Facilitating Purpose Beyond the Self in Older Adults

Start time
10:00 AM (Pacific)
End time
11:00 AM (Pacific)

Presented by ASA’s Mental Health and Aging Network (MHAN)

ASA Members: Register now for FREE

Not a Member? Join ASA or Register for this event for $49

Includes complimentary CEUs

This web seminar is based on the 2017 Aging in America Conference (AIA) workshop “Facilitating Purpose Beyond the Self in Older Adults.”

Anne Colby, principal investigator for the Pathways to Encore Purpose research project at California’s Stanford University, and Jim Emerman, executive vice president of Encore.org in San Francisco, will present research on purpose beyond the self in older adults and offer information about innovative programming that supports this key feature of positive aging. They will discuss the meaning, importance, and prevalence of purpose within aging populations, and how purpose beyond the self manifests in older adults. They will also discuss how practitioners and organizations can help individuals—even those facing serious health and financial challenges—to develop purposeful engagements that help maintain a sense of well-being and positive contribution. Author and lecturer Helen Dennis, an expert on retirement and aging, will discuss implications of the Encore research that can have a positive and realistic influence on society’s view of aging.

Participants in this web seminar will be able to:

  • Articulate what “purpose beyond the self” refers to and how it differs from an individual’s sense of personal meaning;
  • Discuss barriers to and facilitators of purpose beyond the self;
  • Describe at least three types of resources available to older adults and two resources available to organizations that work with older adults to help this population to achieve their purpose goals; and,
  • Connect the concepts of older adults’ purpose and social contributions to their own work.


Photo of Anne ColbyAnne Colby is adjunct professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. A life span developmental psychologist and the author of nine books, she has written widely on the development of purpose, values, and moral character, from childhood through later adulthood.



Photo of Jim EmermanJim Emerman is executive vice president of Encore.org, a national nonprofit working to transform aging into a force for social change by harnessing the passion and experience of older adults for the greater good. He led the creation and running of The Purpose Prize for ten years at Encore.org before transferring the program to AARP this past year. He currently manages Encore.org's research and innovation portfolio.


Photo of Helen DennisHelen Dennis, a nationally recognized leader on aging and the new retirement, has been recognized for her teaching at the Davis School at USC’s Andrus Gerontology Center and for her contributions to the field of aging, community, and literary arts. She has helped prepare more than 15,000 workers for the non-financial aspects of retirement, and writes a weekly syndicated successful aging column, which reaches 16 million readers, for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.