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AARP, MA Elder Economic Security Commission Release Recommendations to Help Seniors

Mike Festa, state director, AARPMA, and member of the Massachusetts Elder Economic Security Commission.

Today, the Massachusetts Elder Economic Security Commission released a series of recommendations to address the issue of economic insecurity among Massachusetts seniors.

Mike Festa, state director of AARP Massachusetts, said the 26 recommendations released by the Commission (see the link to the full reporter, below), which is co-chaired by Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville) and Rep. Jim O’Day (D-West Boylston), will go a long way to helping seniors across the state.

AARP Massachusetts represents 800,000 members, many of whom are struggling with the same income, housing, health care, and long-term care affordability issues identified in this report. We commend the Elder Economic Security Commission’s work, and strongly support not only the establishment of an economic security benchmark to identify gaps between income and expenses for our senior population, but also the Commission’s policy and program recommendations, which will go a long way to protect the financial stability of our elder population.” - Mike Festa

Festa continued, "There are hidden pockets of real, dire challenge for seniors struggling to pay for their homes, health care, and other major expenses. Let's look at those gaps. It is frightening that more than 50 percent of seniors are struggling financially."

Read the full report here:  MA Elder Economic Security Commission Report

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Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville), co-chair, Massachusetts Elder Economic Security Commission

The mission of the Commission is as follows: "The Commission shall examine strategies to increase elder economic security and enable older residents to remain in the commonwealth and in their communities. The commission shall assess older adults' current levels of economic security, identify the policy and program options now available to older adults and consider best practices for enhancing elder economic security including, but not limited to, using measures such as the Massachusetts Elder Economic Security Standard. The commission shall assess current state and local programming and related funding needed to increase economic security for the growing elder population."


Members of the Commission include the following:

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  • Ellen Bruce, Director, Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Boston
  • Al Norman, Executive Director, Mass Home Care
  • Eileen Bogle, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging Inc.
  • Chet Jakubiak, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Older Americans
  • Carolyn Villers, Executive Director, Massachusetts Senior Action Council
  • Dr. Stephen L. Pinals M.D., expert in geriatric mental health
  • Wichian Rojanawon, financial services expert
  • Linda George, Executive Director, Mass Association of Home Care Programs
  • Commission co-chair Rep. James J. O'Day, House Chair, Committee on Elder Affairs
  • Wynn Gerhard, Legal Services attorney specializing in Elder Law
  • Matthew P. Albanese, Massachusetts Bar member specializing in Elder Law
  • James Wessler, President, Alzheimer's Association
  • Secretary Alice Bonner, Secretary of Elder Affairs
  • Commission co-chair Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Senate Chair, Committee on Elder Affairs
  • Michael Festa, State Director, AARP Massachusetts
  • John Chapman, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation



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