Best Practices in Family Life Education Programming for Midlife and Older Adults

Jacquelyn J. Benson, Allison K. Donehower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Due to dramatic changes in the U.S. population's aging demographic, family life educators have begun offering more programming for midlife and older adults. This shift began in the early 1990s, after several family scholars and practicing professionals urged the National Council of Family Relations to revise its Framework for Life Span Family Life Education to include “later adulthood” as a fourth age-group categorization. Since this revision, family life educators and family scholars alike have gradually expanded their programming and scholarship efforts to address the challenges and concerns associated with midlife and older adulthood. In this article, we review best practices in family life education (FLE) programming for midlife and older adults, including programming needs, program design preferences, and contextual variation. To conclude, we suggest future directions for research on best practices in FLE for midlife and older audiences and recommend using the life course perspective as a complement to the Framework when planning and designing FLE programming to meet the needs of the heterogeneous aging population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-594
Number of pages18
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • aging issues and families
  • family life education
  • gerontology
  • life course perspective
  • older adults


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