Our New Word for the Day – Generativity

Ok, it’s true confession time. I always maintained that I would age gracefully. I have wonderful role models in my family and community who exemplify the “older person I want to be.” So what am I learning about this aging gracefully concept?

These aging adults have one thing in common – generativity. That’s not a word we use often, but it is a concern for others developed during middle age. It is a need to nurture and guide younger people and contribute to the next generation. Adults often do this by being active in their communities.

We’ve seen the generativity idea reinforced by participants in the Mid Life & Beyond program. Enrolled communities start with study circles using a guide, A Community for People 45 and Beyond. It is an opportunity for people to talk together and find ways to make their community a place where people can live successfully as they age.

This brings us full circle back to the children. Aging adults who remain active and want to guide younger people are serving as aging gracefully role models. How does the idea of generativity fit with what you know about older adults?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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