By Harry S. Margolis
Organized by the indefatigable Tim Driver, founder of RetirementJobs.com, the Age Friendly Foundation, and AgeFriendly.com, hundreds of aging professionals, academics, medical providers, journalists and government leaders met at the Seaport Hotel on October 23rd to discuss the future of aging in Massachusetts. Driver's incredible slate of presenters included Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, industry leaders, Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, and Alexander Kalache, MD, Co-President of the International Longevity Centres Global Alliance.
There were a few common themes about the challenges of our increasingly older population voiced by speakers from many different perspectives:
- Inequity is a big problem; the wealthy can buy the care they need, there are some programs for the poor, and not much for the vast majority of Americans.
- We have over-medicalized elder care and invested too little in social supports; this is a very expensive approach.
- We operate too much in silos, health care professionals not talking to social service providers, who are not talking to private industry.
- Social isolation versus participation in community is a big determinant of our welfare as we age.
- Any solution will have to come through public-private partnerships.
- Workforce -- If we don't expand and better train and compensate the workforce that provides care to seniors, nothing else will work.
Here are some of the highlights: