Senior Survey Planned To Assess Needs Of Amherst’s Elders

Photo: The Blue Diamond Gallery ((CC BY-SA 3.0)

Amherst will join other area towns and the Pioneer Valley Planning Association (PVPA) in collecting data on the needs of residents ages 55 and over. The PVPA has distributed the survey in some area towns over the past six months and plans to roll it out in Amherst in the next month. The survey is part of the Livable Amherst project with the aim of making Amherst a dementia-friendly community. The survey was discussed at the January 13 meeting of the Amherst Municipal Housing Trust (AMAHT).

The survey has 43 questions encompassing housing, health care services, transportation, economics, and communication. The AMAHT plans to mail about 500 surveys to randomly selected area seniors and also to collect data through Craig’s Doors shelter, the Survival Center, the Senior Center, Amherst Neighbors, and outreach to area religious institutions and committees such as the Disability Access Advisory Committee. There will also be an on-line version on the town website.

The working group is headed by Becky Basch from PVPA and Maureen Pollock of the Planning Department. It will also include John Hornik, chair of AMAHT; Hayley Bolton, Director of Senior Services; Jen Brown, Health Director; Helen MacMellon, social worker; and representatives from the DAAC, Jones Library trustees, Amherst Housing Authority, Chamber of Commerce, and residents of senior communities.

Although the survey is long, members of the AMAHT agreed that it contains the potential for gathering much useful information. They recognized the need for people to assist in completion of the survey and for translation services. The goal is to begin collecting data in early February.

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