Senior Resource Committee Discusses Aging New Hampshire Population

While the Londonderry Senior Resources Committee always looks forward to assisting the town’s elderly residents and making their voices heard, members took time during their most recent meeting to note that New Hampshire’s communities as a whole may be getting too old.

During the committee’s June 20 meeting at the town hall, Chair Bonnie Roberts noted that several census reports have labeled New Hampshire as having one of the oldest populations in the country, with the median age at roughly 42. This is several years older than the national average. As older citizens are less likely to work, Roberts explained that there is a major concern over how this may negatively affect labor in the state, thus also hurting the economy and staffing.

But, the committee is not the only one that noticed this trend. The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) recently began to research this issue, starting the Becoming Age-Friendly initiative to help understand why younger residents are leaving the state and bridging the gap between the young and old.

The SNHPC, which serves 14 communities throughout New Hampshire, has been forming various community taskforces in an effort to gain more insight on citizens’ priorities and access to community events. According to the surveys, both millennials and elderly citizens have a strong interest in transportation and close communities.

In order to help provide solutions, instead of just highlighting problems, the SNHPC will also be working with Tufts Health Plan Foundation and AARP to award a number of grants to these communities to assist with various projects to eliminate specific problems and bring residents closer together, as long as they can be finished by the end of November.

The Senior Resources Committee focused specifically on the AARP Community Challenge Grant, attempting to think of something in the community that the AARP would be willing to fund. Although there have been calls for assistance with transportation and property taxes, the committee did not see how the grant could assist with these matters, with Roberts stating that they could move forward “if there was something we identify something.”

Eventually, the committee came to an agreement that snowplowing assistance would be a good place to focus on. Although specific plans to apply for the grant were not fully decided, the deadline for grant applications was recently extended to July 15. For more information on the Becoming Age-Friendly program and these grants, visit snhpc.org. In other news…

• Fire Department Liaison Sue Roy created a flyer that helps differentiate between heat stroke and heat exhaustion, as well as tips on how to avoid them during the summer.

• Police Department Liaison Chris Olson spoke about ideas for an upcoming senior walk along the Rail Trail with elderly residents and police officers in order for officers to gain a better sense of the concerns of seniors. No date has been set as of yet.

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