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AFAR Effectively Incorporates Reframing Aging Messaging into Redesigned Website

As a founder and committed supporter of the Reframing Aging Initiative, the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) is clearly invested in the vital work of changing how we talk and think about aging. AFAR is a member of Leaders of Aging Organizations (LAO), which collaborated to create the Reframing Aging Initiative to respond to the harmful role that ageism plays in all of their efforts to advance their work with policymakers.

AFAR also has done an exemplary job of practicing what it preaches by effectively incorporating the principles of reframing aging into its messaging. When AFAR launched a dynamic new website in 2019, it used the opportunity to intentionally align its messaging with reframing aging.

In particular, the website makes good use of reframing aging’s ingenuity value, which includes innovation, while incorporating more inclusive language throughout. Both are clearly illustrated in the lead text on the Live Healthier, Live Longer page:

During the last decades, innovations in public health and biomedical science have generated a dramatic transformation in how long we live.

The consistent use of inclusive language such as “we,” “us,” and “our” draws readers in and makes them part of the story being told, instead of portraying older adults as a separate group. For example:

  • AFAR-funded scientists are continually developing insights about how to preserve our vitality as we age
  • … it’s never too early and never too late to improve our health. Whether in our 30s, 60s, or 90s, we can reap the benefits of exercise and better nutrition.
  • And novel therapies, such as emerging drugs, hold similar promise to help us avoid disease and enhance our quality of lifeat any age.

“Reframing the way all of us think and talk about aging is critical to AFAR’s mission to support and advance healthy aging through biomedical research,” says Stephanie Lederman, AFAR’s executive director. “The more people truly understand that everyone ages, and we’re all in this together, the more likely it is that they will understand that aging research benefits everyone of all ages—including themselves and those they love. That, in turn, will help build support for studies that deepen our understanding of the biological processes of aging that are the number one risk factor for most chronic diseases, as well as translating that knowledge into powerful interventions that can delay, or even prevent, those diseases.”

Innovation and Inclusive Language—Perfect Together

The ingenuity value, exemplified by words such as innovation, transformation, vitality, and constant progress, are paired with inclusive language across the AFAR website. The introduction on the Impact page, reads:

AFAR-funded researchers are finding that modifying the basic cellular processes can delay, or even prevent, many chronic diseases, often at the same time. They are discovering that it is never too late, or too early, to improve health. This groundbreaking science is paving the way for innovative new therapies that promise to improve and extend our quality of life—at any age.

Another example can be found on the Top Breakthroughs in Aging Research page, which highlights what groundbreaking scientific research has revealed about discoveries ranging from senescent cells to “young blood” to how the biological processes of aging may differ between the sexes. The introduction states:

With AFAR’s support, science has led to innumerable discoveries that are bringing us closer to the development of therapies that will extend healthspan, or our years of health as we age.

By pairing innovation with inclusive language, AFAR frames aging research not only as cutting-edge and exciting, but something that benefits all of us. That’s a powerful combination.

 

About Us

The Reframing Aging Initiative is a long-term social change endeavor designed to improve the public’s understanding of what aging means and the many ways that older people contribute to our society. This greater understanding will counter ageism and guide our nation’s approach to ensuring supportive policies and programs for us all as we move through the life course.

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Contact Us: reframingaging@geron.org

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