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Mayor Walsh's Elderly Commission releases "Aging in Boston"

April 10, 2014

Elderly Commission

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Elderly Commission

Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh released “Aging in Boston,” a comprehensive report on Boston seniors  produced by the Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly in collaboration with the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at the Gerontology Institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston.  In addition, Mayor Walsh announced that the City ofBoston will join the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Cities Network.

“The over 60 population is growing rapidly inBoston. In fact, by 2030 one out of every five residents ofBostonwill be over the age of 60,” said Mayor Walsh. “This population has a strong legacy inBostonand they continue to contribute in important ways to life in the city. Yet too many of our seniors still struggle day to day as they face difficulties in maintaining their ability to continue to live independently.”

“At theUniversityofMassachusetts Bostonwe are committed to developing a growing body of knowledge that will address the wellbeing ofNew England’s older residents,” said Chancellor J. Keith Motley. “We are honored to collaborate with the Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly on this report, and we look forward to continuing to work together with the City ofBoston.”

Research staff at the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston performed all calculations and generated the report based on publicly available data obtained from the United States Census Bureau, the Boston Public Health Commission, and from the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). Projections for theBostonpopulation were generated by the UMass Donahue Institute and by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).

The report includes information related to the welfare of older adults inBostonwith data on age, gender, race, education, as well as income, housing situation, mobility, and health and disabilities. The report highlights an increasingly diverse senior community where nearly one in five older adults speak little to no English and live in linguistically isolated households. While many seniors have the resources they need as they age, 75 percent ofBostonseniors living alone have incomes insufficient to meet their expenses. Additionally, while there are many Boston residents who are still healthy and thriving, 50 percent of residents age 80 and over don’t have access to a vehicle and one out of five seniors age 60 to 70 report ambulatory difficulties.

Today Mayor Walsh also announced that the City of Boston will join the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Cities Network to better prepare Boston for the growth in the over 60 population.  In joining the network,Bostonmakes a commitment to create environments that promote healthy and active aging and a good quality of life for older residents. Over the next five years, the City will work with partners to assess its “age friendliness,” and then create and implement a three-year action plan.

“We are excited to finally haveBostonspecific data on this population. We look forward to working with our partner agencies to utilize this data to plan forBoston’s growing and diverse older adult population,” stated Elderly Commissioner Emily Shea. “We are one of the first cities inMassachusettsto join the WHO Age Friendly Cities and we are eager to get started and makeBostonan even better place to grow older.”

To view the full report, visit the City ofBoston’s Elderly Commission website at