Gov. Baker Names DiStefano, Grape to Study Panel on Aging

Rosanne DiStefano, executive director of Lawrence-based Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley.

Tom Grape, chairman and CEO of Benchmark Senior Living, which operates Haverhill Crossings.

Tom Grape, chairman and CEO of Benchmark Senior Living, which operates Haverhill Crossings.

At least two people with Haverhill and Merrimack Valley connections are among those formally named Wednesday to the state’s first Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts.

Rosanne DiStefano, executive director of Lawrence-based Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, and Tom Grape, chairman and CEO of Benchmark Senior Living, which operates Haverhill Crossings, were among those named to serve.

“The notion that people are fully retired at the age of 65 is inconsistent with what I see around Massachusetts every day,” said Gov. 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.”

At a ceremony at MIT AgeLab in Cambridge, Baker signed an executive order establishing the council which will develop a plan to achieve the goal of making the Commonwealth the most age-friendly state. Older adults are the largest and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population and they will make up 23 percent of the Commonwealth’s population by 2035.

The council will be co-chaired by two social workers, philanthropist Eileen Connors and Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

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

Other members are Bill Caplin, retired insurance and financial planner, Transamerica Life Companies and Transamerica Financial Advisors; Ruth Moy, executive director, Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center; Joseph F. Coughlin, director, MIT AgeLab; Kevin J. Dumas, Attleboro mayor; Dan Henry, chief culture officer, Bright Horizons; Laura Iglesias, Geriatric Medicine, Baystate Medical Center; Steven Kaufman, clinical psychologist; Brian O’Grady, director, Williamstown COA and MCOA president; Janina Sadlowski, head of quality and regulatory, Philips Home Monitoring; Amy Schectman, president and CEO,  Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly; Tom Riley, president and 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; and Jay Ash, secretary of Housing and Economic Development.

The Council is expected to deliver a preliminary report to the governor by the end of the year.

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2 Comments

  1. Duncan Burns said:

    “The notion that people are fully retired at the age of 65 is inconsistent with what I see around Massachusetts every day,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. –

    The problem that Charlie doesn’t address are that older folks are FORCED to work for a variety of reasons, one of which their financial planning post-2008 financial crisis went to hell. In one stroke, The Federal Reserve Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) destroyed savers, most of whom were older. With a larger population of elderly, their representation in the workforce has exploded by 3% since 2008, returning us to the days of working until you drop dead.

    Throw in a bit of neo-fuedalism and the “eat cake” attitude of politicians, the systems are simply becoming more overwhelmed than they already were.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=dm4W

    • jack said:

      Not only that reason but many others. Some of these folks may have been sick and spent their retirement money to survive. Cost of living around here i not cheap and getting worse.

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