Advertisement

Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 94–105 | Cite as

Experience corps: Design of an intergenerational program to boost social capital and promote the health of an aging society

  • Thomas A. Glass
  • Marc Freedman
  • Michelle C. Carlson
  • Joel Hill
  • Kevin D. Frick
  • Nick Ialongo
  • Sylvia McGill
  • George W. Rebok
  • Teresa Seeman
  • James M. Tielsch
  • Barbara A. Wasik
  • Scott Zeger
  • Linda P. Fried
Article

Abstract

Population aging portends a crisis of resources and values. Desired solutions could include intergenerational strategies to harness the untapped potential of older adultsto address societal needs and to generate health improvements for older adults. Despite the desire of many older adults to remain socially engaged and productive, the creation of productive roles has lagged. This report describes the conceptual framework and major design features of a new model of health promotion for older adults called Experience Corps®. Experience Corps operates at, and leads to benefits, across multiple levels, including individuals, schools, and the larger community. At the individual level, we propose a model based on Erikson’s concept of generativity to explain bow and why experience Corps works. At the level of schools, we propose a parallel model based on social capital. Experience Corps is a volunteer service program designed to improve the lives of urban childre and to yield health improvement for older persons. It illustrates how population aging creates new opportunities to address difficult social problems. This article explores how the linkage of concepts at multiple levels motivates a potentially cost-effective, feasible, and high-impact program.

Keywords

Health promotion social engagements Aging Social capital Volunteering Healthy aging 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Fries JF. Aging, natural death, and the compression of morbidity. N Engl J Med. 1980;303:130–135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cornman JM. Questions for societies with “third age” populations. The Extension-of-Life Working Group, the Gerontological Society of America. Acad Med. 1997;72:856–862.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Freedman M. Prime Time: How the Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America. New York: Public Afrairs; 1999.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fried LP, Freedman M, Endres TE, Wasik B. Building communities that promote successful aging. West J Med. 1997;167:216–219.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Herzog AR, Morgan JN. Age and gender differences in the value of productive activities: four different approaches. Res Aging. 1992;14:169–198.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Herzog AR, Kahn RL, Morgan JN, Jackson JS, Antonucci TC. Age differences in productive activities. J Gerontol Soc Sci. 1989;44:S129-S138.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Glass TA, Seeman TE, Herzog AR, Kahn R, Berkman LF. Change in productive activity in late adulthood: MacArthur Studies of Successful Aging. J Gerontol Soc Sci. 1995;50B:S65-S76.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fried LI. Health status and related care-seeking behavior of older women. In: Falik M, Scott Collins K, eds. The Commonwealth Fund Survey. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1996:175–204.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Freedman M, Fried L, Launching Experience Corps: Findings From a 2-Year Pilot Project Mobilizing Older Americans to Help Inner-City Elementary Schools. Oakland, CA: Civic Ventures; January 1999.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rebok GW, Carlson M, Glass TA, et al. Effect of Experience Crops Baltimore participation on young children, teachers, and schools: Results from a randomized pilot trial. J Urban Health. 2004;81:79–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Erikson EH. The Life Cycle Completed: a Review. New York: WW Norton: 1982.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Erikson EH, ed. Adulthood. New York: WW Norton; 1978.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    McNaught W, Barth MC, Henderson, PH. Older Americans: willing and able to work. In: Munnell AH, ed. Conference proceedings, Second Annual Conference of the National Academy of Social Insurance, January 24–25, 1990. Washington, DC: Kendall/Hunt; 1991.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gardyn R. Retirement redefined. Am Demographics, 2000;22:52–57.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Scheibel J. Recruiting the over-the-hill gang for national service. Soc Policy, 1996;27:30–35.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Powers M. Out to pasture? No way. Human Ecol Forum. 1996;24:12–16.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fisher BJ. Successful aging, life satisfaction, and generativity in later life. Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1995;41:239–250.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Antonovsky A, Sagy S. Confronting developmental tasks in the retirement transition. Gerontologist, 1990;30:362–368.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    McAdams DP, St Aubin ED, Logan RL. Generativity among young, midlife, and older adults. Psychol Aging. 1993;8:221–230.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sheldon KM, Kasser T. Getting older, getting better? Personal strivings and psychological maturity across the life span. Dev Psychol. 2001;37:491–501.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mor-Barak ME. The meaning of work for older adults seeking employment: the generativity factor. Int J Aging Huma Dev. 1995;41:325–344.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cumming E. Engageent with an old theory. Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1975;6:187–191.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Demos J. Old age in early New England. Am J Sociol. 1978;84(suppl):S248-S287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Fried LP, Carlson M, Freedman M, et al. A social model for health promotion for an aging population: initial evidence on the Experience Corps model. J Urban Health. 2004;81:64–78.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kawachi I, Berkman L. Social cohesion, social capital, and health. In Berkman LF, Kawachi I, eds. Social Epidemiology. New York. Oxford University Press; 2000: 174–190.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hemenway D, Kennedy BP, Kawachi I, Putnam RD. Firearm prevalence and social capital. Ann Epidemiol. 2001;11:484–490.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Putnam RD. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster; 2000.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kawachi I. Social capital and community effects on population and individual health. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;896:120–130.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kawachi I, Kennedy BP. Health and social cohesion: why care about income inequality? Br Med J. 1997;314:1037–1040.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kawachi I, Kennedy BP, Lochner K, Prothrow-Stith D. Social capital, income inequality, and mortality. Am J Public Health. 1997;87:1491–1498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kennedy BP, Kawachi I, Prothrow-Stith D, Lochner K, Gupta V. Social capital, income inequality, and firearm violent crime. Soc Sci Med. 1998;47:7–17.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW, Earls P. Neighborhoods and violent crime: a multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science. 1997;277:918–924.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kawachi I, Kennedy BP, Glass R. Social capital and self-rated health: a contextual analysis. Am J Public Health. 1999;89:1187–1193.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lynch J, Due P, Muntaner C, Smith GD. Social capital—is it a good investment strategy for public health? J Epidemiol Community Health. 2000;54:404–408.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Muntaner C, Lynch J, Smith GD. Social capital, disorganized communities, and the third way: understanding the retreat from structural inequalities in epidemiology and public health. Int J Health Serv. 2001;31:213–237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wasik BA. Using volunteers as reading tutors: guidelines for effective practices. Reading Teacher. 2001,51:562–570.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Frick KD, Carlson M, Glass TA et al. Modeled cost-effectiveness of the Experience Corps based on the pilot randomized trial in Baltimore. J Urban Health. 2004;81:106–117.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Syme SL. Psychosocial interventions to improve successful aging. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(5 pt 2):400–402.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Glass TA. Psychosocial interventions. In: Berkman LF, Kawachi I, eds. Social Epidemoology, New York: Oxford University Press; 2000:267–305.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas A. Glass
    • 3
  • Marc Freedman
    • 2
  • Michelle C. Carlson
    • 3
  • Joel Hill
    • 3
  • Kevin D. Frick
    • 3
  • Nick Ialongo
    • 3
  • Sylvia McGill
  • George W. Rebok
    • 3
  • Teresa Seeman
    • 1
  • James M. Tielsch
    • 3
  • Barbara A. Wasik
  • Scott Zeger
    • 3
  • Linda P. Fried
  1. 1.University of California at Los AnglesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Civic Ventures Inc.San Francisco
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimore

Personalised recommendations