This report describes the collaborative efforts undertaken by the Town of Andover Division of Elder Services and the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging, within the McCormack Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Beginning in Fall 2014, these organizations joined to conduct a needs assessment to investigate the needs, interests, preferences and opinions of the Town’s older resident population, with respect to aging in Andover. The focus of this report is on two cohorts of Andover residents—those who are age 50 to 59 (referred to as “Boomers”) and the cohort of individuals who are currently age 60 and older (“Seniors”). Within the older cohort of Seniors, we also conducted selected analyses on subgroups (e.g., ages 60 to 79; 60 to 69; 70 to 79; and 80 and older) to highlight important differences by age group.
During this assessment, several research methods were utilized in order to sketch a multidimensional image of the Town’s older residents that could be used to plan and implement current and future services for older residents in Andover. We began the process by examining public data from the U.S. Census Bureau to describe basic demographic characteristics, as well as economic characteristics, disability status, and living situations of older people in the Town. Early in the project we invited Town residents to attend a community forum, to better understand how residents perceive current and future aging-related needs of the Town. We used information gathered at this meeting to develop a survey instrument to be administered to a randomly selected sample of residents from both age cohorts. We conducted two focus groups to obtain feedback from various stakeholders who regularly interact with older residents, regarding issues and concerns about aging in Andover. We conducted interviews with four key stakeholders to acquire input from local experts on the implications of the aging population, and the functioning of the Center at Punchard. We produced three maps depicting town resources that are perceived as assets to aging in place in Andover by older adult residents. Finally, we conducted a comparison of Senior Centers in three towns that are similar to Andover to assess how needs of older adults are met in other nearby communities. Collectively, the content of this report is intended to inform the Andover Division of Elder Services and the Center at Punchard, along with other offices within the Town with a stake in the aging of Andover, and organizations that provide services to older residents, as well as those who advocate for older people, and community members at large.
Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. http://scholarworks.umb.edu/engage
Steinman, Bernard A.; Somerville, Ceara R.; Khaniyan, Maryam; Gleason, Hayley; Yang, Mai See; and Mutchler, Jan E., "Assessing Current and Future Needs of Residents Aging in the Town of Andover" (2015). Gerontology Institute Publications. 110.