Our fourth forum on Healthy Aging was our most exciting yet!
More than 400 Massachusetts government and business leaders, policy makers, community advocates, and health and wellness providers convened on January 24, 2014 at the Boston Marriott Newton for “Healthy Aging in the Commonwealth: Charting a Path Forward," which we held in partnership with the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum. Welcome remarks were made by two of the state’s top influencers in healthy aging: Senator Patricia Jehlen and Representative James O’Day, senate and house chairs, respectively, of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.
At this year’s forum, we unveiled the highly-anticipated Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report: Community Profiles, the first-of-its-kind report to list nearly 100 healthy aging indicators for older adults in each of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns plus the 16 neighborhoods of Boston. The report was featured in a Boston Globe article on disparities in aging across the state.
Dr. Elizabeth Dugan, associate professor at the Gerontology Institute of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, presented the Healthy Aging Data Report with reaction from Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett and Massachusetts Elder Affairs Secretary Ann Hartstein. Rev. Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church and a board member emeritus of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, moderated the discussion, regaling attendees with the warning not to “let anyone take their joy” as they age.
The forum was also significant in that it launched a new website for the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative designed to connect professionals, advocates, senior activists, and communities in the field of healthy aging. We encourage you to join the website community and share ideas and resources online. On this website, you can also explore the Healthy Aging Data Report, including the Highlights Report, each of the 367 Community Profiles and interactive maps of the data.
Capping off the morning was keynote speaker Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D., director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. Coughlin engaged the crowd with examples of how the baby boomer generation is changing the way people age and the role of technology in helping to improve the aging experience.
In addition, a poster session highlighting 34 organizations doing healthy aging work across Massachusetts allowed many of the state’s hospitals, universities and non-profits to learn from each other and interact with decision-makers.
Here’s what just a sample of our attendees had to say about this year’s forum:
Presentations can be found below: