Is Boston Ready for an Aging Population? New Local Survey Reveals Bostonians’ Concerned about Their City and Themselves as

  Is Boston Ready for an Aging Population? New Local Survey Reveals
  Bostonians’ Concerned about Their City and Themselves as They Get Old; New
  Website, Healthy Aging “By the Decades” Checklist and Aging Communities
  Toolkit Offers Help

 Pfizer and Generations United challenge people and communities to define how
                             they want to Get Old

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- July 11, 2013

More than eight out of ten people who live in the Boston area believe they
will live a long life but only about one-third of Boston-area residents feel
their community is very prepared to support an aging population. And while
two-thirds of Boston-area residents think the quality of life for seniors is
better now than in the past, there is an overall feeling of unpreparedness
around Boston-area infrastructure, according to a new survey commissioned by
Pfizer Inc. and Generations United, an intergenerational advocacy
organization. The general feeling of lack of preparedness is seen across all
generations – from Millennials to the Greatest Generation. With more than
10,000 people expected to turn 65 every day through 2030, community concerns
reflected in the survey centered on inadequate transportation, housing and
caregiving for older people. Only a small portion of respondents feel their
communities are very equipped in terms of healthcare facilities, home
caregiving, transportation, and housing for older people.

Aging well means living in a community prepared to support people as they age.
But 50 percent of respondents feel Boston is not at all prepared to provide
appropriate employment opportunities for an aging population and more than
four out of ten feel being old is something to fear. On a more positive note,
72 percent of survey respondents believe that people who work past retirement
age stay healthier longer and are happier.

“While we’ve seen many improvements in our society for aging populations in
recent years, there are still many hurdles that need to be overcome,” says Dr.
Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer. “The good news is that
there is a lot we can do to protect and enhance our quality of life as we age,
simply by committing today to healthy behaviors that help prevent or delay
chronic disease."

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and according
to the World Health Organization, eliminating three risk factors – poor diet,
inactivity and smoking – would prevent 80% of heart disease and stroke, 80% of
type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancers. Indicating an awareness of the importance
of healthy choices, only 50 percent of Boston-area residents are very
comfortable with their current physical health although 68% are generally
comfortable with their current age. Fewer than half (48%) are very comfortable
about their future and only about four in ten (42%) are very comfortable with
getting older in general. Interestingly, more Bostonians feel comfortable
telling people their age (77%) than talking about politics (44%) or religion

To encourage more people to take a more active role in their health at every
age, Pfizer is working with Generations United and others to ask Bostonians to
consider: how do you want to Get Old? Get Old is an initiative created by
Pfizer to encourage productive conversation and actions around aging and
living better. Bostonians can visit a new Pfizer-sponsored website at to join the conversation and to find information about healthy
aging. Pfizer has also developed a Healthy Aging Checklist, organized by the
decade, that provides simple health tips on everything from skin care to
preventive care for men and women from their 20s to their 60s. Grantmakers In
Aging has also created a series of toolkits, with the support of the Pfizer
Foundation, that can be accessed here: Age-Friendly Communities: The movement
to create great places to grow up and grow old in America; Aging Power Tools 
and Age-Friendly America for communities which want to develop strategies to
ensure their citizens have the transportation, housing, health care  and
employment opportunities needed to Get Old in their own community.

“Our communities should be places where we can grow up and grow old and where,
no matter what our age, we feel connected and engaged,” says Donna Butts,
Executive Director of Generations United, an advocacy organization focused on
improving the lives of children, youth and older people through
intergenerational strategies, programs and public policies. “Good communities,
like lives well lived, don’t just happen. They require careful planning and
nurturing. Let’s start thinking ahead to what Boston needs to do to prepare
for a healthy, older America.”

“The key to vitality at every age is being connected to each other and to our
community. Together we make a difference,” says Maureen Power, PhD Executive
Director of the Intergenerational Urban Institute at Worcester State
University. The IUI channels the energies of elder and traditional students in
service to the community. Its motto is “educated, engaged energized.”

“Jumpstart’s Community Corps program offers a unique opportunity for adults of
any age to get involved in service,” said Naila Bolus, President and CEO of
Jumpstart, a national early education organization headquartered in Boston,
that recruits and trains older adults and college students to serve preschool
children in low-income neighborhoods. “Our program helps older adults improve
their physical and mental well-being through the direct service they provide
to preschool children living in poverty. We offer them rigorous training
courses and give them a forum to build meaningful relationships with the
communities they serve, inspiring children, parents, teachers and their

Other key survey findings

  *66% of respondents in the Boston area agree their workplace values
    diversity of age but their top work related fear is not being able to
    retire when planned (61%), followed closely by a fear of not being able to
    get a new job (56%).
  *Only 30% of respondents feel the community is very prepared to provide
    appropriate healthcare facilities for older people and just 21% feel the
    community is very prepared to provide home caregiving.
  *Only 33% feel the Boston area is very prepared with transportation options
    for older people and just 17% see Boston as very prepared to provide
    housing for this population.
  *63% of Boston-area respondents feel U.S. politicians portray older
    generations in a positive way and more than half (51%) feel the media
    does, too.
  *A huge majority (92%) agree that technology allows you to stay connected
    with the people in your life but that it’s a lot of work to keep up with

The 2013 Get Old survey was fielded by Harris Interactive and included 300
respondents in Boston, ages 18-plus. The survey was conducted between March 25
and April 12, 2013.

About Pfizer, Inc.

Pfizer employs 2,112 in Massachusetts and has Research and Development sites
in Cambridge and Andover. At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources
to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their
lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value the
discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global
portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world’s
best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across
developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and
cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our
responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical
companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local
communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care
around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a
difference for all who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at


Pfizer Media:
MacKay Jimeson, 212-733-2324
Gray Media Group
Jen Daly, 860-398-3916
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