In 1965, the rock band The Who gave us this iconic line in their anthemic 1960s song, My Generation:
“Hope I die before I get old.”
Well, anyone old enough to remember that song (and reading this column) obviously didn’t follow their advice — and those now-senior citizens are far from alone.
Just as the Baby Boomers (those born from 1945-64) had an outsize-effect on American life and culture because of their sheer numbers in the 1960s and 70s, so too, they continue to alter the landscape of American life as they reach their 60s and 70s.
For the first time in the history of the world, persons aged 65 or above outnumber children under five years of age.
That is why the announcement last week by the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) of the expansion of its neighborhood PACE program with the completion of a new location in Everett, located at the former St. Therese Parish on 801 Broadway, marks a milestone in the health care for our city’s senior citizens.
The goal of PACE (the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly ), which is administered by MassHealth and Medicare, is to provide a wide range of medical, social, recreational, and wellness services to eligible participants in order to allow participants to live safely in their homes and communities instead of in nursing homes.
The new Everett site will increase access to coordinated medical care, nutrition, rehabilitative therapy, recreation, and transportation services to help a diverse group of adults age in place.
There has been a 19% increase in the number of Everett residents over the age of 55 in the past 10 years. EBNHC has partnered with The Neighborhood Developers (TND), a community development corporation and nonprofit organization, to build the new site which is part of a larger development project including affordable rental homes and townhouses for sale at below-market price. (TND also redeveloped a park on the site to enhance its accessibility and functionality for residents.)
Thanks to modern drugs and medical advances, Americans are living longer than ever (athough the COVID pandemic slowed that growth in the past two years). However, living a longer life is not the same as living a better life. The American healthcare system and our nursing homes are being overwhelmed with the volume of senior citizens whose lives are being prolonged, but whose quality of life is not so great.
PACE aims to change that dynamic and we look forward to the ever-increasing role that the EBNHC’s new facility will play in the lives of our community’s senior citizens.