Age-friendly communities in MA

The following communities have joined the WHO/AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, are in the process of exploring this option, or are implementing another age-friendly model.

Is your community missing from this list? Please contact us to let us know!

Download this fact sheet to learn how the MA Healthy Aging Collaborative is building a movement for an age-friendly Massachusetts.

Age-Friendly Boston

In May 2014, the City of Boston joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which is an affiliate of the WHO global network. In joining the network, Boston makes a commitment to create environments that promote healthy and active aging and a good quality of life for older residents. Over the next five years, the City will work with partners to assess its age friendliness, and then create and implement a three-year action plan. Key partners in this initiative include the UMass Boston Gerontology Institute and AARP.

Over the coming year, Age-Friendly Boston will be dedicated to getting out into the community and talking to a wide representation of older adults (e.g., neighborhood, ethnicity, income, age, etc.) with a goal of surveying 5,000 adults. This grassroots effort will help the initiative reach individuals whose voices may not always be heard. On February 28, 2015, Mayor Walsh hosted the first Age-Friendly Boston Civic Academy  to allow residents to engage with the City and its partners and make their voices heard.

Age-Friendly Boston is currently conducting a survey as part of a wider community consultation process to gain feedback that will inform the development of the City of Boston Age-Friendly Initiative Action Plan.

AgeWell West Roxbury

AgeWell West Roxbury promotes the development of an age-friendly community and the creation of successful aging-in-place strategies for West Roxbury, which is the Boston neighborhood with the highest concentration and number of elders. The initiative is funded by Ethos, a private, non-profit organization that promotes the independence, dignity and well-being of the elderly and disabled.

AgeWell West Roxbury collaborates with residents of all ages, local businesses, religious organizations and health and social service providers to build a community that is collectively activated around and responsive to healthy aging and local unmet needs. AgeWell West Roxbury offers a diverse array of evidence-based health promotion/disease management classes; social, recreational and intergenerational programs; and healthy food and friendships at little to no cost to participants.

Berkshire County

Berkshire County was accepted into the AARP / WHO Network of Age-Friendly Communities in May 2015. On June 1, the Berkshire County Age-Friendly Vision 2020 Task Force Hosted the Age-Friendly Vision 2020 Summit in Pittsfield. The task force is currently analyzing results from a recent survey to determine how Berkshire County could improve to help serve older residents.

The task force is a collaboration between the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and Home Instead Senior Care, in conjunction with Berkshire County Boards of Health Association, municipal Councils on Aging (esp. Williamstown, Adams, Great Barrington and Pittsfield), Be Well Berkshires, Mass Council on Aging, Berkshire Health Systems and Elder Services of the Berkshires.

In 2015, Pittsfield-based Berkshires Tomorrow received a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to fund the task force’s efforts to create and implement a five-year county-wide plan that adopts an age-friendly approach in the 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County.

Brookline

Brookline was the first municipality in New England to join the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The Brookline initiative is a collaboration between the Town of Brookline, the Brookline Council on Aging, and Brookline Community Aging Network (CAN_, a membership organization that serves older adults. The town undertook a six month planning process before submitting its application to the WHO.

Dartmouth

The Town of Dartmouth joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities in January 2016.

Martha’s Vineyard 

In June 2015, West-Tisbury-based Martha’s Vineyard Donors Collaborative received a two-year grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to fund the Martha’s Vineyard Healthy Aging Task Force and the Aging Friendly Island Planning & Implementation initiative.

The program’s goal is to make Martha’s Vineyard an Aging-Friendly community characterized by high levels of social engagement; civic participation; respect and inclusion for seniors in the built and natural environment. The Healthy Aging Task Force is bringing together a variety of stakeholders from the community including town selectman, health care providers, community service providers and councils on aging toward the common goal of creating an age-friendly Martha’s Vineyard. Through these efforts, the program will prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable members of the Island’s elder community.

New Bedford

The city of New Bedford joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities in July 2015. This effort is being coordinated by the New Bedford Council on Aging (NB COA), the City of New Bedford, and Coastline Elderly Services with support from Voices for a Healthy Southcoast, YMCA Southcoast, and U-Mass Dartmouth. The NB COA received funding from MCOA to assist with the technical aspects of the project. New Bedford Mayor Mitchell supports the effort and has requested support from all appropriate city departments.

The initiative is collaborating with the U-Mass Dartmouth’s Gerontology Department on the creation, dissemination, and analysis of a survey of New Bedford’s elders. As of May 2016, the survey is ready to distribute. Following this assessment, the initiative will begin to put an action plan together by prioritizing some of the focus areas.

Age-Friendly New Bedford is also working to educate consumers, community based organizations, and other interested individuals about the project on an on-going basis.  The NB COA and Coastline Elderly Services are sponsoring a Healthy Aging Fair on May 6, 2016.

Newton

The Town of Newton joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities in February 2016. The Newton Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Newton Department of Senior Services (NDSS) work to create and sustain Newton as an Age-friendly/Livable Community.

Salem

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) and the Salem Council on Aging/Senior Center are collaborating on the “Salem for All Ages” project. As a founding partner of Brookline CAN (Community Aging Network), JF&CS has been involved in Brookline’s  experience in becoming the first WHO age-friendly town in New England.

The “Salem for All Ages” project focuses on outreach to residents and organizations to spearhead conversations on what makes Salem a good place to grow older and what would make it better. Its goals are to:

  1. Build awareness of what it means to be an age-friendly city.
  2. Familiarize residents and organizations with the program, services and resources that currently exist for older adults in Salem.
  3. Capture and report on information from residents and organizations about what makes Salem a great place to grow old and what would make it even better.
  4. Develop a grassroots approach from which will emerge issues and ideas to make Salem more age-friendly.
  5. Target and implement projects whose early success generates momentum for ongoing organizing and change. These will involve residents in experiencing and/or fostering healthy aging and social/community engagement.

In June 2015, the city of Salem conducted an Age-Friendly Listening Session.

Villages

The Village model was first pioneered by Beacon Hill Village, which is a member-driven organization for Boston residents age 50 and over. Beacon Hill Village provides programs and services so members can lead vibrant, active and healthy lives while living in their own homes and neighborhoods. Since enrolling its first members in 2002, the Village model has spread to nine active communities in MA. Villages are in development in seven communities.

  1. Beacon Hill Village – Boston
  2. Cambridge at Home – Cambridge, Belmont, Arlington, Watertown, Somerville
  3. Carlton-Willard at Home – Bedford, Carlisle, Lexington, Winchester, Lincoln, Concord
  4. JP at Home – Jamaica Plain (Boston)
  5. Nauset Neighbors – Harwich, Eastham, Brewster, Orleans, Wellfleet
  6. Neighborhood Falmouth – Falmouth
  7. Newton at Home – Newton
  8. Vineyard Village – Martha’s Village
  9. Wellesley Neighbors – Wellesley, Needham, Dover, Natick, Weston

View all open and in-development Villages in MA

West Springfield

The Town of West Springfield joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities in November 2016.

Yarmouth

The Yarmouth Age Friendly Community Project began in July 2014 based on the Town’s acceptance as a member of the World Health Organization Age-Friendly Network. In the first year, the Yarmouth Age-Friendly Community Team (YAFCT) was formed with representatives from municipal departments, the regional school district, non-profit organizations, businesses, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School students, Cape Code Young Professionals, and citizens. The team will facilitate focus groups, educational outreach forums, surveys and a media campaign to engage and include all citizens in this community development initiative. The summary of findings report will include an analysis of all existing surveys and reports relative to the eight categories of an Age-Friendly community along with survey results and plan to be presented in November 2015. Resource allocation, grant solicitation and implementation will follow as part of the four year continuous improvement plan.

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