Dr. Elizabeth Abbott Carleton (1851-1925) was the founder of the New England Aid Society for the Aged and Friendless, later known as the Home for Aged Couples, the first of its kind in New England. Organized in January, 1883, and incorporated on May 20, 1884, the first home was opened in 1884 at 431 Shawmut Avenue in Boston's South End. Three couples were received in the home in 1884 and three more in 1885, reaching the limit of capacity of its former quarters. The beneficiaries of the home must be at least 60 years of age. The number of applicants is so great that the trustees are enabled to make careful selection, and preference is given to those over 70 years of age. Preference is given in receiving residents to those who have no children or other relatives who might care for them.
In an article from the Boston Daily Globe on May 30, 1887, it said that "Life in the institution is essentially life at home. The inmates are free to come and go, and receive visitors. So far as they are able to work about the place, the men in the garden and woodshed, the women in their rooms, sewing or caring in their husband in sickness. One inmate is blind and another paralyzed, but good health is the rule. Preaching services are held on the second and fourth Sundays in each month by pastors of various denominations, and services of song are held on the alternate Sundays. Musical entertainments are held from time to time in the afternoon. In the summer season horse car rides are occasionally given by the city mission, and harbor rides by the Young Men's Christian Association. The latter organization also sometimes provides carriage rides for invalids in the Home, and other similar provisions are made by the management of the institution. The inmates take their meals at the same table, visit each other in their rooms and stroll in company in Franklin Park or about the grounds of the home."
The home moved to the former mansion of Edward E. Rice at the corner of Seaver Street and Walnut Avenue in Roxbury, afterwhich a large building designed by John A. Fox was built. The Home for Aged Couples merged in the late twentieth century with the Willard Home and moved to Bedford, Massachusetts where is has since been known as Carleton Willard Village. Dr. Elizabeth Abbott Carleton was a resident of Union Park in Boston’s South End, and a beloved physician and friend to the elderly of the city. The former site in Roxbury is now a part of Rogerson Communities, a non-profit organization serving low-income and elderly men and women through housing, adult day health programs, fitness training, and memory loss care and treatment programs. The Carleton monument is on Oak Avenue, adjacent to that of the lot for the Home for Aged Couples.