by Bryce Kirchoff, Director of Audience Development for Next Avenue. Next Avenue is public media’s first and only national journalism service for America’s booming older population. Bryce will be presenting on a panel alongside Jenna McDavid of the Diverse Elders Coalition at this year’s Aging in America conference. For more information on the conference, click here.
More than 40 million people have visited nextavenue.org since we launched five years ago. While many aspects of life have changed since then, the mission of Next Avenue remains the same: We unleash the potential of older Americans through digital media. Central to Next Avenue’s service — and success — is a recognition of the diverse needs, challenges and opportunities facing Americans age 50+.
That’s perhaps why my Next Avenue colleagues and I so deeply value the work of the Diverse Elders Coalition. Among the many individuals and organizations addressing issues related to aging in America, DEC stands apart in its unwavering commitment to making sure that all older adults have access to the communities and resources they need to thrive. DEC’s work has arguably never been more necessary. We live in a nation filled with people from diverse backgrounds who are growing older in large numbers. By 2050, nearly one in five Americans will be an immigrant. By the same time, the number of adults 65+ will double — to 84 million people.
How can we keep pace with these trends and connect older adults to the information and resources they need to not just survive, but thrive? A recently published DEC report provides a stellar blueprint for success. To be part of a nation that ages well, we’ll need forward-thinking public policy, community resources that match the diversity of its residents, and reliable data collection that can reliably reveal progress or areas that need improvement. By my estimation, we’ll also need dialog and a steady stream of trusted journalism to give voice to the myriad experiences and challenges of aging adults.
At next week’s American Society on Aging Conference in Chicago, IL, my colleague Susan Donley and I will be joining the Diverse Elders Coalition’s Jenna McDavid to present a special session about how digital media can advance the service of organizations that are devoted to helping aging populations. Together, we’ll explore where older adults exist in the social media landscape and share how organizations of all sizes can use their websites and social media platforms to more deeply connect with the communities they serve. Nearly two-thirds of Americans 65+ use the internet, and among those, 71% go online every day or almost every day. Those numbers will only increase as broadband becomes more ubiquitous and older adults continue gravitating toward smartphone and tablet devices. If you’re attending the conference, please consider joining us!
There are many important issues facing the aging community in coming years. Solutions to our challenges might not be easy to discern, but information, access, and support are often just a few clicks away.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.