Wenham Connects Committee
Marianne T. Cannon (2020)
Albert W. Dodge (2020)
LuBeth W. Keummerle (2020)
Ann M. O'Shea (2020)
Patricia A. Tremblay (2020)
Francois E. Wilhelm (2020)
James R. Reynolds (2020)
Peter Lombardi (2020)
Over the past year, the Town of Wenham has committed time and resources to becoming an age and dementia friendly community. As the population of Wenham ages, we are taking a proactive, solutions-oriented approach to face the challenges of aging together. Creating a more supportive environment for older adults creates a more inclusive and compassionate community for all. Our age friendly initiative is called Wenham Connects, building a vibrant sense of community for older adults.
Two well attended Listening Sessions for older adults were held at Town Hall in early 2018. Through these forums, residents shared their reflections about strengths of the town, challenges people are facing, and recommendations for making the town a more livable place for healthy aging.
Also, Wenham has recently been accepted into the Association for Retired Persons (AARP) Network of Age Friendly Communities. This designation acknowledges our steadfast commitment to be a part of this growing movement and provides a framework for our age friendly action planning efforts. To help identify short- and long-term issues related to aging in Wenham, we secured grant funding from the state last spring to engage the services of University of Massachusetts Boston Gerontology Institute Center for Social and Demographic Research to conduct a needs assessment.
This summer, UMass conducted focus groups and key informant interviews in Wenham. Considerable time was spent interviewing community stakeholders (Police, Fire, Council on Aging, Town Administration leaders) and focus groups that included a broad cross-section of residents and community organizations. The resulting report Planning for an Age-Friendly Wenham blends key demographic information with what residents see as essential for aging well in Wenham.
Wenham Connects: An age and dementia friendly needs assessment
We are very pleased with the results of this effort and are grateful to all of the participants for their thoughtful contributions. We look forward to integrating the findings from this needs assessment into a Five-Year Action Plan in the coming months. The results of the study will serve as a guide to Town Administration, Council on Aging and Board of Selectman in their planning efforts going forward to strategically advance relevant policies, programs, and projects that will have demonstrable impacts on improving the lives of our seniors.