the support of local foundations in 2020 to fund a deeper level of training by the National Center to Reframe Aging for local advocates and leaders in aging. Using new skills and implementing new tools, advocates focused on putting aging issues on the agenda with those running for City Council. With 70% of seats up for grabs, they engaged candidates, asking them to take a stance on key aging policy issues. After the election, they used candidates’ commitments to advance a shared policy agenda for older New Yorkers.

In Summer 2021, as the FY 2022 city budget process heated up, LiveOn NY organized a “Tweetstorm” that engaged 26 organizations and reached more than 50,000 Twitter users with #Action4Aging and well-framed messages to elevate funding for aging services. In the lead up to the 2021 NYC mayoral election, they partnered with Hunter College’s Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging to propose Aging is Everyone’s Business: Policies for Building a New York for All Ages. The policy agenda identified steps for the next mayor and for businesses, nonprofits, and everyday people to make NYC a great place to age.

Today, LiveOn NY integrates the research-based principles and tools from the National Center into everything they do — including when they testify to the City Council’s Committee on Aging and as they prepare speakers for their annual conferences with guidance for well-framed presentations. This has boosted the use of inclusive language within their network and recognition that “Ageism impacts everyone,” because we are all aging. As a result, New Yorkers are increasingly recognizing that older people are a critical part of what makes New York the vibrant and dynamic city it is.

Join the Movement to Reframe Aging

The National Center to Reframe Aging is developing tools to help advocates across the country effectively communicate for policies and funding that support the well-being of all of us as we age

  1. Is your community part of the movement to Reframe Aging?
  2. What changes in your community can you influence by using well-framed messages about aging?
  3. How can the National Center to Reframe Aging can help you shape policies that work for all of us as we age?

Reach out to the National Center team to learn how you can inspire change within your state! 

About Us

The National Center to Reframe Aging is dedicated to ending ageism by advancing an equitable and complete story about aging in America. The center is the trusted source for proven communication strategies and tools to effectively frame aging issues. It is the nation’s leading organization, cultivating an active community of individuals and organizations to spread awareness of implicit bias toward older people and influence policies and programs that benefit all of us as we age.

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