Governor’s Council to Address Aging Celebrates Five Years

BOSTON — In honor of the five-year anniversary of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging, Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, and Secretary of Elder Affairs Elizabeth Chen recently joined council members and stakeholders at a celebratory meeting to reflect on the strides made to support healthy aging in Massachusetts.

Co-Chaired by Sudders and philanthropist Eileen Connors, the Governor’s Council to Address Aging was established via executive order in April 2017 with the goal of making the Commonwealth the most age-friendly state for people of all ages. The final council meeting under the Baker-Polito administration was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Baker first signed the executive order that launched the council. 

“Over the past five years, this council has expertly guided our administration’s aging policy to ensure older adults are supported in communities across Massachusetts,” Baker said. “We have seen people come together across the Commonwealth to innovate and create a better future for all of us who are aging. As a result of the council’s hard work and diligence, Massachusetts is now among the most age-friendly states in the nation. As the age-friendly movement continues to grow, I thank the council members for their continued commitment to the well-being of older Massachusetts residents.” 

“It has been my privilege to serve as a co-chair as we explored the concept of optimal aging,” said Eileen Connor, council co-chair. “The council’s values, goals, and recommendations continue to shape policy, programs, and actions at the statewide, regional, and local levels.” 

“As co-chair of the council, I have heard from countless residents across the Commonwealth about what they feel is needed to age in community,” Sudders said. “Through these community conversations, we developed a blueprint to make Massachusetts the most age-friendly state, and over the past five years, this council has worked to make that plan a reality. Together, we are changing and improving what it means to grow older in the Commonwealth.” 

Chen added that “one of the goals of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Governor’s Council to Address Aging has been to embed aging in all policies and across all sectors. As more sectors think about aging, our culture has shifted, and we now view aging as an asset and an opportunity.”

Over the past five years, the council listened and learned from older adults and experts in aging, framed the vision and priorities for the work, dove into working sessions on specific areas, released 28 recommendations, and monitored the implementation of those recommendations.