Written by Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Boston has always been known as a strong city. A lot of our strength comes from our older residents, who represent a broad diversity of cultures and backgrounds, and who helped to make our city what it is today. That’s why we recently changed the name of the Elderly Commission to the Age Strong Commission. It better reflects the work we do, and the strong Bostonians we serve. We also launched the City’s first-ever Age Strong public awareness campaign. It’s an effort to combat negative stereotypes about aging, and highlight some of the incredible older adults showing what it means to age strong in our neighborhoods.
Older adults are one of our fastest-growing populations. In 2010, there were more than 88,000 residents over the age of 60 living in Boston. By 2030, this number is expected to exceed 130,000. As our population changes, the way we think and talk about aging should, too.
We have all heard negative and inaccurate messaging about aging. In Boston, we are confronting harmful labels like senile, inactive, helpless, and frail. These words don’t accurately describe Boston’s older adults, so we decided to combat these stereotypes by highlighting the positive, empowering side of aging through a bold public awareness campaign.
This fall, you will see the faces and stories of older Bostonians displayed on bus shelters, at City Hall, in our libraries, and on social media. This campaign features older adults from throughout Boston’s neighborhoods, including Sandra Harris, 68; Irene Morey, 103; Harry Pierre, 67; Vinny Marino, 83; Leo Romero, 84; Judy Yee, 70; Smiler Haynes, 86; and Rob Quinn, 59. These Bostonians have great stories to tell and important messages to share.
This is what I know about older Bostonians: they are leaders, changemakers, and problem solvers. They start trends and fight for causes they care about. Older residents contribute a lot to their communities, their families, and our city as a whole, and we are grateful for their energy and experience.
We invite everyone, of all ages, to join this conversation. Visit www.boston.gov/age-strong to learn more, and share how you age strong. Together we can make Boston the most age-friendly city in America, where all generations are included, valued, and empowered.
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.
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