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Two NH towns receive coveted distinction from AARP

Union Leader Correspondent

July 01. 2018 8:29PM
AARP New Hampshire’s logo. (Courtesy)

GOFFSTOWN — On Thursday, AARP New Hampshire announced Goffstown and Portsmouth as the first members of the organization’s network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, an association of towns and cities across the country whose leaders have committed to making their communities more habitable for people of all ages.

Founded upon eight “livability indicators” that range from affordable public transportation and accessible recreational areas to access to paid work and home-based health-care services, the age-friendly initiative aims to emphasize improvements that influence the health and quality of citizens as they age.

The indicators are planned, implemented and assessed in three phases over a five-year period, with continued cycles of assessment and improvement.

“Well-designed, livable communities promote well being, sustain economic growth, and make for happier healthier residents of all ages,” said AARP New Hampshire State Director Todd Fahey. “By becoming part of the network, Goffstown and Portsmouth are making a commitment to do even more to improve livability in their communities and involve older residents in the process.”

Both Goffstown and Portsmouth were selected with the help of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission based upon an Age Friendly Community Assessment, and join 263 other communities across the nation who have also received the Age-Friendly designation from AARP.

As the first communities in the Granite State to sign on to the network, civic leaders in both municipalities will have access to global resources and information from the AARP national office on age-friendly practices, models of assessment and implementation, and the experiences of similar towns and cities around the world.

Acknowledging New Hampshire’s aging population, Fahey said that this initiative was a perfect fit for the state.

“We have an outflight of millennials and an aging population, so this program really is a way to more intentionally design the places that we call home,” said Fahey. “And the most beautiful thing about this that it’s non-perscriptive. The towns and cities have the eight parameters of livability, but how they want to implement it is uniquely their own vision.”

Adam Jacobs, Goffstown’s town administrator, says the designation is a sign of his community’s commitment to making real contributions to the town’s senior population.

“There’s been a lot of planning for things like this over the years, but they’re money, time, and effort to truly make a difference weren’t always there,” said Jacobs “This signals that were proactive and want to be in that realm of other communities that are willing to make things happen for our residents.”

Jacobs went on to say that he hopes to leverage AARP’s knowledge and support as the town works toward expanding public transportation services.

Health General News Goffstown Portsmouth

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