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New civic engagement resource spotlights boomers, seniors

The Gerontological Society of Americas (GSA) latest book features the most comprehensive overview to date of volunteering and service activities among older people. This unique publication includes forward-looking essays by leading scholars in the field, supplemented by classic research articles from GSAs peer-reviewed journals.

Civic Engagement in an Older America is the capstone product of a multi-year initiative at GSA funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies designed to stimulate research on older adult civic engagement.

There has been such rapid development of interest in civic engagement in later life, said Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis, who co-authored the books introduction. The last decade has seen new program and policy initiatives, the birth of an academic area of research, and the burgeoning civic enterprise. This volume helps us consolidate these developments, take stock, and move forward in the most constructive ways.

The five main chapters of the book review the state-of-the-science to date for a particular area of civic engagement, address conceptual issues, identify research gaps, and provide direction for future research.

This integrative scholarship helps to advance a growing paradigm shift that views older adults not just as passive recipients of care, but also as people who do and can contribute to the well-being of others, said Emily Greenfield, PhD, of Rutgers University, who authored one of the books chapters. The publication's service as a go to source of previous work and contemporary insights will be helpful to many who are now working in the area of civic engagement in later life.

The subject of civic engagement among Americas seniors has received increasingly widespread attention. In his first 100 days in the White House, President Barack Obama signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009 the largest expansion of national service programs since the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The Act included several provisions that specifically benefit midlife and older adults.

Civic Engagement in an Older America can be purchased from the Online Store at Electronic versions of individual chapters also are available for download. Reporters may request review copies.

Contact: Todd Kluss
The Gerontological Society of America

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