Melissa and Gary Tearney are passionate about making sure seniors receive the best care possible. With its living communities, health care options and support services, they believe Hebrew SeniorLife is "an amazingly diverse organization that helps seniors age the way they want to."
They challenge the stereotypical belief that aging is a struggle defined by diminished quality of life. "One of the beauties of HSL is our quest to turn that stereotype on its head—to focus on all that is very positive about aging," says Melissa.
HSL's success is due in large part to the kind of volunteer leadership that the Tearneys provide. Melissa has been involved with HSL for 15 years and is currently a member of HSL's Board of Directors.
In recent years they have turned their attention to HSL’s Harvard Medical School–affiliated Institute for Aging Research. "IFAR's research is really changing our understanding of the aging process," says Gary. "Their work has shed light on the mechanisms associated with loss of physical function in older adults so we can find ways to regain or slow the aging process, or deal with it more effectively when it happens."
As a physician-researcher himself, Gary gives generously of his time, as well. He serves as vice chair of the Research Committee advising IFAR faculty on operational as well as programmatic issues.
According to Melissa, "We both know that IFAR’s research is one of HSL's strengths and differentiates us from other senior service organizations. That's why we’re invested in making sure IFAR succeeds."