Reframing aging initiative releases guide to advance inclusive language about aging


The Reframing Aging Initiative (RAI), a long-term social change endeavor designed to improve the public’s understanding of aging and the ways that older people contribute to society, has released “Communication Best Practices: Reframing Aging Initiative Guide to Telling a More Complete Story of Aging.”

Drawing from RAI research on ways to increase the public’s understanding of aging, this new guide will influence nation-wide narratives about aging. Thanks to RAI advocacy, the American Psychological Association, the Associated Press, and the American Medical Association are already promoting similar guidance in their widely used publication style guides, used by journalists, communicators, and more than 1,000 scholarly journals in more than 100 academic disciplines.

“I’m so proud of this new guide which will advance more constructive and inclusive language about aging,” said RAI Project Director Patricia D’Antonio, BSPharm, MS, MBA, BCGP, the vice president for policy and professional affairs at The Gerontological Society of America (GSA). “To ensure wide impact, all ten members of the Leaders of Aging Organizations collaborative are incorporating reframing aging and bias-free language principles into their work.”

The Leaders of Aging Organizations (LAO) collaborative includes AARP, American Federation for Aging Research, American Geriatrics Society, American Society on Aging, The Gerontological Society of America, Grantmakers in Aging, LeadingAge, National Council on Aging, National Hispanic Council on Aging, and USAging. GSA leads the Reframing Aging Initiative on behalf of the LAO. The FrameWorks Institute conducted the research that underpins the Reframing Aging Initiative and this guide.

“We need to find better ways to talk about aging so that the public learns the whole story about aging, not just the incomplete version that focuses on dependence and decline,” said RAI Program Manager Laurie G. Lindberg. “Framing can make a difference in how people understand your message. Research shows that when these new frames are used, knowledge about aging increases, attitudes toward actions and solutions shift, and policy support for programs and funding grows.”

“Communication Best Practices” will enable academics, aging services providers, researchers, leaders, and advocates to advance productive language and avoid communication traps. It provides research-based rationales for these communication best practices, suggesting terms to avoid and wording to advance.

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