Older and Safer -- Greenwich Planning to Care for Aging Population
Greenwich is in the middle of a five-year program with a goal of becoming the first town in Connecticut to deliberately create a safe environment for an increasingly aging population.
The town’s Commission on Aging is in the second year of a five-year project to create an Age-Friendly Greenwich by evaluating existing programs and services to make sure they are at their most effective.
“We know that by the year 2050, half of our residents will be over the age of 60,” said Loria Contadino, director of Greenwich’s Commission on Aging. “That is going to have a profound impact on our community in terms of retirement, housing, finances, health care, leisure and more. This is a call to action.”
The evaluation will have to look at civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services, housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, respect and social inclusion, social participation and transportation.
The plan is to focus not only on the private and public programs that aid seniors but to look at how well seniors are integrated into town life as a whole.
Age-friendly goal back to top
“A community that’s ‘age friendly’ is a community that is supportive of all residents throughout the life force,” Contadino said. “It’s a community that people not only want to raise their children in but want to stay in and they want to retire in. They might need some support at the end of their life and it’s a community that is able to provide that.”
The goal, she said, was to do more than simply list current and needed services.
Suggestions could include extending red lights by three seconds to give people more time in crosswalks or eliminating tree roots in sidewalks that can cause stumbles.
“When we look at housing, we’re not just going to say, ‘It would be nice to have more senior housing,’” Contadino said. “We’re not going to say that’s the only answer. We’re going to talk about expansion of At Home in Greenwich and the support it provides that will allow people to age in place at their own homes. That’s something we will want to look at. What enhances the livability factor in the town of Greenwich?”
The Commission is planning currently to create advisory committees and develop a baseline needs assessment; gathering information will be the focus of the first two years.
Implementation of plans will take up years three and four and the fifth year will be on making sure methods for continual improvement are in place, Contadino said.