Our City has a growing population of older residents, with projections that the number of older residents in Boston will comprise approximately one-fifth of the City’s population by 2030. It is critical that our next mayor enacts policies that support and empower our seniors to ensure they can age in place with dignity, have the social interactions they need to feel connected to our communities, and that their voices are included in City government.
- Prioritize older Bostonians in COVID-19 response and recovery. We know that our elders are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19 and Andrea will ensure the City meets the essential needs of those older residents who have been sheltering in place for months. Beyond prioritizing our elders in a vaccine rollout that is equitable across our neighborhoods, Andrea will deliver food access, transportation, social engagement, and care coordination by funding and expanding the City’s mutual aid initiatives. We also need to put older residents at the center of preparedness for future public health emergencies.
- Address the senior housing crisis. Our City’s housing crisis is well-documented and persistent and Andrea recognizes that older residents are particularly at risk of housing loss and displacement. To ensure our seniors are able to age in place with dignity, we need to fund resources to prevent housing loss, create housing that is suitable for older adults, support elder renters with tenant protection and access to legal aid, and assist seniors who wish to downsize with, for example, intergenerational housing opportunities. She will educate our senior homeowners about programs to help them stay in their homes including home repair, the circuit breaker tax credit, and property tax deferral and ensure these programs operate with the highest standards of excellence. We should also push our communities to operate with a village model that works closely with mutual assistance organizations to ensure our seniors have the support and connectivity that they need to thrive.
- Ensure older people’s voices are reflected in City policy. We need to ensure that our City government enacts anti-ageist policies and that our government’s practices and outreach are inclusive of residents from all demographics in Boston, including our older residents. As Mayor, Andrea will ensure communication about available programs is multi-faceted, linguistically accessible, culturally competent, and accessible via strengthened digital literacy efforts. Andrea will expand key programs like the City’s Civic Academy, reconvene civic leaders annually by implementing a citywide Civic Summit as she did when she was City Council President, and promote and expand the City’s Age Friendly Boston and dementia-friendly initiatives. Andrea will hire seniors in key positions in her administration to bring their perspectives to the work and will expand programming to connect seniors with different neighborhoods across Boston.
- Support our caregivers. We know that there are thousands of Bostonians providing care to elder adults and that caregiving can look like intergenerational homes, family caregivers, or nontraditional caregivers such as friends and chosen family. Andrea will provide resources and support to caregivers so that they can meet the emotional and material needs of older residents and push the State to expand eligibility for home care and help in the home.
- Support older workers. As Mayor, Andrea will create access to economic opportunity for our seniors, including connecting employers to older working adults and retirees looking for “encore careers.” She will foster aging entrepreneurship and increase awareness of rights, legal protections, and the accommodations to which they are entitled. Andrea will also ensure the City proactively connects employers to older workers and through creative partnerships facilitate opportunities for older workers to pursue “encore careers” or become senior entrepreneurs.