Posted by Kathy Burnes

I was recently at a party talking with a friend who is about to celebrate her 50th birthday. We were sharing our perspectives on the experience of growing older. Inevitably we got to talking about the kind of living situation we want for ourselves in our "later years."

It's a familiar topic of conversation. What do we do when the day-to-day activities and responsibilities we can handle now become more challenging? I shared with her a new initiative I am working on at JF&CS that offers insight into what's possible.

We are about to launch Aging Well at Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH), a partnership between JF&CS and RTH. RTH provides affordable housing, social and education services, workforce development, and community activism for more than 2,000 residents living in the Mission Hill community of Boston. Aging Well at RTH was developed with and for more than 600 older residents. Its goal is to provide services that make everyday life easier, safer, and more satisfying.

Ashley Boyd, the JF&CS Aging Well Program Coordinator, will train RTH Community Liaisons who are residents of RTH. They will receive a stipend from RTH to deliver hassle-busting services that seniors want. To start, Aging Well at RTH will help residents with organizing, cleaning, and moving tasks that are involved in preparing for regularly scheduled housing inspections and pest control. More support with tasks will be offered as the program develops.

My friend was intrigued by my explanation and she especially liked the term hassle-busting. Our conversation gave her a handle on what could help us to keep living where we want to as we age. For me, I was once again reminded how often my personal and professional lives are entwined!

Kathy Burnes is Director of the JF&CS Center on Aging in Community, which sponsors programs and projects that promote social engagement, mental health, and quality of life for older adults and their care partners. These programs build on the power of local communities to encourage positive aging through social connection, the arts, spirituality, and support. Prior to coming to JF&CS in 2007, Kathy worked as a senior research associate at Boston College's Center for Corporate Citizenship and at the National Center on Women and Aging at Brandeis University. Kathy also worked for AARP and Operation ABLE of Greater Boston. She has a BA from the University of Michigan and a MEd in Rehabilitation Counseling from Northeastern University.