By Dot Bergin
What did you do with it? Is it under the pile of Sunday papers on the kitchen counter?
We’re talking about the Survey of Residents 55 & Over, which you received in your mailbox last week. Time is running out; the deadline for returning your Survey (in the self-addressed stamped envelope) is November 20. If you prefer, you can fill out the Survey online here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/home/news/town-of-bedford-survey-of-residents-age-55-over
The Council on Aging and the Town of Bedford want to hear from YOU!
You will recall that the 2017 Annual Town Meeting approved funding of $35,000 to conduct a needs assessment to identify current and long-term needs of residents aged 55 and over. The Council on Aging has teamed up with the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging, Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston to conduct the assessment and to analyze the results. After analyzing the data – which is entirely confidential and will not allow anyone to identify you – the Gerontology Institute will hold a series of community forums to present the findings. A final report will be issued later and will be available on the town’s web site.
Participation in the Survey is, of course, entirely voluntary but Alison Cservenschi, Director of the Bedford COA, urges individuals who received the Survey to complete it. To date, she reports that 700 surveys have been received but she is hoping many more “over-55s” will respond in the next few days.
The Survey will take less than 15 minutes of your time and the results, Cservenschi says, will provide a baseline of information for Age-Friendly initiatives. Bedford is an “aging community,” with about a quarter of the town’s population of 13,320 over the age of 60 according to the 2010 Federal Census data.
Many seniors want to remain in the community in which they have lived for years. How best to serve this population is the aim of the Town’s assessment efforts. The questionnaire touches on elements important to all: housing, transportation needs, social activities, health concerns, caregiving, and future retirement plans.
The Survey was designed by the UMass Boston Gerontology Institute, but townspeople were able to have a hand in shaping the questions. In late September, board members gathered at the COA to review and refine the questions. Their suggestions were incorporated in the final design.
If you have questions about the Survey or need help in completing it, please call 617-287-7413 and leave a message.