Monthly Scoop: March 2020

March was our first virtual Boston Bridge meeting, and thanks to our panel of mentors – Adam Berman, Chief Operating Officer, Legacy Life Care/Chelsea Jewish Foundation; Sandra Harris, President, AARP Massachusetts; and Emily Shea, Commissioner, Age Strong Commission, Boston – and to the many who attended virtually, “March Mentor Madness” was a success. 

Adam, Sandra, and Emily shared with us the details of their particular work in the aging field, how they got started, and the wonderful commitment they all feel to their careers. It was inspiring to hear and we thank them for their time. 


  • Boston Bridge Mentors
    • For those who could not attend our March meeting, please go to the Boston Bridge website to access the list of mentors for 2020 and read the instructions on how to be paired with a mentor.
  • Boston Bridge Survey:
    • Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey for Boston Bridge. This is your organization, and the Board wants your professional development to be successful. Therefore, your input is important and this survey will help us serve you better.

For Our April Meeting: Maureen Bisognano will be our speaker for our April meeting which, once again, will be held virtually on Zoom. Maureen is President Emerita and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). She served as their President for five years, and prior to that served as Executive Vice President and COO for 15 years. She is a prominent authority on improving health care systems, advises health care leaders around the world, and has been elected into the National Academy of Medicine. Please be sure to join us on Wednesday, April 15th, from 6:00 – 7:30 PM.  Instructions to join Zoom will be sent with the RSVP forms closer to the date.


  • Joe Coughlin, founder and leader of the MIT AgeLab (yes, the one who graciously provides food for our meetings and conference rooms at Sloan School of Management), has written an article about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will allow people to have empathy for older persons. In these challenging times, it is a good reminder for all of us. Read Joe’s article here.  
  • As part of the assessment for the Age Friendly Boston Initiative, it was determined that many older people do not feel the government responds adequately to their needs. To help correct that and make local government more accessible and understandable, the Boston Senior Civic Academy was created. This blog explains how and why it got started, and how the participants are chosen.
  • Most people think about the Montessori philosophy as it applies to children in schools, but new initiatives are using this same method with patients experiencing dementia. The philosophy emphasizes self-directed activities that reflect a patient’s interests and abilities. Learn how this philosophy is gaining traction in housing facilities for older persons.   
  • If there is a large population of older persons in one area, and especially one housing facility, it is quite feasible to bring medical care to them rather than have them go to a medical facility or to their own doctor. It has been found that most older persons would use primary care practices located in their living community rather than go to a doctor that would require them to use transportation services. Innovative affordable housing with medical care may be a wave of the future. 
  • Intergenerational programs are win-win for all generations participating, providing energy and support. Boston Bridge is multi-generational with Gen X, Y, and Z all participating and providing encouragement for each other. So too with cultural intergenerational programs. This story about intergenerational orchestras proves the point
  • Elana Kieffer, co-founder of Boston Bridge with Barbara Friedman, is the Program Officer at the New York Academy of Medicine. She has written a “New Toolkit for an Accurate 2020 Census Count of Older New Yorkers”. Intended for professionals in the field, it is a way to assure participation by older adults in the 2020 census. Perhaps this can help your organization, too.
  • The Trump administration has changed the public charge rule which has been part of federal immigration law since 1999. New, stringent benchmarks will have the greatest impact on low-income, elderly immigrants of color. 
  • The UN and AARP Team Up for Age-Diverse Workforces” describes how an age-diverse workforce has huge economic advantages. And it is not just about hiring older workers; it is about including them in a multi-generational work environment.

Take Action

  • While the COVID-19 virus has created havoc in our world, it is also an opportunity for altruism and empathy to flourish. Boston Bridge members can be a force for good at this critical time. Some ways to show kindness for neighbors include: grocery shopping, volunteering to walk dogs, picking up mail or going to the post office, putting out trash, calling someone to say hi and offering assistance….and continuing to call for many days. 
  • Certainly, there are many other ways to show kindness as well. Do you have other ideas, or have you heard stories of kindness that you can share? Write

Please stay well and healthy. We look forward to “seeing” you on April 15th.

Barbara Friedman and Colleen Morrissey, Boston Bridge Board Members