By Laura M. Connors
Baby boomers are turning age 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day and, if healthy, may well live another 30 years. The dramatic extension of life expectancy in the last millennium is prompting a whole new look at what “retirement” means and what life has to offer after retirement. The question for boomers today is not “Where will I live?” or “Who will take care of me?,” but rather “What do I do with the rest of my life?”
Beacon Hill Village is helping this growing demographic answer that question this spring with a series of three free programs at the Boston Public Library main branch. The public is invited.
“Fifteen years ago when our village first opened, we concentrated on helping people stay in their homes,” remarked Susan McWhinney-Morse, a Village founder and the inspiration for these programs. “Today we are focused on creating new pathways to staying engaged in life and active in our communities. We want to share how people in their ‘retirement years’ are discovering the wonderful opportunities ahead of them.”
McWhinney-Morse has noted, and she herself has exemplified, that with longer lives, better health and education and, remarkably, the greater wealth this population segment enjoys, retirement is no longer about rocking chairs and leisure. People are working longer in their professions and, if they retire, are finding new, satisfying pursuits that bring meaning to their lives and build on their achievements.
The Village has invited as speakers five unusually gifted and fascinating people—experts in the field of aging and volunteerism and two accomplished men who in different ways have continued to have an important impact on the world.
On Wednesday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m., Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, PhD, and Christina Matz-Costs, PhD, professors at Boston College’s School of Social Work and on the staff of BC’s Center on Aging and Work, will share their observations on what it means to grow older and, as age is being redefined, how we can craft a rewarding and engaged later life.
On Monday, April 11, at 4 p.m., former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis and Colin S. Diver will discuss their different ways of contributing to their communities beyond the normal age for retirement. Diver is the former special counsel to the late mayor Kevin White, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and, most recently, president of Reed College in Portland, Ore., before he returned to the Back Bay in 2012.
On Wednesday, May 4, at 5:30 p.m., Edgar Cahn, JD and PhD, distinguished law professor and former counsel and speech writer for Robert F. Kennedy, will present “Paying it Forward: A New Formula for Aging Well.” Professor Cahn is the creator and CEO of TimeBanks USA, a non-profit organization that has developed a way of giving and receiving to build supportive networks and strong communities.
About to celebrate its 15th anniversary, Beacon Hill Village is a non-profit membership organization of downtown Boston residents age 50+ who together are creating new resources and opportunities for leading vibrant, active and healthy lives as they age in their own communities.
Mark your calendars now for what promises to be a thought-provoking series to challenge your thinking and your own plans. For more information, call BHV at 617-723-9713 or visit www.beaconhillvillage.org.