Volunteers Sought for "Swampscott For All Ages" Committee

Volunteers Sought for "Swampscott For All Ages" Committee

Town of Swampscott

Office of the Board of Selectmen


October 26, 2018

CONTACT: Robert Powell

EMAIL: rpowell@allthingsretirement.com

PHONE: 617 290 5950


Over the next 12 years, the percent of Swampscott residents age 60 and older will rise from 25% to 33%, or from 3,446 to 4,858, an increase of more than 1,400, according to the Swampscott 2025: The Master Plan http://www.town.swampscott.ma.us/community-development/pages/swampscott-.... Based on this trend, Swampscott is slated to be one of the fastest communities to see a rise in its senior population in the Commonwealth.

To help prepare for major demographic shift, the Swampscott Board of Selectmen has approved the creation of a committee that will be charged with conducting a study and creating and implementing a plan to make Swampscott an age-friendly, an age-ready community. This committee – Swampscott for All Ages – is now seeking volunteers to help make Swampscott a more livable community for people of all ages.

“We know that our elderly population is increasing constantly. The Senior Center does a wonderful job of providing for their needs; but needs change with time. I believe the study will produce positive results and help us to keep up with the times. Our elderly population has taken care of our town for so many years and now it’s time that we, the town, give back to them. I do hope that concerned citizens will join in the study, share their ideas, and help to analyze and plan for both now and the road ahead.” said Marilyn L. Cassidy, Chairman of the Swampscott’s Council on Aging.

The Board has named Heidi Whear and Robert Powell as co-chairs of this committee and they are now seeking volunteers for the Swampscott for All Ages Committee, and its sub-committees.

"We are excited to build on the work of the 2025 Master Plan and begin efforts to make Swampscott a community that unleashes the potential of people of all ages and that promotes healthy aging and enhances life for people young, middle-aged and old. Our goal is to make Swampscott an age-friendly community with walkable streets, housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities,” said Robert Powell, Co-Chair of the Swampscott for All Ages Committee.

Ideally, volunteers will have a passion to help create a well-designed, livable community that makes for happier, healthier residents – for all ages. Moreover, volunteers will also have – though it’s not a requirement - knowledge of or interest in some or all the eight domains of livability: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings; Transportation; Housing; Social Participation; Respect and Social Inclusion; Civic Participation and Employment; Communication and Information; and Community and Health Services.

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities, these eight domains of livability influence the quality of life of older adults. The eight domains are also used as a framework and starting point by the U.S.-based towns, cities and counties that belong to the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.

As part of this process, Swampscott will apply to become listed in AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities (as have Salem, Boston and many other communities) and, in being named to the Network, help Gov. Baker achieve his goal of making Massachusetts the most age-friendly state in the U.S.

By way of background, AARP is an affiliate of the WHO’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program, which is an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for rapid population aging and the parallel trend of urbanization. That program has participating communities in more than 20 nations, as well as 10 affiliates representing more than 1,000 communities.

The Swampscott for All Ages Committee (and subcommittees that will be formed to represent the domains of livability) will be charged with overseeing the research activities of the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Gerontology Institute, Center for Social & Demographic Research in Aging, which will be retained to conduct a needs assessment, develop a demographic profile of a community’s senior population, obtain input from the senior and emerging senior population, and collect information about other Town Departments.

Committee and subcommittee members will be asked to assist – as needed - with demographic analysis, community forums, a sample survey, focus groups, and key informant interviews. Committee members will also be responsible for serving as Swampscott For All Ages ambassadors at community events other town committee meetings, whenever possible and will be asked to attend and take leadership roles at public forums as the plan is developed.

It is anticipated that the Swampscott for All Ages Committee will meet monthly through April 2019 and present the final plan at Town Meeting in May 2019. Thereafter, the committee will meet quarterly to implement and monitor the plan.

This committee in many ways will be charged with implementing subsections of the 2025 Master Plan that addressed housing, historic and cultural resources, open space, public facilities and services, transportation, economic development, sustainability, and land use/zoning.

Like the Master Plan, it is anticipated that Swampscott For All Ages plan will allow Swampscott to be proactive in the type of development and needs analysis that we want, rather than reactive. Like the Master Plan, local leadership participation is essential to the ultimate success of the plan. The Swampscott For All Ages Committee will have an active role in ensuring broad public input and participation by a diversity of constituents. In order to provide a broad representation on this new committee, the co-chairs urge representatives from various boards to volunteer as well as general residents.

This Committee will study and address issues that directly affect our growing senior population. However, all generations will benefit from efforts to create a more-friendly community for our seniors. That’s why the Committee is called Swampscott for All Ages.

Are you interested in helping make Swampscott prepare for an aging population? Have you been looking for a way to become engaged in the direction of the town? If this sounds like you, we’d love to have you on the Swampscott For All Ages Committee.

Letters of interest need to be submitted to Ana Lanzilli, Administrative Assistant to the Town Administrator & Board of Selectmen, by Monday, November 19th, 2018. The letters should state your interest to serve on the committee, why you feel you’d be a good fit, and your contact information. You may send this as an email to: alanzilli@town.swampscott.ma.us or by standard mail (Selectman’s Office, 22 Monument Ave, Swampscott, MA 01907). Due to timing, email would be recommended. The Board of Selectmen will make the final appointments to the Swampscott for All Ages Committee at a subsequent meeting. The Committee may start meeting as early as late November or early December.