Listen to Ron's Interview with Jack Kupferman

The Life & Times of a Tireless Champion for the Aging

Episode description:

As a young boy, Jack Kupferman was always surrounded by older adults—his parents ran a rest home in upstate New York and his family lived in the back. It’s no surprise, then, that today Jack is at the center of a major online event next month to honor the nursing home lives lost as a result of COVID-19, while raising awareness of the need for nursing home transformation. As the volunteer President of the Gray Panthers NYC and a former attorney for New York City’s Department for the Aging, Jack has been an indefatigable fighter for the rights of older people. In today’s wide-ranging conversation with host Ron Roel, Jack will offer a healthy slice of his storied career—everything from local programs and projects to improve the lives of older New Yorkers, to global initiatives to tackle illiteracy in Nepal and help older women start microbusinesses in Pakistan. Throughout his life of advocacy, Jack’s passion has been to change the perception of aging and promote a deeper understanding of how pervasive ageism really is. You’ll learn of one of his dreams for the future: mobilizing older persons of the world to demand more of their governments, to secure their rights and claim their power. And, oh yes, Jack will reveal what it took to become a mid-life National Aerobics Champion.

Guest description:

Jack Kupferman is President of Gray Panthers NYC, an organization with a storied history of  fighting for the rights of all those who are aging. Jack, himself, has spent a lifetime as a champion for older people—locally, nationally and worldwide. Recently retired as an attorney in New York City’s Department of Aging, Jack has been leader in numerous high-profile initiatives and programs. For many years he served as senior attorney and administrative judge for the City of New York’s rental assistance program for seniors. He led the Gray and Green Coalition, a partnership of city organizations serving older people created to examine the link between environmental concerns and aging. He also worked with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau in the New York Region to identify efforts that could address the huge problem of caregiving and older women in the workplace. In addition, he helped create a summer internship program for college students to learn about today’s largely unrecognized “ism”—ageism. While overseeing the daily operations of the Gray Panthers NYC, Jack is currently at the center of the organization’s advocacy focused on the conditions in nursing homes, highlighted by the enormous number of resident deaths due to COVID-19. And his many activities span the world, including his efforts to ensure that the needs of older persons are included in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals—addressing concerns such as poverty, illiteracy, health care and lifelong learning.


To learn more about the Gray Panthers NYC, visit:

And watch this United Nations video, inspired by Jack Kupferman, where you’ll meet four amazing centenarians who will change the way you think about aging.

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