This report describes collaborative efforts undertaken by the City of Newton Department of Senior Services, the Newton Council on Aging, The Senior Citizens Fund of Newton, Inc., and the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging, within the McCormack Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Beginning in Fall 2013, these organizations partnered to conduct a needs assessment study to investigate the needs, interests, preferences, and opinions of the City’s older resident population, with respect to living and aging in Newton. The focus of this report is on two cohorts of Newton residents—those aged 50 to 59 (referred to as “Boomers”), and the cohort of individuals who are currently aged 60 and over (“Seniors”).
During this assessment, multiple research methods were utilized to create a multidimensional overview of the City’s older residents that could be used to plan and implement current and future services for older adults in Newton. We began the process by examining public data from the U.S. Census Bureau to describe basic demographic characteristics, as well as economic traits, disability status, and living situations of older people living in the City. Early in the project we met with the Director of the City’s Department of Senior Services and members of the City’s Council on Aging to discuss and better understand their concerns about current and future aging-related needs of the City and their evaluation needs. We used information gathered at this meeting to develop the main research instrument—a resident survey, administered to a randomly selected sample of residents from both age cohorts. We also conducted two focus groups to obtain feedback from stakeholders who represent large ethnic minority groups (i.e., Chinese and Russian), regarding their issues and concerns about aging in Newton. Finally, we conducted a comparison of Senior Centers in five municipalities that are similar to Newton in order to assess how needs of older adults are met in other communities. Collectively, the contents of this report are intended to inform the Newton Department of Senior Services, other offices within the City that have a stake in the aging of Newton’s residents, and organizations that provide services to older people throughout the City. Additionally, those who advocate for older residents and community members at large will also find use for the information provided within this report.
Steinman, Bernard A.; Gleason, Hayley; Somerville, Ceara; Mutchler, Jan E.; Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts Boston, "Living and Aging in Newton: Now and In the Future" (2014). Gerontology Institute Publications. 103.