Aging with Dignity in a Supportive Community

On June 2, 2022, 2Life Communities, Element Care, and partner organizations and funders launched the construction for the redevelopment of the J.J. Carroll BHA building that will have 142 additional affordable units for older adults in Brighton

It was a beautiful day on Chestnut Hill Avenue in Brighton, where old and new colleagues gathered around the construction site of the John J. Carroll apartments. The Boston Housing Authority, 2Life Communities, and its partners, including MassHousing, the City of Boston, and Element Care PACE gathered in celebration of the unveiling of the redevelopment of the property. The building was chosen for modernization and currently holds 64 units; the new construction plans will create 142 new units and an 11,000-square-foot PACE center.

Amy Schectman, 2Life’s President and CEO, led the ceremony and started the event by bringing to the stage the city’s new Mayor, Michelle Wu. As a longtime housing advocate, Mayor Wu celebrated the planning process, which was inclusive of its residents in the design process. She then applauded the team’s collaborative efforts, choosing to partner with Element Care to include a PACE center on-site, ensuring these residents can age in place with the services they need. She closed her speech by switching to Spanish to ensure everyone heard her message.

L-R: Jennifer Crampton, Wells Fargo; Mayor Michelle Wu, Secretary Marylou Sudders

Secretary Marylou Sudders of the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services followed Mayor Wu, stressing the importance of upholding the value of respect. She described how we respect our older adults by ensuring they have affordable housing and long-term care in their community. She praised 2Life for its creativity and innovation and for making it a priority for residents to remain in their communities, stay active, be taken care of and thrive. Secretary Sudders, a supporter of the PACE model, described her vision of having more PACE/Housing partnerships: “We are taking this model across the State, we can do it in Boston, and we plan to do it across the Commonwealth.”

Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox of the MA Department of Housing and Community Development echoed Secretary Sudders’ praises for the PACE model of care for older adults, “a few retire in Florida, [but] most want to stay in the community with family and friends.” Amy Schectman described how PACE shares 2Life’s goal of focusing on “holistic and preventive care” and keeping residents in their units, adapting as they age, based on need.

At the Podium, Bob Wakefield of Element Care

MassPACE’s longest-serving Board Member and Executive Director of the Element Care PACE program, Bob Wakefield, closed the event with key takeaways – the importance of affordable housing, the strength of the PACE model, and collaborative efforts like the JJ Carroll renovation, that combine the two visions. Bob describes the JJ Carroll project as a particularly innovative partnership that he believes will “address the social determinants of health on a scale that has never been seen before.” With on-site amenities such as an urgent care center, Bob believes we are one step closer to eliminating the need for long-term care facilities.

The event’s energy was contagious. The group of people gathered at the event were those who worked day-in and day-out during the pandemic to ensure those they served avoided the deadly COVID-19 virus. Their tireless efforts allowed them to form and strengthen connections. Together, they are creating an inclusive and supportive environment that gives older adults the respect they deserve. 2Life’s board chair, Jeffery Sach, summarized the project ‘s mission: “to encourage aging with dignity in a supportive community.”