The Positive Aging Coalition supports people in the second half of their lives who are transitioning into their Next Chapter. We facilitate connections that lead to community service, life long learning, meaningful work, self discovery and well being.

With the support of Fairfax County’s Long Term Care Coordinating Council (LTCCC), the Chesapeake Life Planning Network, Volunteer Fairfax, Leadership Fairfax and George Mason University’s Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Positive Aging Coalition is addressing the significant need for educating those who are transitioning into their next chapter.  The Coalition encourages opportunities for adults of retirement age to explore personal resources, attitudes, preferences, motivation, skills, and interests so that older adults can stay healthy, active, and connected to their families, friends, and communities.

Nationally, people in communities interested in these issues develop “NextChapters.”  To learn more about the “Next Chapter” movement, view the slides from Doug Dickson’s presentation at our June 2011 event “Exploring the Bonus Years.” Doug is President of Discovering What’s Next, a successful Next Chapter in Newton, Massachusetts.

The Coalition is currently actively supporting two interesting projects in the Fairfax community – The Lifetime Leadership Program offered through Leadership Fairfax, in partnership with Volunteer Fairfax and George Mason University and the Retirement Courses offered by George Mason University.

  • Lifetime Leadership Program (LLP) – People who have a wealth of knowledge  from their careers learn how to convert this experience into meaningful volunteer roles in their communities through high-level volunteering and community engagement. They are empowered to look at themselves in relation to their community-at-large, and encouraged to explore opportunities for civic awareness, community action and volunteer connections.
  • Charting the Course to Your Retirement – People who are transitioning to retirement will discuss topics such as – changing roles within their relationships, career and part time work, the value of community involvement, changing family commitments and enjoying a lifetime of leisure.  Through discussion, a workbook and exercises that promote reflection, they are provided with tools to create an individual, customized retirement plan.

Future plans include continuation of the LLP and Retirement Class projects.  Additionally, the Coalition plans to work more closely with our partners to provide an exploration of community engagement practices among the younger older adults who reside in Fairfax.  Questions to ask include: What might we do to connect the Boomer population to the unique needs of Fairfax non-profits?  How do we maintain these community connections?

Programs such as those listed above would normally be housed in a “Next Chapter” if one were to exist in Fairfax County.   The Coalition will continue to work closely with community organizations and non-profits to ensure that such workshops and programs are offered in Northern Virginia.