Each May, the Administration for Community Living leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. For May 2023, UMass Boston Gerontology joined in the celebration by sharing stories of some of our favorite older adults.

Betty-Jane Scheff
Lincoln, Massachusetts

“Aunt B-J taught drama and dance, conducted social service research, and was one of Massachusetts’ first licensed psychologists. In retirement she has taken in Sudanese refugees, served on Red Cross’ disaster mental health team, and chaired her town’s affordable housing commission. She loves to hike, travel, and see family. Recently she reunited with Arlo Guthrie, who she once babysat for in Brooklyn.”

— Edward Alan Miller, UMB gerontology chair

Dorothy Enstrom
Oakland, Nebraska

“My aunt Dorothy turned 98 in March and is probably the matriarch of the family, as the oldest relative on my dad’s side. Every Christmas the cousins gather and listen to her stories about growing up on the farm. We learn so much family history.” 

— James Hermelbracht, director of UMB’s OLLI

Milly Guberman
Newton, Massachusetts

“Milly is my oldest friend at 101. She was a social worker and worked a while at Brandeis University. She lives independently, has a wonderful family and friends, and is sharp as a tack. For many years my wife and I would meet Milly to watch movies and eat ice cream every few months. She is a great example of the power of positive thinking and its impact on longevity.  She can tell me what it was like living through World War II and the Roosevelt years, the Great Society, and more. I treasure her rich lived experience and hope to enjoy her company for many more years to come.” 

— Marc Cohen, PhD, UMB gerontology faculty

Gary Siperstein, PhD
Director, Center for Social Development and Education, UMass Boston

“Gary has dedicated his life and work to improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The way he’s managed to merge dogged determination with a joy for daily life struck me the moment I met him 10 years ago, as a grad student finding a mentor I didn’t know I needed. I love his positive yet sarcastic personality, his lust for life and, more than anything else, how much he cares.”

— Jeffrey Stokes, PhD, UMB gerontology faculty

Millie Andreozzi
Barrington, Rhode Island

“Millie is my next-door neighbor. At 88, she’s lived in her house for six-plus decades and raised nine kids here. She remembers having to shoo her kids from the railroad tracks at the end of our street, which is now a bike path. I love sitting at her kitchen table, listening to her stories and laughing with her. Here’s someone who grew up using outhouses but now, when I’m away, she sends me Facebook messages.” 

— Lisa Watts, UMB gerontology staff

Marian Spencer, RN, MA
UMass Boston Gerontology faculty member, 1990-2013

“Marian was an inspiration to her colleagues and to her students. She had an infectious laugh and ever-present smile. She was a powerful advocate for long-term services and supports and for all community issues impacting older adults. She was a role model for productive aging, and I continue to draw strength from her memory.”

— Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, UMB gerontology faculty

Betty, Dick, and Charlotte

“My favorite older adults are a package deal: my mom (82), her brother (84) and sister (86). It’s amazing to see the friendship and love these siblings have for each other after all these years. Their parents, my grandparents, are at the center of how they continue to treat one another with respect and kindness.”

—  James Hermelbracht, director of UMB’s OLLI

Read more of our June 2023 Advances newsletter