Age Friendly Pilot Programs
In 2017, SNHPC began their pilot programs, inviting communities in their region to develop specific projects to work toward age-friendly communities. Three communities (Weare, Bedford, and Derry) chose to reconsider Master Plan development with new eyes, utilizing surveys to begin their outreach efforts. In addition to questions on housing, transportation, recreation and engagement, and economic development, a subcommittee of planners, SNHPC staff and other stakeholders crafted questions for each community that considered utilizing a lens that included age-friendly components within these categories. Over 1,600 participants in the three surveys provided feedback that would help steer their master plan process in considering issues for people as they age.
Why was this so important? A community master Plan is a guiding document – ideally developed every ten years, and it is the foundation for all elements that comprise the community.
Three other communities focused on transportation, housing and recreation needs.
Many seniors don’t know the transportation options available to them. In Goffstown, community leaders recognized the need to help seniors get out and get involved. The Town Manager, Planning Director, local YMCA, community residents and staff from the Goffstown Library and Parks and Recreation Departments—worked together to strategize with SNHPC staff and the region’s transit agency (MTA) to expand outreach to seniors.
The Town of Chester had been asking why more diverse housing wasn’t being built in their town, why was so much of new construction “McMansion” style housing. It wasn’t affordable or desirable for seniors wanting to downsize or for their adult children to buy first homes. Over a year’s time, the Commission worked with the community, identifying what residents might envision. With this feedback, SNHPC worked with a task force that included community champions but also representatives from the development industry to draft age-friendly zoning. Our success was the adoption of Age-Friendly zoning the spring of 2019.
The town of Hooksett asked that the Commission assist them with examining the recreational needs of older residents. SNHPC worked to establish a relationship with the Hooksett Seniors (Hooksett-ites) and through guidance from Town Staff, the group determined the number one need was to better inform the Hooksett-ites about existing opportunities, services and contacts. SNHPC developed a fun and informative brochure to help Seniors understand available services and programs. The group also coordinated a very successful “meet and greet” style event for seniors to explore the available “call and demand” bus service.