Hingham, Massachusetts, older residents, needs assessment
This report describes research undertaken by the Center for Social & Demographic Research on Aging within the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, on behalf of the Town of Hingham. The goals of this project were to investigate the needs, interests, preferences, and opinions of Hingham’s residents aged 45 or older. The contents of this report are meant to inform the Department of Elder Services, the Hingham Council on Aging and Senior Center, and the Senior Center Building Committee that was appointed in 2020. As well, organizations that work with and on behalf of older residents of Hingham will find this information useful for the purposes of planning and coordination of services. The report will also help to build awareness about issues facing Hingham among community members at large.
Substantial growth in the number of older Hingham residents has been growing. Already, more than 1 out of 4 residents of Hingham is age 60 or older. Future estimates suggest that by the year 2035, older residents will make up 39% of the community’s population. This central overarching observation—that the older population of Hingham is already large and will continue to expand—makes clear the importance of considering how well features of the Town, the services and amenities available, and virtually every aspect of the community align with the age demographic moving forward.
In responding to this demographic shift and anticipating future growth of older residents, the Hingham Council on Aging (COA) and the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at the University of Massachusetts Boston partnered to conduct a study to investigate the needs, interests, preferences, and opinions of the Town’s residents age 45 and older. As part of this assessment, we conducted key-informant interviews to hear from Hingham leadership. In addition, a sample survey was developed and administered to 5,000 Hingham residents age 45 and older. A total of 1,179 questionnaires was returned, reflecting a strong return rate of 24%. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources were examined in support of the project aims. Information from peer community Senior Centers was reviewed, as well.
A broad range of findings are reported in this document, highlighting the many positive features of Hingham as well as concerns expressed by older residents. The report is intended to inform planning by the Hingham Senior Center as well as other Town offices, private and public organizations that provide services and advocate for older people within Hingham, and the community at large. While many of our findings, and the recommendations that follow, intersect with the scope of responsibility of the Hingham Council on Aging, it is understood that responding to many needs and concerns expressed in the community will require the involvement of other municipal offices or community stakeholders, and some will require substantial collaborative effort.
Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //scholarworks.umb.edu/engage
Coyle, Caitlin and Gleason, Shayna, "Aging in Hingham: A Community Needs Assessment" (2022). Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging Publications. 73.