Creating an Age-Friendly Community

Chester CART

What We've Done

Phase I: Through the support of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and AARP, The SNHPC has conducted its Age-Friendly program in four phases. In Phase I, with the help of the Manchester Health Department, the Commission conducted a region-wide Age-Friendly study, engaging participants in multiple ways on how communities are responding to population/demographic trends. The Commission  conducted multiple surveys and community assessments focused in four areas: recreation and engagement; housing and zoning; transportation, accessibility and connectivity; and business and economic development. These community conversations, included representatives from parks and recreation, historic societies, police, fire, libraries, religious, senior and youth organizations, local agencies, residents, and select boards or other public offices. As a result, fourteen individualized age friendly community assessments were created. These documents highlighted what the community was doing well regarding recreation, transportation, housing and economic development, and identified areas where there was room for improvement. To see each community's individualized assessment, visit "surveys and assessments."

Phase II: One of the purposes of the age-friendly Phase I assessments was to raise awareness and examine assets, opportunities, and roadblocks on many aspects of quality of life issues for both seniors and millennials. In Phase II, SNHPC staff aimed to move forward into strategic planning and developing recommendations for communities to become age-friendly. In Phase II, SNHPC invited its fourteen communities to submit a letter of interest to participate as a Pilot Community.  Letters were to include how an age friendly action plan would help the community with consideration to transportation, housing, social engagement, and economic development. Three pilot communities were chosen by an age friendly stakeholder committee based on specific criteria including whether the community had adequate leadership to lead the age friendly initiative and how the community intended on implementing its age friendly action plan. The Phase II pilot communities were the Towns of Bedford, Chester and Goffstown. To see our work with the Phase II pilot communities, visit “Age-Friendly Community Projects.”

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Phase III: Due to constraints, SNHPC had to limit its Phase II pilot program to 3 communities and 10 businesses.  As much more interest was expressed, Phase III of the program continued where Phase II left off, working with existing pilot communities to ensure their age-friendly efforts were successful and offered the same opportunity to additional communities and businesses. Also, as the program developed successful outreach elements including presentations to multiple audiences; SNHPC began to share the program with other regional Planning Commissions to further the dialogue about Age-Friendly Programs. The Phase III pilot communities were the Towns of Derry, Hooksett and Weare. To see the work done with the Phase III pilot communities, visit "Age-Friendly Community Projects."

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Phase IV: During Phase III, multiple communities and partnering agencies wanted to focus on housing, why NH’s housing crisis exists, and what solutions NH communities can support to address the housing shortage. In the first half of phase IV, SNHPC created a housing forum to focus on housing issues and promoted the concept of setting the stage for age-friendly housing.  The forum was well attended and highly regarded; lessons learned have been shared throughout the SNHPC region and beyond. Phase IV activities also include two transportation outreach surveys in the Towns of Chester and New Boston. During Phase IV, SNHPC is also committed to establishing an effective web presence where all age-friendly activities to date can be viewed in one place.