Media Inquiry

Changing the Narrative is available to the media to provide background information, facts and statistics, infographics, personal stories or an expert perspective on aging, ageism and intergenerational workplaces. We are always happy to speak with the media to raise awareness about ageism and the recommended language to use when reporting on older adults.


For media inquiries, please contact:
Katie Reinisch, Progressive Promotions

In The News…

As Coloradans grow older, there’s a push for policies that benefit all ages
February 12, 2020

“People said, ‘That workplace discrimination issue that you’re talking about, that difficulty of finding a job? Happened to me, happened to my dad, happened to my partner,’” Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative, said about what she heard at every single session. “We started realizing that we couldn’t just talk about reframing aging to older people. We needed to talk about reframing aging to employers, and if you will, reframe the older worker in their mind.”

As Coloradans grow older, there’s a push for policies that benefit all ages
February 12, 2020

“People said, ‘That workplace discrimination issue that you’re talking about, that difficulty of finding a job? Happened to me, happened to my dad, happened to my partner,’” Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative, said about what she heard at every single session. “We started realizing that we couldn’t just talk about reframing aging to older people. We needed to talk about reframing aging to employers, and if you will, reframe the older worker in their mind.”

Workshop Aims to Address Ageism in Society
February 7, 2020

“The truth is ageism is everywhere, from boardrooms to courtrooms to classrooms,” said Janine Vanderburg, initiative director for Changing the Narrative in a release from the organization. “But all of us living longer and for the most part healthier lives, we must move away from outdated policies and systems that were established when the average lifespan was much lower. We can apply our spirit of ingenuity and innovation to think differently about how our communities can work for people of all ages. Rather than cling to myths, we should embrace older adults’ wisdom as the hidden treasure it is. he valuable experience of older adults can help solve our economic and societal problems. ”

Are Colorado Businesses Ready for the Aging Workforce?
February 2020

“Changing the Narrative, a NextFifty-supported campaign, educates businesses about the value of older workers, and the Denver Economic Development & Opportunity department is partnering with the AARP Foundation to help firms change their hiring processes so retirees can more easily re-enter the workforce.”

For a healthy aging workforce policy, look to Colorado
January 24, 2020

“Yet, policy alone does not shift public perceptions on aging and age discrimination in the workplace. In Colorado, the policy advances are being paralleled with an effort called Changing Narrative Colorado. This initiative is based on national research by the FrameWorks Institute, a non-profit that works to shift perceptions and increase public understanding around social issues.”

Successful Aging: How to fight ageism and change outdated attitudes
December 26, 2019

“This [Changing the Narrative Colorado) strategic communications and awareness campaign is designed to increase understanding of ageism and to change how those in Colorado think about aging. It is a movement that trains advocates, policymakers and other influencers in aging by using evidence-based communication tools and messages developed by Frameworks Institute and tailored for Colorado audiences. . . .Their goal: end ageism.”

Bridging generations, Cherry Creek students act as volunteer “geek squad” for retirement community 
November 28, 2019

“Janine Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative in Colorado, an anti-ageism campaign, said research on intergenerational programs is ongoing, but the most successful ones tend to start with a clear intention, like reducing ageism or social isolation. Done well, intergenerational programs can reduce the belief that older people no longer have anything to offer, she said.”

Older Coloradans are working longer and demanding an updated set of tech skills
November 19, 2019

“Changing the Narrative is tackling ageism locally. The campaign, which is funded by NextFifty and the Rose Community Foundation, wants to change how Coloradans talk about aging, starting with discouraging the use of the word “senior.”

“Those terms in and of themselves are not inclusive and carry a lot of negative stereotypes, including stereotypes that older people aren’t willing to learn technology, older people aren’t productive and so on,” said Janine Vanderburg, its director (who also thinks Senior Planet should ditch the S word). “The preferred terms are older adult, older person” and using a person’s actual age.”

Graying workforce, low unemployment changing way employers look for workers
September 3, 2019

“Last week the chamber hosted Karen M. Brown, director of the Age-Friendly Work Place Initiative, an offshoot of the Changing the Narrative Campaign, for a presentation to make a case for age-friendly and intergenerational workplaces to leverage the strength and talent of people of all ages.

More and more Americans are living longer than before, and many of them are keen on working beyond what were once considered retirement years, Brown said. It’s not logical to assume everyone turning 62 or 65 is looking to stop working, she said.”

Forbes: Ageism, A Moral and Personal Dilemma for Our Time, July 15, 2019

“So, how do we avoid ageism in ourselves and help to fight it? How do we change the conversation around aging itself? That is the question being asked by professionals in aging and the growing aging population at large in the U.S. in 2019.“

“In Colorado, the Rose Community Foundation has launched an awareness and communications campaign to create a “more just, inclusive and age-integrated Colorado.” It’s called “Changing the Narrative.” Their initiative is doing cutting-edge awareness building . . .”

KGNU: Womyn Air: Rethinking Aging, June 17, 2019

From the interview of Janine Vanderbury by Miriam Schiff: “Ageism can be directed at people of any age . . . but we know that ageism is significantly directed at older people. . . Research shows that (ageism) affects our physical health, our mental health, memory. If people are experiencing ageism in the workforce, it certainly affects their financial security and one of the things people don’t talk about much, but they should, is how it negatively it affects our workforces in our community. When, all of a sudden, we have a group of people who are pushed out and marginalized, the build up of experience, wisdom and strength they have is no longer being used by the employer, (and) that is harmful for communities as well.”

Grand Junction Sentinel letter to the editor: We need a comprehensive plan to deal with aging population, May 14, 2019

“Thanks to La Villa Grande Care Center for hosting an important event titled “Changing the Narrative..Ending Ageism. Together.” The event explored changing the way we think, talk and act about aging, a topic that hit home hard in Mesa County which is the second fastest aging county in Colorado.

About 30 local members of nonprofits, government agencies and senior communities took part in the event including some citizens just interested in aging issues.

Various census information shows 16 percent of our county living under poverty levels. Approximately 5,000 of those are 60 and over. While some excellent community organizations are available to help, the consensus was that many elderly falls through the cracks.”

Colorado Public Radio: More and More Coloradans are Still Working, But Their Jobs are at Risk, May 14, 2019

“In the Centennial State, nearly a quarter of all people 65 or older are still working, according to data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. That rate has doubled since 2000.

But at the same time, older workers risk job discrimination and even loss because of their age. That’s where Janine Vanderburg and her Denver-based campaign against ageism, Changing the Narrative, come in.

But even as the rate of aging coworkers rise, they still face a number of misconceptions, Vanderburg said. Some include being digitally incompetent, unwilling to learn, more expensive and less healthy, all of which are unsupported by research, she said.

“Generally, generational stereotypes are dangerous,” Vanderburg said.

These adversities and stereotypes are what Vanderburg targets with the Changing the Narrative campaign, which hosts workshops, management trainings and other outreach programs to advocate for aging workers.

Changing the Narrative even pushes back against certain kinds of language. Research shows that words like “senior,” “senior citizen” and “elderly” all trigger negative stereotypes in the public, Vanderburg said.”

KGNU: Changing the Narrative, April 25, 2019

“Changing the Narrative is a strategic communications and awareness campaign to increase understanding of ageism and to shift how Coloradans think about aging. By changing the way that people talk and think about aging and ageism, Changing the Narrative will be setting the foundation for more productive policies and practices that support well being for all of us as we age. They are having a photo contest and soliciting pictures of vital, engaged, active older Americans. Initiative Manager Janine Vanderburg talks with host Rae Solomon.”

Highlands Ranch Herald: A call for change in how we talk about aging, March 5, 2019

Column by Janine Vanderburg: “So why do we need to change the narrative about aging and older people? Here are three reasons:

  • The current stories that we hear in the media portray getting older as a time of decline and deterioration, and ignore the very real contributions that all of us can make as we age. Older people are often portrayed as “takers” who will bankrupt the economy, when the reality is that 42 percent of the state’s GDP is contributed by people ages 50-plus.
  • The persistence of these stereotypes often leads to workplace discrimination. A national study released in December found that 56 percent of people who had entered their 50s with stable employment were pushed out or laid off. At the same time, many companies in Colorado are desperate for workers to sustain their growth and our overall economy. Investing in and retaining older workers, instead of discriminating against them, is a way we can keep our economy strong.
  • Finally, we know that having positive attitudes about aging also gives us a longevity boost. Another study found that people who think positively about aging live on average 7.5 years longer than those who have a negative view.”

The Denver Post: Combating ageism in Colorado, initiative promotes older workers as a way to address state’s tight labor market, March 1, 2019

“Colorado’s unemployment remains low. The labor market remains tight. A lack of enough skilled workers to fill spots could be a drag on the economy. And Colorado’s over-65 population is the third-fastest-growing in the nation.

Janine Vanderburg will say challenges associated with the first three situations can be addressed in a significant way by the fourth. Armed with reams of research, personal stories of people across the state and backing from the Rose Community Foundation, the Next50 Initiative and other partners, Vanderburg is heading the initiative “Changing the Narrative,” whose goal is to change perceptions about older adults.

“Who decided that the prime working age was 25 to 54,” asked Vanderburg, referring to federal workplace data. “That’s a policy that was set a long time ago and it’s no longer relevant because we’re living longer and are generally healthier.

Vanderburg said research has shown that a diversity of ages can increase productivity; older workers can serve as mentors while younger workers can share their knowledge and skills.”

50Plus Marketplace News: Ending Age Discrimination, January 15, 2019

“Next Fifty Initiative and the Rose Community Foundation in collaboration with Partnership for Age Friendly Communities of Northern Colorado (PAFC) and A Little Help sponsored a seminar on age discrimination, aka Changing the Narrative in December at the Chilson Center in Loveland.

Janine explained common terms as Silver Tsunami, baby boomers, and seniors are not preferred terms with today’s older population. Another study on evaluating ageism conducted by the Frameworks Institute determined how the public thinks about the older population between 50 to 80 years old. The study concluded the older population is considered lonely and depressed, has health problems, relies on Social Security, doesn’t have enough money to survive, needs better instruction, not active, and feels it’s us versus them attitude. The public has cognitive holes on ageism and their social detriments.

What methods work in shifting our opinions on aging? Providing effective story telling methods help to change opinions and generate solutions against aging. Janine gave several examples of story telling.”

North Forty News: How Old Are You? Addressing Ageism, January 7, 2019

“ “Language is important,” she (Janine Vanderburg) insisted. “The words we use make a difference.” She’s an advocate of banishing the “senior” word in favor of “older adult” or simply being specific and using terms such as “55 and up or 55 and better.”

“We should celebrate old age,” Vanderburg said. “It’s normal. It happens to everyone and under the right circumstances, it can become an opportunity for growth and a time to make a contribution to society.”

Longevity Colorado: Why Ageism Exists and What’s Being Done About It, December 12, 2018

“Ageism is still a sanctioned form of discrimination. If you raise the issue of ageism, people will either laugh about it or say that you’re taking yourself too seriously. The FrameWorks Institute’s research found that a lot of people across the country don’t understand what ageism is or that it exists. So, it’s important that we’re getting the word out to as many audiences as possible that ageism is real and there are things that we can concretely do to overcome it.

With the launch of this ambitious campaign – our goal is nothing less than to end ageism in Colorado.”

No CoPay Radio: Changing the Narrative Colorado, October 6, 2018

“The thought behind Changing the Narrative is that the general perceptions of older people and aging are pretty negative and subject to a lot of inaccurate stereotypes.”

“How do we address this (the fundamental demographic shift to an older population) as a community? How do we both look at the challenges and the opportunities that that provides for us as a community? So what we are doing at Changing the Narrative are training people in new ways of messaging and talking about older people. We are trying to increase awareness that ageism exists and what it is,” explains Janine Vanderburg about CTN’s mission. “A lot of things about aging are actually positive and older people are not necessarily a burden and can be an incredible contribution to their communities.”

The Denver Commission on Aging honored Janine Vanderburg of Changing the Narrative CO and Joining Vision and Action with a 2018 Mayor’s Diversity & Inclusion Award, October 4, 2018

“For three decades, Janine Vanderburg has led consulting firm Joining Vision and Action, which has helped thousands of individuals and organizations involved in community and social change to strategize, hear from community, fundraise, develop leadership and evaluate impact. In 2018, she launched Change the Narrative in Colorado, a statewide strategic communications campaign to shift public perceptions about aging and ageism.”

9News: Changing the Narrative on Aging, September 9, 2018

“The Rose Community Foundation says it’s time to start treating older Americans as assets, not as liabilities and to do that we need to change how we talk about them. Many people may wonder why this matters. Instructor Janine Vandenberg answers that question in all of her “Changing the Narrative” sessions.

“Why should we care about this? Well, the first thing is, and I know that many of you working in this field are already aware of this, that by 2030, one in five Coloradans is going to be 65 and older. It’s a fact. It’s just a fact,” Vandenberg tells her students.”

Just a Number, an Interview with Janine Vanderburg about Changing the Narrative, June 8, 2018

“But right now if you listen to popular media, if you’re doing something like reading the paper, typically what you hear are narratives that pit younger people against older people, that have headlines like “Boomers versus Millennials”- that have a lot of zero sum thinking we’re either going to support programs for older people or we’re going to fund education for young children. And given that all of us are aging and that we have increased longevity in our country- actually a good thing, as it shows all of these advances in medical science that people are living longer- the public conversation that we should be having is “how do we make the most of this?” How do we bring that spirit of innovation and thinking about how we do things in new ways? And unfortunately we’re not there. And so the initiative that I’m running is basically designed to get people to talk about this and to share research-based methods of shifting public perception about what it means to get older.”

Changing Aging: An Interview with Alan Dempsey, June 2, 2018

“The reality is that we are living longer and healthier lives. And most of us do not feel like checking out at age 62 or 65. Those are basically just made up numbers from a time when people did not live as long.

The idea of just checking out when you have all of this strength and talent and experience seems a little bit absurd, not only for all of us who are aging, but also for the community to not have access to the talent that is out there.”

Stria News: Changing How We Talk About Aging: Moving from Research to Practice, March 27, 2018

“Leading organizations in the field are waging an uphill battle to transform the way society talks about older age.

“People don’t even know they are being ageist, as they equate the idea of aging with decline and disability,” said Janine Vanderburg of Colorado, one of the trainers, who has been assigned by the Rose Community Foundation in Colorado to deliver workshops to audiences that will include government agencies, policymakers and nonprofit organizations.

If the initiative works, advocates say, common media narratives about old age will be put to rest, such as singling out people who are novelties–like the 93-year-old who runs marathons–or stories that call out for pity, like the 72-year old with advanced dementia, whose spouse is too weak to lift her out of bed to bathe her.”

New Campaign Fights Ageism in Colorado, March 7, 2018

“Changing the Narrative will focus on three key strategies: training organizations and community leaders on effective ways to talk about aging, a social media campaign to challenge negative images of aging, and community organizing to challenge ageism. The campaign is based on in-depth national research on effective ways to change attitudes and perceptions.

“Americans are leading longer and healthier lives,” says Janine Vanderburg, who manages the initiative. “If we are a just society, how can we continue to push out people who have many creative and productive years ahead of them? Ageism hurts everyone, and this movement is about ending it.”

Rose Community Foundation Announces Changing the Narrative, an awareness & communications campaign, January 31, 2018

“Therese Ellery, Rose Community Foundation Senior Program Officer – Aging and Encore Network leadership team member shared news about a transformative new program:

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Rose Community Foundation partner initiative, Changing the Narrative, a cutting-edge awareness and communications campaign to create a more just, inclusive and age-integrated Colorado.

The project will be managed by Janine Vanderburg, who brings over three decades of experience in community and social change. Janine is a certified FrameWorks Institute Reframing Aging Trainer, a founding member of the Colorado Encore Network and a member of the national Network leadership team. She served two terms on the Denver Commission on Aging, where she led strategic planning to help Denver become an age-friendly community.”

Press Releases

New Colo. Program Certifies Employers to be “Age-Friendly”

February 19, 2020

DENVER, CO  – Beginning this month, the “Changing the Narrative – Age-friendly Workplace Initiative” (CTN-AFWI) is rolling out a certification program aimed at Colorado employers and businesses that are committed to eliminating ageism in the workplace. CTN-AFWI will help them adapt their policies, procedures, and programs so that they can become a “Certified Age-Friendly Employer” (CAFE). Read on about the CAFE program.