A Healthy Aging Movement

Feb 26, 2014

By Michael Doonan, PhD, Executive Director, Massachusetts Health Policy Forum

Something exciting is happening. There is growing action, energy, and engagement of people and organizations to make Massachusetts a leader in healthy aging. The goal is nothing short of reducing isolation, banishing ageism, and promoting active and engaged lifestyles and opportunities throughout the lifespan.

Networking at poster session

There is a lot going on in Massachusetts, but it has not been coordinated and, therefore, many are missing out on programs and activities which could be enormously beneficial. Wouldn’t it be great to have a picture of all the healthy aging activities in the state and to have health status and other indicators of healthy aging by community?

Well wait no more.

This past January at a Massachusetts Health Policy Forum, the Tufts Health Plan Foundation unveiled a healthy aging data report, the first of its kind to provide data on health and social indicators for older adults in communities across Massachusetts. Go ahead and try it out. Just type in your town or city and see how your community is doing on nearly 100 indicators – from chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to wellness measures including doctor’s visits and immunizations.

The forum also showcased this new website, which is designed to connect people in the field of healthy aging. The impetus for both the report and the website came from a series of grass roots meetings and discussions from people just like you who were clear about the need for more and better information, along with the need to share what is going on and to learn from each other.

If you are a Collaborative member or have attended any of the past four forums on healthy aging, you are part of the movement. I encourage you to stay connected on this website. Here’s how: First, sign up on the website. It is easy and you will not be overwhelmed with emails! Second, ask a new question on the discussion forum or help someone else with a response to an existing question. Third, share information about your activities, upcoming events and resources, and encourage colleagues to engage as well.

Finally, if you missed the forum, you can check out the highlights in this short video and watch longer videos of full presentations, including an inspiring keynote from Joseph Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab.

I look forward to seeing you online. Together we are creating a movement to improve all of our lives.