Making Tracks Toward Becoming Age- and Dementia-Friendly

Making Tracks Toward Becoming Age- and Dementia-Friendly


Image above: Carol Foote and Age-Friendly Franklin County & North Quabbin steering committee member Peggy Vezina show off a board that showcases the work of the local project at the gathering hosted by MACHHAF and HRIA.

Over the last two years, the Age-Friendly Franklin County and North Quabbin project has made progress in raising awareness and engaging local communities in the work of making this area a better place to age. Of the 30 cities and towns in LifePath’s service area, 26 have taken steps to secure the official designation from AARP, with two more moving closer to the commitment. We are so proud of the progress! A strong foundation lays beneath us, allowing us to build this effort.

Survey Results Presented on November 1

We undertook a region-wide needs assessment, including a survey and focus groups, to identify what people think about aging in place here in Franklin County and the North Quabbin area. The goal is to use the data to identify priorities for the short term and what needs longer-range planning. The raw data was collected from almost 2000 surveys and 4 focus groups. LifePath will continue to work with our partner, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), to produce a results-based overview.

Initial findings were shared virtually on November 1, 2022. The video and resources may be found at this link. They include:

  • The slide deck that was presented
  • Raw data from the survey (.pdf format)
  • Town-specific data (spreadsheet – view only)

During the session we also referenced The Silverline (a resource guide) and volunteer opportunities with LifePath, both of which may be found on the LifePath website.

In the virtual session, we asked for volunteers to become a part of work groups using the survey data that will convene around 4 areas:

  • Housing and Outdoor Spaces
  • Transportation
  • Communication/Information/Social and Civic Participation
  • Health Services/Community Support

After assessing the data, these workgroups will make recommendations to the Age-Friendly Franklin County and North Quabbin steering committee. Based upon these recommendations, the steering committee will formalize regional priorities for this project. We need your help! Please visit this page to share your interest in the workgroups.

Meetings are already being scheduled between LifePath/FRCOG and representatives of the project in specific towns to go over the collected information. If you are one of those contacts, please make sure we know who you are!

Poster showing the Age-Friendly initiative in Franklin County and the North Quabbin
This board details the Age-Friendly Franklin County & North Quabbin 3-year project that includes town designation, conducting a needs assessment, and setting related priorities for the region.
ADF Enrollment Status Map
Age-Friendly Towns and Cities in our region.

Mass In Motion Funding with Age-Friendly and Social Justice Lens for 11 Towns

The FRCOG has been working with the statewide Mass In Motion program for years. This funding stream from the Commonwealth aims to improve health by promoting healthy eating and active living. Opportunities for healthy affordable food and safe physical activity are encouraged. Part of the work is to identify root causes of health issues, and an explicitly but not exclusively “leading with race” framework. As we visit the 30 towns to talk about the survey responses, we will be speaking with 11 towns as their work relates to the Mass In Motion Policy, Systems and Environment (PSE) change funding that will support complementary or overlapping age-friendly work. Health equity training is a requirement of the 11 towns and is tentatively planned for February. When the date of this opportunity is made available, our hope is that representatives from all towns involved in the age- and dementia-friendly work will attend.

Meetings are already being scheduled between LifePath/FRCOG and representatives of the project in specific towns to go over the collected information.

Funder Showcase

The Age-Friendly Franklin County and North Quabbin project is funded by Massachusetts Community Health and Health Aging Funds and managed by Health Resources in Action. On October 19, the two entities brought together their grant awardees to showcase their projects. Important and comprehensive work is happening across the Commonwealth in the same sector of Healthy Aging, and the adjacent sectors of Community Health Improvement Plans and Policy, Systems, and Environment. Thanks to our funder for believing in our project and making space for us to learn from and appreciate others.

Free Training Opportunity for First Responders

As we’ve been out and about, we’ve fielded a couple of requests for training for first responders addressing interactions with individuals living with dementia. We’re glad to share that The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative is promoting “Dementia Awareness and Education for First Responders via Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH.” The goal of this free training is to educate Fire and EMS personnel on the impact that Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias may have on individuals and communities. Strategies acquired from this training will help personnel optimize the effectiveness of responding during interventions with persons living with dementia, and their families.

“The First Responder Training: 10 Warning Signs” will be offered virtually on two different dates and has been approved for 2 continuing education hours through Massachusetts OEMS.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 7:00 – 9:00 AM
Presenter: Melissa Grenier, LCSW, Regional Manager, NH Alzheimer’s Association

Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Presenter: Jennifer Hoadley, CDP, Regional Manager, Southeastern MA, Alzheimer’s Association

For more information on any of the topics shared, or to join our Age- and Dementia-Friendly Newsletter mailing list, please be in touch.

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