Aging strong in Boston
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Ageism continues to adversely affect and influence the workforce. Boston’s Age Strong Commission is out to change. Its #AgeStrong multimedia campaign features eight Bostonians who personify healthy aging. Go behind-the-scenes and you'll see why these older Bostonians are a lot of things, but “OVER THE HILL” they’re not.

High-potential or seasoned? Digital native or old school? Terms like these creep into hiring discussions all over America as ageism, conscious or not, continues to influence workforce decisions. Boston’s Age Strong Commission is out to change the conversation – along with the tired “old” image of older adults – with a multimedia campaign that features eight Bostonians who personify what it means to #AgeStrong.

The city’s Age Strong Commission created the campaign based on feedback from 30 multilingual, citywide “listening sessions” with residents 50-plus. The campaign is part of the Commission's Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan and the first of its kind by a major U.S. city.

"Boston's reframing aging campaign challenges us to rethink older people and the words we use," said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. "This is one of many actions already taken by the city to be relevant for older people and include our voices, our stories, our experiences in solutions.”

The #AgeStrong campaign features four women and four men from 59 to 103 years old who lead lives that defy ageist labels. Join us behind-the-scenes and see why these older Bostonians are a lot of things, but “OVER THE HILL” they’re not.

Smiler Haynes

Smiler Haynes, 86, of Grove Hall/Boston

Smiler believes she’s in her prime, with at least “10 more good years.” She models professionally, volunteers with her church, practices tai chi and loves to dance. Smiler is a lot of things, and “OVER THE HILL” isn’t one of them.

Rob Quinn

Rob Quinn, 59, of South End/Boston

LGBT advocate. Recovery activist. Peer support group leader. Rob’s a busy guy. To keep his energy up, he rides his bike and takes Zumba classes at the YMCA. “When you’re of a certain age,” he says, “people assume you’re there for water aerobics.” Rob is a lot of things, and “HELPLESS” isn’t one of them.

Sandra Harris

Sandra Harris, 68, of South End/Boston

As President of AARP Massachusetts, Sandra has a packed schedule and an open approach to change – except when it comes to dyeing her salt-’n-pepper hair. Her attitude: “It's not about defying or denying aging, it's about owning your age." Sandra is a lot of things, and “INACTIVE” isn’t one of them.

Harry Pierre

Harry Pierre, 67, of Brighton, MA

A fun-loving guy who’s the life of every party, Harry is deeply devoted to his family and friends. He also volunteers with the city of Boston as a companion to other seniors in need. Harry is a lot of things, and “CRANKY” isn’t one of them.

Judy Yee

Judy Yee, 70, of South End/Boston

Still going strong at 70, Judy is a claims investigator for the Boston Parking Office. She’s also a self-proclaimed “fashionista” with an enviable accessory collection. Her fashion philosophy: Less is never more. Judy is a lot of things, and “FRUMPY” isn’t one of them.

Vinny Marino

Vinny Marino, 83, of Roslindale, MA

A restaurateur and pro boxer, Vinny earned a lifetime achievement award in April 2019 for his prowess in the ring. Well into his 80s now, he still hits the heavy bag at the gym and swims laps every day. Vinny is a lot of things, and “FRAIL” isn’t one of them.

Leo Romero

Leo Romero, 84, Fenway/Boston

Leo is owner and head chef of Casa Romero, a Boston institution and one of New England’s most beloved Mexican restaurants. After more than 45 years, he still runs the business, tends his garden and cooks up a storm. Leo is a lot of things, and “CHILDISH” isn’t one of them.

Irene Morey

Irene Morey, 103, of Charlestown, MA

Senile? Irene’s bright eyes and big smile clearly contradict that stereotype. A retired nurse who “takes plenty of vitamins” but no prescription meds, she paints, sculpts and draws every day. She uses a smartphone. And she has a boyfriend. Irene is a lot of things, and “SENILE” isn’t one of them.

Photos Courtesy of The City of Boston Age Strong Commission.

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