By Michael Ballway
Census data will tell you Agawam’s getting older. What it doesn’t say is what other changes will follow.
For that, town officials are conducting their own survey, and they are asking all adults in Agawam to share their thoughts on how the town can accommodate its graying population. The survey, which is available online and in print, asks questions about retirees’ housing, healthcare, transportation, recreation and social needs, and how well they are being met today.
Squindo and Strange are on a town committee working with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission on to meet the AARP’s requirements for an Age-Friendly Community. Strange said Becky Basch, from PVPC, recently received a Tufts Foundation grant to pursue age-friendly designations in several Pioneer Valley towns, starting with Agawam and Belchertown.
“Age-friendly” is a program of AARP and the World Health Organization that aims to make sure the amenities in a town “meet [residents’] needs at every point throughout their life,” said Squindo.
Sometime in March, the town and PVPC will compile the responses and write a report suggesting how Agawam can better serve its senior citizens. The town will then host a public forum to discuss the report. Under the current COVID-19 restrictions, the forum is likely to be an online teleconference. After the forum, the committee will produce an action plan.