Episode 12 of the More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation podcast is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Every other week, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.  

Janet Waters, manager of the Intergenerational Workforce Project at Ascentria Care Alliance, is an encore fellow challenged with testing, trying, and learning about what it takes to engage and enlist people age 50 and older for volunteer and paid positions in the social sector. She knows that not only do those served by these individuals benefit from their wisdom, experience, and compassion, but the benefits for those 50+ go beyond the work itself.

Studies have shown that as little as two hours a week of volunteering can bring health benefits, “If you’re feeling like you’re making a contribution, you’re much less likely to be depressed. You’re much more likely to be resilient so when something does happen in your life that’s hard, you’re much more likely to say it’s okay, I can deal with this,” said Waters. “We’re understanding more and more that our phycological and emotional well-being is very tied to our physical well-being.” And this may be especially important for those over 50 who may be at the point in their lives where they are either looking for new experiences to energize themselves or want to make a positive difference in their communities.

Waters also emphasizes that volunteering, for all age groups, also has a positive effect on the organizations that allow it as part of their workforce’s routine. She points out that if employers permit their staff to volunteer as part of their workday, those employees think more highly of their employers, allowing for higher retention rates. And that may prove especially important for those workers that are 50+ who may be looking for the altruistic benefits that go beyond the paycheck.

Listen as Waters provides more about Ascentria Care Alliance’s journey in this area that results in differences being made in the lives of all ages in Episode 12 of the  More than Health Care Podcast  available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps

Resource for Becoming an More Age-Inclusive Organization

Waters and Ascentria Care Alliance developed their ability to engage 50+ adults through the Alliance's Second Acts for Strong Communities initiative. Use insight from the Second Acts cohort to begin developing your organization’s plan to actively recruit, include, and engage people from all generations. The initiative has produced a comprehensive assessment, set of action steps, and resources that encourage your organizations to think about several different factors, referred to as levers, that contribute to their inclusivity.

Access the toolkit online.

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations. 

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors. 

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, and Beech Acres Parenting Center. Cohosts Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and Tim Johnstone, executive vice president of community services at Ascentria, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration. 

Subscribe on  Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify

Learn more about the Alliance's efforts to improve population health and well-being.