The age-friendly movement in Massachusetts reached a milestone this week as the town of Monson became the 100th community in the Commonwealth to commit to joining the AARP network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.
The achievement closely followed Worcester, the state’s second largest city, making their commitment to joining the age-friendly network at a ceremony on May 11th.
Thanks to the leadership of their council on aging and with the support of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the town of Monson is working to become dementia friendly as well as age friendly through listening sessions and a community survey.
For the community of just over 8,000 residents, a cross-departmental group is being convened that includes the town’s planning department, public works, library, police and fire representatives. Currently, according to their application, about 28 percent of residents are over the age of 60.
The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative includes a count beyond the 100 cities and towns recognized by AARP of the state’s age-friendly communities. MHAC also includes those that joined via the World Health Organization (Brookline and Yarmouth) along with those that signed an age-and dementia friendly Community Compact agreement. Other communities are represented in regional collaborations such as on Martha’s Vineyard, Franklin County/North Quabbin, Pioneer Valley and others.