Scared of Aging? Read This.

A few enterprising souls have found smart, innovative ways to make it easier to age in America.

As the number of Americans who are 65 or older is expected to nearly double—to 83 million—between now and 2050, you'd think that policymakers, corporations, and gray-headed citizens would be busy rethinking how people should age. You'd be wrong.

In overhauling the way that older Americans should live, work, and travel around their communities, the default idea remains: Retire and move someplace warm. But a smattering of innovative programs at both the local and national levels are trying some intriguing—and successful—ideas to help the aged deal differently with housing, employment, volunteering, even finances. We've looked at dozens of these programs; here are 10 we consider the most worthwhile:

AARP's Experience Corps: In 20 cities across the country, AARP recruits volunteers ages 50 and older and trains them to work as literacy tutors in elementary schools. The volunteers receive training in child development and teaching, and must commit to working in a high-needs school for a year, spending six to 15 hours a week helping children in kindergarten through the third grade.

Read National Journal's in-depth profile here.

Advanced Leadership Initiative: Based at Harvard University and started in 2009, this institute enrolls accomplished professionals from various fields who don't want to retire and tries to prepare them for the next phase of their work lives. The institute considers this a new stage of higher education, meant to train older leaders—selected by the faculty—to think through large-scale social problems.

Beacon Hill Village: In 2002, a group of longtime Bostonians started a nonprofit network of senior citizens to help them age in their own homes. By paying $110 to $975 a year, depending on income and household size, members gain access to free exercise classes and social clubs, a community of like-minded seniors, and a small but dedicated professional staff that recommends nurses, plumbers, and such, and arranges for rides to buy groceries. It's like having a concierge who understands the needs of the elderly.

See National Journal's in-depth profile here.

Connecticut's Retirement Savings Proposal: A year ago, Connecticut lawmakers set aside roughly $400,000 to look into creating a state-run retirement plan for private-sector workers; never before has a state spent money on any such thing. Currently, about 740,000 workers, a quarter of the state's private labor force, have no access to a retirement plan through their employer of any kind. Policymakers hope to lay the groundwork for a plan available to allnongovernment employees that would automatically deposit a part of their paychecks into retirement accounts, managed for a low fee and with a guaranteed rate of return. Helping people to save rather than to rely entirely on Social Security, advocates say, would especially benefit small-business owners and the poor.

Read National Journal's in-depth profile here.

EnCorps STEM Teachers Program: This nonprofit organization recruits experienced private-sector workers in science, technology, engineering, and math—they've spent an average of 17 years in their field—and trains them to teach in low-income public schools across California. At first, the program was geared toward retraining workers age 50 and older, but EnCorps recently opened up its ranks to younger workers.

Read National Journal's in-depth profile here.

Experience Matters: This nonprofit group in Maricopa County, Ariz., matches workers who aren't ready to retire with career opportunities in the nonprofit sector. It's a local take on the national movement of Encore Careers, which encourages older workers to pursue a second phase of their career in service-oriented organizations.

Mercy Health System: Seven times, AARP has ranked this Wisconsin-based hospital as one of the best places for people who are 50 and older to work. A major reason is its "Work to Retire" program, which allows older workers with five years of company service to reduce their hours or to keep flexible schedules. Anyone who's at least 55 with 15 years of service can work seasonally while keeping their benefits year-round. That way, they can stay engaged in a career and apply their expertise while moving toward retirement.

Read National Journal's in-depth profile here.

National Institutes of Health: A few years back, the federal agency decided it needed specialized help in its grant and contracts department—the kind of expertise better left to agency veterans than to random contractors or freelancers. So, using money from the 2009 economic-stimulus funds, NIH managers approached recent and soon-to-be retirees—administrators and scientists alike—about staying on part-time. Now, NIH has a formal program that allows retirees to work 20 hours a week or less, part of it spent mentoring younger staff members. Rarely does an institution keep its aging top talent working part-time once they retire.

Read National Journal's in-depth profile here.

Senior Community Service Employment Program: Financed by the federal Labor Department, this program gives jobs to low-income, unemployed people age 55 and olderin local nonprofit organizations. Workers earn the minimum wage, while nonprofits and public agencies receive 40 million hours of service a year.

Senior Entrepreneurs: Sponsored by AARP and the Kauffman Foundation, this program teaches senior citizens in Miami, New York City, andOrange County, Calif., how to start a business. The point is to keep them engaged in the workforce while showing them a way to earn money as they age.

Read National Journal's in-depth profile here.