Making Informed Choices about One’s Future

Almost 20 years ago Beacon Hill Village was formed to help older adults in downtown Boston lead vibrant, active and healthy lives while remaining in their own homes and engaging in their neighborhoods and community. Over the years BHV has provided countless opportunities for its members to connect with one another and to make choices on how they live.

Choices? How does one make informed choices that will positively affect his or her health and happiness when most people lack expertise in so many issues that affect them as they age?

In 2016 three BHV members, including Beacon Hillers Betsy Peterson and Karen Garvin, set out to find an answer to that question. Realizing that Beacon Hill itself has no shortage of experts, they decided to turn to them. The result is The Living Well/Ending Well series, a popular series now in its 4th year that include monthly presentations by Beacon Hill experts on topics in their fields. These lectures are then followed with opportunities to discuss and share experiences in small groups and workshops.

“By providing relevant, timely and expert information on some of the key issues related to aging, BHV can help its members make informed and independent decisions on how and where they want to live as they grow older,” said Executive Director Gina Morrison. “Our Living Well Ending Well (LWEW) series is critical to BHV’s mission.”

Each year the series has become richer and more varied,” said Beacon Hiller Barbara Roop, who now chairs the LWEW planning committee of seven individuals. Topics this past fall ranged from the aging brain to Medicare and palliative care. Upcoming programs this winter will focus on the aging eye, living options, advances in treating cancer, prevention of diseases and ageism.

“While the series has changed throughout the years, its goal has remained constant: to empower BHV members to make informed choices for living well today and planning well for tomorrow,” added Roop.

To reach a wider audience, the lectures are no longer limited to BHV members. The current series is now being offered in partnership with the Boston Public Library at the Central Library in Copley Square. “This partnership allows us to extend this valuable programming to the broader Boston community,” said Morrison.

The main lectures are held in the Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The small group conversations and workshops that follow a week later take place at the BPL where they are free and open to the public. Advance registration is required. The workshops are also held for BHV members only at 74 Joy Street on Beacon Hill. For more information, a schedule of events or to register in advance go to the list of events on or call 617-723-9713.

The Living Well Ending Well series, sponsored by the Beacon Hill Village in partnership with the Boston Public Library, continues this winter with afternoon lectures by three distinguished local experts in their fields. Free and open to the public, they take place in the Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.  Registration in advance is required at or by calling Beacon Hill Village at 617-723-9713.

Dr. Donald R. Korb, an internationally acclaimed clinician, lecturer, researcher and inventor, will lead a broad ranging discussion of age-related changes to the eye and technological advances in eye care on Feb. 18. He will focus particularly on “dry eye”, the most frequent reason for eye doctor visits, and the near miraculous story of developments in cataract treatment. 

Kate Granigan, chief executive officer of Life Care Advocates, will explore the wide range of housing options available to the aging on March 17. She will help sort out the options including independent living, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, as well as emerging creative technologies and intergenerational living arrangements.

Dr. Edward J. Benz Jr., an internationally renowned hematologist who is president and CEO emeritus of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, will explain how cancer develops and review the remarkable progress in understanding and treating this complex disease. His presentation will take place on April 21.

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