Easthampton, Massachusetts, Council on Aging, senior needs, age-friendly communities
Gerontology | Public Administration | Public Policy
This report describes collaborative efforts undertaken by the City of Easthampton Council on Aging (ECOA) and the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging (CSDRA), within the Gerontology Institute at the McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston. Beginning in Fall 2017, these organizations partnered to conduct a study to investigate the needs, interests, preferences, and opinions of the City’s residents age 55 and older. During this assessment, multiple approaches were utilized to compile information that could be used to plan and implement current and future services. We examined data from the U.S. Census Bureau and from projections generated by the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts to describe growth of the population in the past and changes that can be expected in the future. We developed and administered a survey for Easthampton residents age 55 and older, yielding responses from more than 1,800 residents. In addition, we collected insights from Easthampton leadership and other key stakeholders in the community. Contents of the report are intended to support planning and promote awareness by the Easthampton Council on Aging as well as other City offices, private and public organizations that provide services and advocate for older people within Easthampton, and the community at large.
A central finding of the report points to the substantial increase in the number of older adults expected to live in Easthampton in the coming decades. Projections suggest that by 2035, more than one out of three Easthampton residents will be aged 60 and older, compared to one-quarter currently. Growth in the number of older residents will heavily impact the Easthampton Council on Aging, given its mission. However, this central, overarching observation—that the older population of Easthampton is already large and will continue to expand—makes clear the importance of considering how well features of the City, the services and amenities available, and virtually every aspect of the community align with the age demographic moving forward.
Coyle, Caitlin; Mutchler, Jan; and Somerville, Ceara, "Easthampton Council on Aging Planning Study" (2018). Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging Publications. 31.