Implementing Age-Friendly Strategies in Southwest New Hampshire

Implementing Age-Friendly Strategies in Southwest New Hampshire aims to improve access to transportation, housing options, economic opportunities, and vital community services for older and younger adults in Southwest New Hampshire. In the Southwest Region of New Hampshire, the proportion of the population that is 65+ is growing faster than any other age group while the total population is showing little to no growth. Projections indicate that this cohort will increase from 15% to 26% of the total population between 2010 and 2040. As of 2010, over 80% of the Region’s municipalities had a median age exceeding that of the state. In contrast to the Region’s senior population, the number of children under the age of 15 decreased by 14% between 2000 and 2010.

During 2019 and 2020, Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) conducted a planning initiative to improve the understanding of changing demographic trends and the issues and needs relative to promoting age-friendly communities in the Region. SWRPC analyzed population characteristics within the Region and reviewed information gathered from 33 municipalities related to four theme areas that can have a profound impact on health and quality of life for residents—economic opportunity, housing options, social engagement, and transportation alternatives. The Study helped to improve understanding of the issues and needs relative to promoting age-friendly communities in Southwest New Hampshire.

Starting in 2021, SWRPC to engage with municipalities, the Monadnock Region Coordinating Council for Community Transportation, community service agencies, and community members to implement strategies that address the findings and recommendations of the Study through continued support from Cheshire Medical Center. The project builds on the Age-Focused Planning Study by facilitating implementation activities designed to help older adults access the health care and vital services they need, stay connected to their communities, and achieve optimal health and quality of life. This project will also promote increased collaboration among local and regional partners that share a common interest in creating more age-friendly communities throughout the Region.