A silver wave

  • Mount Sugarloaf, South Deerfield MA. Recorder Staff

Staff Writer
Published: 5/17/2019 12:24:28 PM
Modified: 5/17/2019 12:24:16 PM

A silver wave is crashing into Deerfield. 

Projections from the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Donahue Institute combined with the most recent town census confirm a trend in the growth of Deerfield’s older adult population, similar to other communities throughout the region. This ‘silver wave,’ as it’s known, began when the first baby boom generation turned 65 in 2010 and is projected to continue through 2035, according to a press release from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.

Back in 2010, the town’s over-65 population was slightly under 800. By 2035, that number is projected to double to around 1,600 people. Comparatively, the number of younger adults and children is expected to decrease.

In response to these projections, Deerfield’s Selectboard recently voted to support an application to the AARP Age-Friendly States and Communities Network.

“Age-friendly communities are inclusive and consider the perspectives of residents of all ages. They encourage and benefit from diverse citizen engagement by including residents in a process to identify the community’s needs and develop and implement an action plan to address those needs,” said Lisa White, Deerfield’s regional public health nurse who serves with FRCOG, in the statement.

If the town’s application is accepted, Deerfield would become the first Franklin County community to join the Age-Friendly Network, which is intended to be a catalyst to educate and promote public health initiatives that support residents of all ages, according to the network’s website. Additionally, the network connects communities with resources such as national and global research and planning models.

Acceptance to the age-friendly network would initiate an approximately 5-year planning process to make the town into a better place to live for older adults. Resources from the AARP and the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative will be accessed to help in the process. Through this, efforts would be made to create a replicable template for other towns in the region to apply to their communities.

For more information or to join the Council on Aging, which is contributing to the process, Deerfield residents who are interested in being considered for membership should contact the Selectboard office.


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