For Immediate Release - April 12, 2017

Baker-Polito Administration Establishes Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts

State’s first advisory council on aging will guide administration policy to support healthy aging

CAMBRIDGE — Today, at MIT AgeLab in Cambridge, Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order establishing the state’s first Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts. The Council will develop a plan to improve public and private efforts to support healthy aging in Massachusetts, to achieve the goal of making the Commonwealth the most age-friendly state for people of all ages. Older adults are the largest and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population and they will make up 23% of the Commonwealth’s population by 2035.

“The notion that people are fully retired at the age of 65 is inconsistent with what I see around Massachusetts every day,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Many of our older adults still have ample time, energy and talent available to start a second or third career, volunteer in their community, become a mentor or pursue an unfulfilled passion. I look forward to the council’s work considering ways for the state to improve public and private means for supporting and engaging with older adults.”

The council will be co-chaired by two social workers, philanthropist Eileen Connors and Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, and is comprised of leaders across the business community, health care, technology and innovation, advocacy organizations, caregivers, and municipal leaders.

“Each municipality across the Commonwealth must be prepared to support an aging population,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “I look forward to the council’s recommendations on what the state can do to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of older adults, while protecting their right to live in respectful, inclusive communities, free of ageism.”

“Many older adults work, volunteer, and contribute to their communities through civic engagement,” said Eileen Connors, Council Co-Chair. “One in four people 65+ volunteer in a variety of capacities and continue to contribute to our state.”

“The Council will identify current effective and efficient practices, gaps in services and opportunities to support healthy aging,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services and co-chair of Council. “The Council’s plan will also include recommendations on improving public awareness of and access to services for older adults and family caregivers.”

“Healthy aging requires actively engaging with older adults as contributors to the social, economic, and civic fabric of our communities and encouraging physical and psychological health and well-being,” said Alice Bonner, Secretary of Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

“Increased longevity is among humankind's greatest achievements,” said Joseph F. Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab. “The challenge we now face is to live not just longer, but also better. Innovations being developed here at MIT and throughout the Commonwealth promise to improve life for older adults and their families. Moreover, these new technologies, services, and related businesses are fast positioning Massachusetts as the global leader in the fast-growing longevity economy.”

The Council will be supported by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The full list of Council members is below:

  • Eileen Connors, Philanthropist, Co-Chair
  • Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Co-Chair
  • Bill Caplin; Retired, Insurance & Financial Planner, Transamerica Life Companies and Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc.
  • Ruth Moy, Executive Director, Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center
  • Joseph F. Coughlin, Director, MIT AgeLab
  • Rosanne DiStefano, Executive Director, Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley Inc.
  • Kevin J. Dumas, Mayor, City of Attleboro
  • Tom Grape, Chairman and CEO of Benchmark Senior Living
  • Dan Henry, Chief Culture Officer, Bright Horizons
  • Laura Iglesias M.D., Geriatric Medicine, Baystate Medical Center
  • Steven Kaufman, Clinical Psychologist
  • Brian O’Grady, Ph.D, Director, Williamstown COA & MCOA President
  • Janina Sadlowski, Head of Quality & Regulatory Philips Home Monitoring
  • Amy Schectman, President and CEO, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly
  • Tom Riley, President & CEO, Seniorlink
  • Ger Brophy, Chief Technology Officer, Life Sciences, General Electric Healthcare
  • Beth Dugan, Associate Professor, Department of Gerontology, McCormack Graduate School, UMass Boston.
  • Betsy Howell-Hampton, Vice President, Population Health at Reliant Medical Group
  • Nora Moreno Cargie, President, Tufts Health Plan Foundation
  • Alicia Munnell, Director, Boston College Retirement Research Center
  • Kate Fichter, assistant secretary for policy, MassDOT
  • Alice Bonner, Secretary of Elder Affairs
  • Ron Walker, Secretary of Workforce Development
  • Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development

The Council is expected to deliver a preliminary report to the Governor by the end of 2017.

MIT AgeLab Description

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab is a multidisciplinary program that works with businesses, governments, and NGOs to conduct research that improves the quality of life of older adults and those who care for them. The AgeLab applies human-centered systems thinking to understand the challenges and opportunities of 100 years of longevity. Research focuses include emerging technologies, business models, and emerging generational lifestyles that have the potential to catalyze innovations in transportation, home and community, care, and retirement planning. Working with Member organizations, the MIT AgeLab seeks to invent life tomorrow.

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