Creating Community for a Lifetime


News Release


Karen Hogan
Phone: 616.863.0009 Email:

Nationally Renowned Expert to Lead Area Wide Forum on New Vision of Aging

The statistics are eye-opening: by 2030, one in five Kent County residents will be age 65 or older, doubling the area's current senior population.

The growing number of older adults underscores a vast but largely untapped resource for strengthening communities, according to Marc Freedman, a national expert on aging and keynote speaker of "A New Vision of Aging: Engaged Older Adults Strengthening Communities," a first-ever, community-wide forum on aging scheduled for May 25, 2004 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, 1000 E. Beltline NE.

Freedman counters notions that a growing older population will cause a disastrous drain on public resources, and that retirement is a time of disengagement and inactivity.

"An older America does not have to be an immense burden to families, human services, or the health care system, or a time for individuals to retreat to the sidelines of society," he says. Rather, this impending transformation may well be a solution waiting to happen ö a vast windfall for our communities, and the spearhead for a new era of individual and social renewal.

complimentary forum is open to the public and is ideal for older individuals, service providers, neighborhood organizers, organizations using the talents of volunteers, elected officials, policy makers, educators, media and others interested in supporting the development of communities for all ages.

"Our rapidly growing elderly population will have enormous ramifications on everything from housing choices to health care resources to transportation" said Jo Murphy, chairperson, the Council on Aging of Kent County. "This forum will be the area's first definitive effort in sharing the community's perspectives on the impact of aging issues."

Freedman, author of Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America, is the founder of Civic Ventures, a national non-profit organization that works to expand the contribution of older Americans to society and to help transform the aging of America into a source of individual and social renewal.

In addition to Freedmanās presentation, the forum will feature an opportunity for attendees to provide "real-time" feedback on the impact of aging issues on them and the community via an interactive survey device.

Founded 30 years ago, the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan exists to help older adults and persons with disabilities live in their community with independence and dignity.

The Council on Aging of Kent County identifies and assesses the needs of the older population of Kent County, as well as strengthens the network of services designed to address those needs.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the oldest community foundation in Michigan, was founded in 1922. It continues to fund, initiate and lead programs that benefit the Grand Rapids area in the arts, community development, education, environment, health, and human services.