Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Dedham, Massachusetts, senior needs, age-friendly communities


Gerontology | Public Policy | Social Policy | Social Welfare


The Town of Dedham was first settled in 1635 and became the county seat of Norfolk County in 1793. Dedham is situated southwest of Boston and the Town shares a border with Needham, Westwood, and Canton. Dedham encompasses over 10 square miles and has a population of over 25,000 residents, about one-quarter of which are age 60 and older1 (American Community Survey, 2016).

Despite Dedham’s urban location, the Town is rich with natural resources, including several state parks, hiking trails, and the Mother Brook. Although today the Mother Brook is known to residents for the variety of outdoor recreational activities and green spaces along its edge, this brook served as the location for the first manmade canal ever built in North America. Commissioned in 1639 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop, the 4,000-foot ditch was created to connect the Charles and Neponset Rivers, and it helped fuel a prosperous milling industry for the Dedham area.

In addition to Dedham’s historical significance and beautiful landscapes, the Town is also filled with residents actively engaged in improving and enhancing the quality of life in Dedham. Livable Dedham, a grass-roots advocacy group established in 2015, is currently focused on transforming the Town of Dedham into an “age-friendly” community, a place where individuals of all ages and abilities can thrive. Livable Dedham recognizes that, like many cities and towns, Dedham’s population is rapidly aging, and to address this population shift, changes and adaptations are needed at the community-level to support older residents and engage residents of multiple generations.


Commissioned by Livable Dedham, an age-friendly advocacy group in the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //



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