A growing body of research indicates the benefits to cognitive functioning that come from stimulating environments and new learning. Yet current norms and social institutions often reduce opportunities for active engagement as people grow older. Longer working lives and volunteer activities, in particular, benefit both individuals and communities. The Center’s research on engagement focuses on ways to scale interventions that promote volunteerism and longer working lives. We consider what types of work people find most satisfying and consider age-related changes in motivation. With support from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society, the Center has established a partnership with the leadership of the Santa Clara County, California, that enables research with a large and diverse workforce.

The Center’s work on engagement has linkages with the Financial Security Division, on the subject of working longer and the benefits of work to older individuals.