Changing the Narrative Press

highlands ranch herald logo

Every Age Counts! Winners Announced
November 29, 2021

“The Seniors’ Council of Douglas County and its partners, Changing the Narrative Colorado, the Douglas County Libraries and the Douglas County School District, worked together to support anti-ageism by sponsoring an amateur poetry contest called “Every Age Counts!”

The contest was open to Douglas County residents of all ages competing in several age groups. Contest materials were available in Spanish to encourage our Spanish-speaking residents to participate. A panel of judges composed of teachers, librarians and a published poet recently selected the winners.

Congratulations to Helen Ostrowski, Nic Hussey, Rebecca Hensley, Montana Moore, Gina Popolizio, Jolene Croall, Carol Reed and Ron Saatjian! Each poet captured his or her unique perspective and literary creativity in a poem that presented the positive aspects of aging. The partners and judges applaud your accomplishments and your willingness to take a stand against ageism.”

The Colorado Sun logo

What it’s like to hunt for a job in Colorado when you’re over 50
Older workers dropped out of the state’s labor force during the pandemic. Some say age discrimination keeps them from getting a new job
November 24, 2021

“In early 2020, Changing the Narrative was planning for a big year. The age-focused organization, funded by the NextFifty Initiative, spent the prior two years conducting workshops and gathering insight on ageism. The focus for 2020 was on age-friendly workplaces — and getting employers to publicly say they hire older workers.

“We literally had somewhere in the vicinity of 12 to 15 companies reach out and say, ‘Yes,’ because there’s a talent shortage. And boom. The pandemic, right? Everything shuts down,” said Janine Vanderburg, Changing the Narrative’s director. “A number of companies that had reached out to us basically said, ‘Call us back at the end of 2020.’”

But what may have hurt more was the narrative of older adults getting sick and dying of COVID.

“We had our highest elected officials, governors across the country, all of our elected public health officials saying daily: poor, weak, vulnerable elderly, poor, weak, vulnerable elderly. And they were literally defining elderly as ages 60 and 65,” said Vanderburg, who is 68. “It contradicts the underlying message of valuable older workers.”

There is social value and quantitative value. Older workers bring life experience, can provide mentorship or fit into managerial roles. Keeping older adults employed gives individuals a sense of purpose, which in turn has positive health outcomes, according to various studies.

There’s also the business case. Older workers tend to stay with their employers longer, reducing turnover and the costs associated with filling that role.”


The Denver Post

What roles should vaccination status, age play in decisions if Colorado has to ration health care?
November 21, 2021

“The concern is not only that the system could discriminate, but that it may not provide an accurate picture of people’s risk, [Janine} Vanderburg said. She said advocates for the aging community would like to see the supplemental points taken out, to put the emphasis on how well people’s organs are functioning.

“Being age 50 is no more a predictor of dying in the next year than if you’re younger,” she said. “That is, to me, the essence of stereotyping and discrimination.”

National Center for Women in Technology logo

Reshaping Underlying Ageism Beliefs
NCWIT re:think Magazine, Fall Issue 2021, article by Janine Vanderburg

“Why is it important to consider age and ageism as part of diversity, equity and inclusion? The world is aging and changing. A graph put out by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how the population is shifting. In 1960, we had a population pyramid, with a large number of younger people tapering up to a very small number of older people. In 2060, by contrast, it’s projected that that we will see relatively equal numbers of people across the age span.

This is a massive demographic shift, and it requires a new way of thinking about what the workplace looks like. It is not going to be a race to see who can attract the most young people. We’ve got to learn how to accommodate older people, and not just accommodate them, but about think about what kind of opportunities this shift could provide for us. Unfortunately, many of our current polices and practices are geared towards that 1960 pyramid.”

NBC26 Green Bay logo

‘Covid Hit Us Over the Head With a Two-by-Four’: Addressing Ageism With Urgency
November 5, 2021

“Tackling ageism at the grassroots level. In Colorado, Changing the Narrative, a strategic awareness campaign, has hosted more than 300 workshops educating the public about ageist language, beliefs and practices in the past three years. Now, it’s launching a campaign calling attention to ageism in health care, including a 15-minute video set to debut in November.

“Our goal is to teach people about the connections between ageism and poor health outcomes and to mobilize both older people and [health] professionals to advocate for better medical care,” said Janine Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative.”

NBC26 Green Bay logo

During the pandemic, ageism may have gotten worse in the workforce
October 26, 2021

“Early in the pandemic reports started circulating describing how many folks were opting for early retirement, because they were concerned about catching COVID-19. But many feel it had less to do with workers’ concerns and was rather related to management making decisions based on the age of their employees.

“Well, the reality is older people didn’t retire. They were pushed out or laid off or furloughed,” says Janine Vanderburg the Director of Changing the Narrative.

During the pandemic when media, politicians, and doctors drew attention to older folks’ vulnerability to the virus; Vanderburg says something drastic happened in the workforce. “What got planted in the minds of people, who maybe already have ageist attitudes about older people, is wow, we can’t have those people working,” adds Vanderburg.


Orange County Register logo

20 Years of Successful Aging: Here’s what readers wanted to discuss
October 24, 2021

“Some readers were insulted by birthday cards that made fun of aging, although they were in the minority. A caring wife was upset at what she considered insulting birthday cards sent to her husband she described as an “intelligent, charming and handsome husband.” He received jokey cards from each of his children on his 60th birthday. Another offended reader at age 77 called such cards “insipid and maudlin.” Yet another reader believes we need to change the narrative. “I love the humor but (the cards) I saw were crap.” She liked the anti-aging cards from “Changing the Narrative,” a non-profit organization committed to end ageism together. ”


Denver 7 KMGH logo

Studies show age bias in hiring increased during pandemic
October 8, 2021

“Ageism hurts us on every single level: it hurts us financially, hurts us health-wise because, and I think this is why it’s so hard to get people to go on camera,” said Janine Vanderburg, executive director of the group Changing the Narrative that works to combat ageism. “People don’t want to admit that they think that there’s something wrong with them instead of there’s a systemic issue going on which is called age bias.”


McKnight's Senior Living

Campaign Writes Off Stereotypes of Aging
October 4, 2021

“Attend “milestone” birthday festivities and you’ll notice certain trends: somber black decorations and talk of being “over the hill. Working in senior living, you know that there can be challenges to getting older. But for most people, aging is not necessarily a negative experience. I’m late to this party but just found out about a pretty cool initiative that is part of Changing the Narrative’s anti-ageism campaign.”


Untrained Wisdom podcast logo

Untrained Wisdom podcast: Anti-Ageist Birthday Card Activist Janine Vanderburg
September 14, 2021

Listen to an interview with Janine Vanderburg: “When we look at those birthday card racks, right, they have the ‘it’s all downhill’, they have people having medical problems. For women, especially, the images are really grotesque. So we’re like, ‘Why would you give a card like that to a friend?’ And we just started thinking, ‘Why not do an anti-ageist birthday card campaign?’ But it really started with Lori just saying. ‘Wow. I’ve been talking to people about ageism and, for the first time ever, I didn’t get one of those awful cards.”


Denver 7 KMGH logo

For some seniors, pandemic trials have brought renewal
September 14, 2021

Birthday card artist Sandra Bierman featured: “Now in her 80s, Ms. Bierman has spent the pandemic at a retirement community in Boulder, Colorado, where she grew depressed under the lockdown that began March 2020. Roughly a year passed, she says, before she conquered enough fear to leave her hallway.

Yet isolation also opened a new level of introspection. She says as months wore on she reflected on her goodness – her lifelong impulse to serve others. Volunteering to teach peers art classes via closed-circuit television last spring was proof. That September, she built up the courage to submit some past work to an anti-ageist birthday card campaign. She was accepted.”

Denver 7 KMGH logo

Many people retired early because of the pandemic than expected, many not by choice
August 27, 2021

“Janine Vanderberg is the director of a Colorado-based initiative called Changing the Narrative, a campaign against age discrimination, something she says has increased during the pandemic.

“They were laid off. They were pushed out. They had their hours reduced. They had their salary reduced. I’ve heard hundreds of stories of people who not only want to work, but need to work basically for survival and are not able to,” she said.”

highlands ranch herald logo
Certified Age Friendly Employers Value Maturity
August 27, 2021

“Currently, many businesses are missing out on the well-researched benefits of older workers. Older workers represent a deep pool of talent that is too often underutilized because of misperceptions and stereotypes that simply don’t hold up. Studies consistently show that older workers maintain their productivity and bring the soft skills — reliability, creativity, and a lifetime’s experience of adapting to change — employers seek.

Changing the Narrative has partnered with the Age-Friendly Institute to increase awareness of the critical role older workers can play in meeting our workforce demands. The Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE) program recognizes organizations committed to being the best places for older people to work and assists age 50-plus job seekers by identifying age friendly employers.”

Prime Time for Seniors logo

Tackling Workplace Discrimination
August 18, 2021

“In 2018, a national study found that 56% of Americans who entered their fifties with stable employment were laid off or pushed out; only 10% ever recouped financially. A recent survey by AARP found that 78% of people between the ages of 40 and 65 have either seen or personally experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

This is no surprise to Coloradans aged 50 and over. Since starting Changing the Narrative, we’ve repeatedly heard: “That ageism you’re talking about? It has happened to my dad, my partner, and to me.” A study we conducted this summer bears out this personal testimony: Nearly 1/3 of Coloradans age 50+ reported that they had experienced age discrimination.”

Next Avenue logo

How to Make Healthcare Less Ageist
August 17, 2021

A Changing the Narrative campaign aims to reduce ageism by doctors, hospitals and medical staffers

“We know we live in an age of unconscious bias, and people who work in health care aren’t immune to that,” says Janine Vanderburg, founder and director for Changing the Narrative, which is focused on ending all manner of ageism.

Her new campaign aims to bring ageism in health care to the attention of those who need it most: older patients who experience it and the health care providers who interact with them.”


Prime Time for Seniors logo

Take Hope: Combating Ageism, One Birthday Card at a Time
July 20, 2021

“[Erika Righter’s] latest line of cards, created during the pandemic with Janine Vanderburg, director of the anti-ageism campaign Changing the Narrative, offers a fresh take on birthday cards for older adults, which too often exploit self-deprecating tropes and shaming, showing older people as grumpy, fragile, ill or lonely. These cards turn those stereotypes on their heads.

To find artists for the series, Changing the Narrative held a contest for which applicants provided a statement about why they cared about the issue, their demographics and samples of their work. Winners were selected based on their portfolios and statements. The creatives chosen range in age from 16 to 82 and span races, genders and sexualities.

The cards have garnered national attention, with write-ups in big newspapers and magazines for older adults. Vanderburg delivered the keynote address at a national greeting-card convention, where she spread her anti-ageist message; she hopes that the project will inspire bigger corporations to cut back on demeaning cards and offer better alternatives.

“We’re not trying to be the birthday card police,” Vanderburg says. “We’re trying to say there’s a better way of doing things.”


Prime Time for Seniors logo

How Colorado is Tackling Age Diversity in the Workforce
May 31, 2021

“Unlike states that focused more on long-term care and health care and other traditional aging topics, here we had a focus on workforce,” says Janine Vanderburg, head of Changing the Narrative, a campaign to alter the way people think, talk and act about aging and ageism. “I am optimistic that despite post-pandemic worries, Colorado will be in the forefront of older workers.”

Her optimism reflects insights from a tantalizing moment just before the nation went into COVID-19 lockdown.

50-Plus-Marketplace logo

May is Older Americans Month! Ageism Theme: Communities of Strength
May 17, 2021 by Janine Vanderburg

“With the powerful theme of Communities of Strength as a rallying cry, is it time for all of us to make a renewed commitment to reframing aging and to rejecting terms that diminish older adults and reinforce negative stereotypes? Here are just a few words and phrases it’s time to discard, if you haven’t already: Senior, senior citizen, elderly”

Prime Time for Seniors logo

We Can’t Combat Ageism by Directing it at Younger People
May 11, 2021, by Janine Vanderburg

“I sometimes hear older people angry about their experience with workplace age discrimination comparing themselves to younger workers. “They don’t have a work ethic, they are entitled, they think they know everything,” they say. This is the classic us versus them narrative, in this case pitting generations against each other. We heard this a lot during 2020, with the pandemic sowing fertile ground for tales of intergenerational warfare.”

“Intergenerational connection and education is effective in reducing ageism against older adults. We cannot combat the very real problem of ageism directed against older people by diminishing the experience, insights and knowledge of those younger. It’s time to forge another path.”

Prime Time for Seniors logo

Changing the Narrative Releases Report on Older Adults in the COVID Era Workplace
April 24, 2021

“Our intent is that this report will be used to help inform programming and shape policies designed to assist people age 50+ gain access to meaningful work that fully uses their talents and abilities,” said Janine Vanderburg, Director of Changing the Narrative. “As the economy begins to return to normal, people will be seeking work and needing resources to do so. Now that we better understand the common characteristics, experiences, and needs of adults age 50+ impacted by COVID-19, we can inform employers, the state, local counties, workforce development centers, and nonprofits as they design solutions and programs that will help people age 50+ get back to work, benefitting older adults, employers, and Colorado’s economy.”

Prime Time for Seniors logo

Author Elizabeth White Reveals Workplace Discrimination Issues
April 12, 2021

“Changing the Narrative Director Janine Vanderburg and the Denver Public Library hosted a webinar on age discrimination in March. Janine interviewed book author Elizabeth White, a Harvard MBA graduate, aging solutions advocate, blogger, TedTalks speaker, and lecturer, on her 2019 book, “55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal.” Elizabeth discussed workplace age discrimination and the financial vulnerability of many older adults. The interview with Ms. White identified specific actions adults can take to push local officials and policy makers to prioritize these retirement income and workplace issues.

Janine indicated in a recent survey that many respondents had issues with workplace age discrimination and had no recourse as Federal laws don’t really protect older adults from workplace age discrimination. Elizabeth indicated one-third of laid off workers experience age discrimination. An Urban Institute survey indicated over 52% of workers over 50 years old were laid off. Unfortunately, over two million laid off workers gave up looking for jobs due to age discrimination issues.”

Loveland Reporter Herald logo

Survey suggests half of older Colorado workers are looking for jobs in wake of pandemic
March 31, 2021

“About half the Coloradans older than 50 who responded to a new survey said they are looking for work because of the pandemic. About half of those looking for a job are interested in changing their line of work.That tracks, as unemployment for older workers across the country nearly doubled from February last year to this year, according to the ageism-fighting nonprofit Changing the Narrative, a Colorado-based campaign against ageism in the workplace.”

“Now that we better understand the common characteristics, experiences and needs of adults age 50+ impacted by COVID-19, we can inform employers, the state, local counties, workforce development centers and nonprofits as they design solutions and programs that will help people age 50+ get back to work, benefitting older adults, employers and Colorado’s economy.”

Loveland Reporter Herald logo

Artists celebrate age with age-positive birthday cards​
March 22, 2021

“Changing the Narrative is a national movement that seeks to show how older people contribute to both the community and the workforce with their knowledge and experience. According to Director Janine Vanderburg, Colorado was the first state to establish a reframing aging initiative. Based in Hotchkiss, Vanderburg often travels to bring Changing the Narrative’s message to audiences across the state.”

“Out of 60 entries, two of the 23 card winners hail from Colorado’s Western Slope.” 

Beacon, The Voice of Adults 50+ in Western Colorado

Loveland Reporter Herald logo

Why There’s Nothing Funny About Ageist Greeting Cards
February 21, 2021

“We know that ageism is acceptable and embedded in our culture. Birthday cards seem to affirm that acceptability and Vanderburg wanted to do something about it . . . The goal is not to sell cards, but rather to start conversations about ageism. Proceeds are used to contract artists to produce original designs and to support educating people about ageism and workplace discrimination against older workers.

I asked Vanderburg about ageist cards as a vehicle for humor, allowing us to laugh at ourselves making sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Her reply, “My message is clear; don’t send ageist birthday cards.”

Loveland Reporter Herald logo

Loveland artist chosen for age-positive birthday card competition
February 5, 2021

“A Loveland artist was one of 23 winners of a birthday card competition put on by a Colorado initiative focused on changing the way people think about aging. A colorful card by Tobias “Mustang” Moreno was chosen by the Changing the Narrative organization, which is selling the winning age-positive cards on its website,, and hopes to get them into stores.”

Janine Vanderburg “said the idea behind the competition came from a talk she had with a volunteer who, after discussing ageism with her friends, received a number of normal birthday cards for her 70th birthday instead of the cards mocking older people that are common in stores.

“What those birthday cards do … is reinforce, in the minds of the general public, all the negative stereotypes of older people,” Vanderburg said.”

Colorado Community Media

2021 is the time to lead the charge against ageism
February 3, 2021

“During 2020, the need to talk about ageism . . . became clearer than ever. Consider how ageism was exposed during the pandemic. COVID-19 was originally dismissed as a disease affecting only older people . . . Older workers were pushed out of the workforce in higher percentages than any other groups. Personal protective equipment was not initially made available in congregate living settings . . . “

“Yet 2020 also demonstrated the resilience and contributions of older adults . . . Together, this has created an opportunity in 2021 to talk about ageism and its harmful effects . . . The good news? All of us have opportunities to address ageism.”

Prime Time for Seniors logo

Colorado Artists Create Age-Positive Birthday Cards as Part of Changing the Narrative’s Anti-Ageism Campaign
February 3, 2021

“It’s time to celebrate age! Older adults are often curious, active, and engaged, yet so many of my birthday card choices mock older adults or make aging seem like a period of decline, depression, and dependence,” said Janine Vanderburg, Director of Changing the Narrative. “The fact is, we are living longer and healthier lives that give us the chance to do more and become more. Older age has its own unique benefits to celebrate and now we’ve made cards to do just that.”

Thrive Global

KVNR Regional Newscast
February 2, 2021

On air interview (at 2 minute mark): Changing the Narrative director Janine Vanderburg explains anti-ageism campaign featuring greeting cards designed by locals like Cara Helmick of Orchard City & Lu Anne Tyrell of Montrose

Thrive Global

Local artists’ special birthday cards selected to be sold by the group ‘Changing the Narrative Colorado’
February 1, 2021

“In a media release from Jan. 25, the anti-ageism group “Changing the Narrative Colorado” announced that two local residents — one from Orchard City, the other from Montrose — were selected on a special project. That project is a collection of anti-ageism birthday cards. Two of the overall 23 artists selected were Cara Helmick from Orchard City and Lu Anne Tyrell of Montrose.”

“For Helmick, the opportunity to enter her card design into the contest came quickly after she discovered Changing the Narrative, and she was enthusiastic to take the opportunity.

“I was first introduced to Changing the Narrative Colorado when they did a seminar in Montrose about two years ago,” Helmick said. “That was where I was introduced to Janine Vanderburg (organization director) and all of them on Facebook and that kind of stuff, so when they offered the opportunity to do the birthday card campaign, I jumped on board.”

Grand Junction Sentinel logo

Talk of the Town: Grand Junction Sentinel features local artists in birthday card campaign
January 31, 2021

“Cara Helmick of Orchard City and Lu Anne Tyrell of Montrose were among the 23 Colorado artists chosen to have their works included on “anti-ageism” birthday cards produced by Changing the Narrative.”

Thrive Global

Anti-ageism efforts take form of birthday cards
January 30, 2021

“Changing the Narrative created a statewide initiative for artists to submit their own version of birthday cards that celebrate getting older. Recent studies, such as the National Poll on Healthy Aging from the University of Michigan, found that on a daily basis, 82% of older adults report experiencing forms of ageism. Other studies show how this may be harmful to our health: older adults who reported experiencing three or more forms of “everyday ageism” had worse physical and mental health than those who reported fewer forms of ageism.

The goal of the initiative is more than creating age-positive birthday cards. It’s to kickstart a conversation about something that will eventually affect everyone, which inspired Montrose winner and Baby Boomer LuAnne Tyrell to submit her cards.”

Thrive Global

New Colorado greeting card line celebrates aging
January 24, 2021

“Make it to your 30th birthday and chances are good you’ll receive a card adorned with black balloons telling you it’s all downhill from there. Which couldn’t be further from the truth, says the Denver anti-ageism group Changing the Narrative. The campaign is particularly frustrated with the racks of greeting cards perpetuating the notion that the older you get, the worse off you are: deafness, forgetfulness, crabbiness. Ageism isn’t funny, though, says the campaign. It’s harmful.

Last year, the campaign announced a contest for Colorado artists to create greeting cards that celebrate aging, instead of the all too familiar narrative that revolves around decline, depression, loneliness and dependence. The result is 23 new $6 cards that are available for purchase online at Anti-Ageist Birthday Cards.”

Thrive Global

Artists Promote Anti-ageism Birthday Card Campaign
January 11, 2021

“As older adults in Colorado, we are happy to be agile and healthy even during these trying times. We all want to spread the message and the attitude of positive aging and challenge “everyday ageism.” That’s the reason the anti-ageism group Changing the Narrative decided to produce age-positive birthday cards, designed by Colorado artists, that reflect the joys of growing older.” article by Janine Vanderburg

Thrive Global

Colorado Artists Create Age-Positive Birthday Cards as Part of Changing the Narratives Anti-ageism Campaign
January 8, 2021

“It’s time to celebrate age! Older adults are often curious, active, and engaged, yet so many of my birthday card choices mock older adults or make aging seem like a period of decline, depression, and dependence,” said Janine Vanderburg, Director of Changing the Narrative. “The fact is, we are living longer and healthier lives that give us the chance to do more and become more. Older age has its own unique benefits to celebrate and now we’ve made cards to do just that.”

2020 Press

Breaking the Age Barrier: Biden Can Move the Needle on Older Adults in the Workforce
December 30, 2020

“Americans hired a 77-year-old for President by electing Joe Biden. With the age glass ceiling now broken, it’s time for us to recalibrate our thinking and policies about older adults and work.

In Colorado, we have created a model for changing this dynamic so that our state can reap the benefit of intergenerational workplaces. Our approach can serve as a blueprint nationally” Op-ed by Janine Vanderburg & Tony Tapia

CAFE Certification Combats Workplace Ageism
June 1, 2020

“It may become easier for Colorado job seekers age 50 and older to identify employers where their seasoned skill sets are welcome and valued. Through Changing the Narrative, a Colorado-based initiative designed to prevent workplace ageism, businesses and employers that meet specific requirements can earn the Certified Age-Friendly Employer (CAFE) classification.”

Why People Really Start Businesses in Retirement
May 28, 2020

“The older independent contractors, Hershbein noted, are overwhelmingly highly educated and often come from managerial or professional occupations. What they’re frequently looking for, he said, “is more control over their life.”

That rings a bell with Janine Vanderburg, 67, of Denver, who left the consulting firm she ran in 2017. Now, Vanderburg is director and chief catalyst at Changing the Narrative Colorado, a campaign to increase understanding of ageism and shift how Coloradans think about aging.”

Changing the Narrative on Invisibility and Ageism
March 13, 2020

“Changing the Narrative focuses on the flipside of the invisibility my students and so many others experience: ageism. She (Janine Vanderburg) reminds us that exploring ageism allows us to focus on where solutions are possible. It invites each of us into reflection and creativity around the type of community we want for ourselves and one another.

Last fall, Changing the Narrative spurred on 60 “on the same pAGE” cross-generational conversations across Colorado, and beyond, bringing circles of friends, neighbors and coworkers together to talk about ageism. And it is getting ready to start the next round of conversations.

One solution Vanderburg was sure to highlight: look at people for who they are, and not through the many filters of assumptions and stereotypes you may have picked up over the years.”

Colorado workplaces can seek age-friendly stamp
March 7, 2020

“Colorado businesses committed to rooting out ageism in the workplace will be able to earn an “age-friendly” seal of approval under a new program managed by a nonprofit that is working to change perceptions about older adults.

The program by Changing the Narrative, an age-friendly workplace initiative, is part of a national effort by a Boston-based foundation that started the certification as a way to identify good places for people 50 and above to work. Colorado businesses, organizations and government agencies could soon join a list of certified age-friendly workplaces that includes The Honey Baked Ham Co., AT&T, Crate and Barrel, The Home Depot and Starbucks.

Karen Brown, the initiative’s director, said the idea to bring the program to Colorado grew out of a series of workshops and training sessions held across the state. In the sessions, led by Janine Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative, people said ageism exists and that it’s most prominent in the workplace.”

Changing The Narrative” trains workplaces to become be a “Certified Age-Friendly Employer” (CAFE)
March 4, 2020

“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).”

Why More Employers May Become Age-Friendly
March 3, 2020

“The unemployment rate of 3.6% nationally (2.5% or less in five states) means businesses, governments and nonprofits are scrambling to find workers and hold on to the ones they have. Combine this with an aging population and thinning numbers of young adults and “there will be no alternative but to recognize the value of older workers,” said Karen Brown, director of Changing the Narrative’s Age-Friendly Workplace Initiative in Denver, at the conference.”

The politics of aging leave a lot to chance in Colorado
March 3, 2020

“Janine Vanderburg, the director and “chief catalyst” for social change at Changing the Narrative Colorado, told me I’m thinking about this all wrong. “It’s not a problem, she said. It’s a solution.” Her organization is out to end ageism in the workplace and offers free training and recognition to those who make the effort. “Businesses are struggling to get workers,” she said. “They’re struggling to get good talent. How ridiculous is it not to consider older workers as part of your talent mix. . . People are living longer and we have a declining birth rate in Colorado,” Vanderburg pointed out. “If a Colorado employer thinks he’s just going to get more young’uns to replace young’uns, there’s not going to be enough young’uns there.”

The politics of aging leave a lot to chance in Colorado
February 27, 2020

“Janine Vanderburg, the director and “chief catalyst” for social change at Changing the Narrative Colorado, told me I’m thinking about this all wrong. “It’s not a problem, she said. It’s a solution.” Her organization is out to end ageism in the workplace and offers free training and recognition to those who make the effort. “Businesses are struggling to get workers,” she said. “They’re struggling to get good talent. How ridiculous is it not to consider older workers as part of your talent mix. . . People are living longer and we have a declining birth rate in Colorado,” Vanderburg pointed out. “If a Colorado employer thinks he’s just going to get more young’uns to replace young’uns, there’s not going to be enough young’uns there.”

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.”

2019 Press

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.”

2018 Press

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.”

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