Contemporary society has brought about a situation where older Americans have limited opportunities for contributory roles. They have limited involvement in the development and provision of services aimed to promote their own well-being and the welfare and well-being of others. This article examines the importance of contributory roles and functions in light of theoretical perspectives, social work values, and research evidence which indicates that life satisfaction and psychological well being of older persons is related to continued productivity and the opportunity to carry substantive social roles. This article reviews and discusses contributory opportunities for older persons as part of community service employment programs, sponsored volunteer programs, and associations of older persons and substantiates the benefits of these organized efforts for older Americans, sponsoring organizations, and service consumers. Continuation and expansion of contributory roles for older persons will improve the quality of their life, will reduce the extent to which they are considered a resource consuming national problem, and will contribute to the development of a conception which views older Americans as a valuable national resource.

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