Aging Pioneer Dr. Vivian F. Carlin

Dr. Vivian F. Carlin, 93, died Aug. 4 at Attleboro Nursing Home in Langhorne, Pa.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 16, 1919, she graduated from Hunter College with a major in mathematics in 1939 and then received an MA in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1940. She married Benson Carlin, an ultrasonic engineer, in 1944, who predeceased her in 1996. After her marriage, she worked as a psychologist until the couple moved to Fair Lawn in 1953. There she was active in local politics, serving as president of the League of Women Voters from 1957-59 and running unsuccessfully for council in 1959 and again in 1960. In 1961, she ran successfully for County Committeewoman, serving one term. She moved to Princeton in 1965 with her family.

In 1969, she returned to work as a part-time specialist on housing for the elderly at the New Jersey State Division on Aging, eventually rising to be a supervisor in the Office of Planning and Policy Analysis on Aging for the NJ Department of Community Affairs, a position she held until her retirement in 1984. She became an advocate for congregate housing for the elderly, notably helping to develop the Congregate Housing Services Program which began as a demonstration project through act of the legislature in 1981. Twenty-five years later, in 2006, she was recognized by a special proclamation by Gov. Jon Corzine for advocating for the successful passage of this law and implementation of the program. In 1977, she returned to school to enter the Ph.D. program in Gerontology at Rutgers University, earning her doctorate in 1980 at the age of 61, the oldest member of her class. She was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1981 and participated in the New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Aging in 1990.

She was coauthor of three books on housing for the elderly, beginning with “If I Should Live to Be 100” in 1984, followed by “Where Can Move Live?” (1987) and “Should Mom Live With Us?” (1992), and sole author of “Can Mom Live Alone?” (1991). In 1993, she moved into Attleboro Lifecare Village in Langhorne, Pa. That same year, she developed and served as a consultant for the New Jersey Elderly Home Conversion program to grant low-interest loans to seniors to modify their existing homes to meet their needs as they aged in place. She served twice as the president of the Residents’ Council at Attleboro and remained in independent living through 2010.

Surviving are by her children, Robert of Lexington, N.C., and Richard of Glen Ridge, and a grandson.

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