Aging Matters Locally and Globallly

The Aging Matters Initiative is committed to enhancing quality of life for older adults who are poor, frail or incapacitated, and who have little support. The initiative is a forum for identifying and promoting innovative policies and programs that respond to housing, health, and social concerns. Aging Matters is a project of the Institute on Aging at Portland State University, and was created through a private gift by PSU alumni Dr. Keren Brown Wilson and Dr. Michael DeShane.

The Aging Matters project included a series of summits in 2011 facilitated by Oregon Consensus. It also included research and demonstration projects in Oregon and Nicaragua conducted by the Institute. The research will identify underutilized assets and strengths of individuals and communities to help older adults maintain independence. By studying the first-hand experiences of aging adults living at the margins, Aging Matters identifies sustainable responses to population aging.


An Aging Matters academic lunch brought together representatives of the Oregon academic community to discuss the future of Oregon’s aging population. In a separate one-day conference, agencies that serve aging adults convened to explore similar issues, and to hear a presentation by Susan Reinhard, Director of AARP’s National Policy Institute. The conference culminated in a “Catalyst Café” discussion based on a “world café” model, with ideas captured by a graphic facilitator. In both meetings, participants reviewed a timeline of events, trends, values, and forces that have influenced local and national policy development and services for the aging. The analysis informed a full-day summit of key thought leaders, who will identify innovative approaches for creating an intergenerational community by 2040.

For more information about Portland State University’s Aging Matters Initiative see

Oregon Consensus Project Lead

Laurel Singer
Oregon Consensus
Portland State University
(503) 725-9070


Laurel Singer
Nitya Wakhlu

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