BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — Governor Deval Patrick today met with an audience of seniors, service providers, aging experts and advocates to talk about the Patrick-Murray Administration’s “Aging Agenda.” In a town hall-style meeting, Governor Patrick stressed that the Massachusetts senior population will grow from approximate 20% of the state’s residents to 25% over the next decade, and that planning is essential to staying physically, financially, and emotionally healthy over the long term.
“Aging is a lifelong process that begins at birth and extends throughout our lives,” said Governor Patrick. “My administration is committed to eliminating age discrimination, promoting health and well-being, and supporting seniors who wish to remain in the workforce or want meaningful volunteer opportunities. The nine principles of our ‘Aging Agenda’ will engage seniors, the private sector, and local and state government to forge a path-setting partnership.”

Billed as a “Conversation with Governor Patrick,” the forum at UMass-Boston included the state’s Elder Affairs Secretary Ann L. Hartstein; Associate Professor of Gerontology at the UMass-Boston McCormack School of Public Policy Dr. Ellen Bruce; President and CEO of the Commonwealth Corporation Nancy Snyder; and President and CEO of Hebrew Senior Life Len Fishman. Panelists addressed three significant challenges facing seniors in the Commonwealth: the ability to find work, housing and supports, and economic security.

“The ‘Aging Agenda’ principles provide a guideline not only for seniors, but for all of us, because most of us will have the good fortune to grow older,” said Secretary Hartstein. “Aging is inter-generational, requiring participation by everyone to provide the best possible quality of life for all of us.”

The “Aging Agenda” forum was followed by a Q&A session with audience members.

The Administration’s nine “Aging Agenda” principles are:

•A society that understands the positive aspects of aging and theimportance of interdependence.

•Economic security through adequate earnings, savings, and basic financial skills.

•The best possible physical, cognitive, and mental health.

•Affordable housing, accommodating the changes in physical abilities.

•Managing one’s own life and fully participating in community life for as long as possible.

•Affordable, consumer-directed long-term services and supports.

•Adequate transportation options.

•Meaningful caregiver supports.

•Access to social assistance services and protection against abuse and neglect.

Elder Affairs Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Dorothy Vitale, who is also Executive Director of the Norwood Council on Aging, said, “Never before in our history have so many people lived such long and active lives and the ‘Aging Agenda’ sets a new course in meeting our new challenges. We all benefited from having an opportunity to talk about the future with Governor Patrick and the panel.”