The past two weeks, the Senior Lookout column has reviewed the steps taken by the Age & Dementia Friendly Cape Ann initiative. This week, I would like to discuss the initiative’s resulting action plan.
The Age & Dementia Cape Ann Action Plan represents a broad range of goals and potential strategies. This plan attempts to address all aspects of community life. As such, it represents a variety of areas.
The action plan is separated into 10 areas of focus, with an overall goal defined for each area. These goals are:
Transportation: Cape Ann will have regional transportation services that are flexible, efficient, diversified and responsive to all ages.
Housing: Cape Ann will have housing that is affordable, designed to accommodate a range of needs, with a continuum of options available.
Communication and information: Cape Ann will have a regional communication strategy that engages with community members of all ages through multiple systems.
Health care and continuum of care: Cape Ann will be a community in which residents have knowledge of and access to the health, home care, respite care and caregiver support that they need.
Community and business support: Cape Ann will be a supportive community that understands the specific needs of residents of all ages and abilities and promotes quality of life for all residents, regardless of age or health status.
Civic participation and employment: Cape Ann will be a region in which older adults are engaged in the civic life of their community and have access to rewarding volunteer or paid work opportunities.
Legal and advance planning: Cape Ann residents will have the information they need to make informed decisions and prepare for their future as they age.
Outdoor spaces and buildings: Cape Ann will be a community in which people of all ages and abilities can enjoy access to the rich natural and built environments.
Respect and social inclusion: Cape Ann will be a supportive, welcoming environment where all residents — regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, health status or socio-economic backgrounds — can participating fully in the community and thrive.
Social participation: Cape Ann will be a region with a wide range of social and recreational opportunities that are affordable and accessible to all.
The Age & Dementia Cape Ann initiative strives to work across four communities with differing structures, expectations and goals. Many of these items are also dependent on resources and collaboration among community partners and the organization realizes that not all goals may be achievable in all communities.
The action plan is intended to be a living document and will be reevaluated and adapted based on changing resources, needs and community goals. An annual evaluation will be done to assure that evolving community needs are being addressed.
As a result of the efforts of the initiative, all four Cape Ann communities and the Cape Ann region as a whole have been accepted into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States & Communities, an institutional affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities & Communities. In addition, the four communities and region have been designated as being dementia-friendly by Dementia Friendly Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Council on Aging.
The ADFCA community needs assessment was funded by a grant from the North Shore Community Health Network. Major support for the ADFCA initiative is provided by a grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation.
For more information about the Age & Dementia Friendly Cape Ann initiative or to review the full action plan and read the subsidiary goals, visit www.adfca.org.
For a printed copy of either the ADFCA community needs assessment or the ADFCA action plan, or if you are interested in joining this effort, contact initiative coordinator Carrie Johnson at 978-281-1750.
Tracy Arabian is the communications officer at SeniorCare Inc., Cape Ann’s local area agency on aging.