Linda Terry: Amherst's neighbors are getting stronger

I want to thank the Gazette for reprinting my guest column, “Reframing Our Thoughts on Aging,” on March 29. While I appreciate this ackn...



I want to thank the Gazette for reprinting my guest column, “Reframing Our Thoughts on Aging,” on March 29. While I appreciate this acknowledgment, I would like to inform our readers that this article was originally published in early 2020, prior to the launch of our non-profit organization, Amherst Neighbors.

The article refers to Amherst Neighbors as being in the planning stage. Amherst Neighbors has been in operation since April 2020 and was formed to build neighbor connections and reduce social isolation among our Amherst and Pelham seniors through the lens of “Reframing Aging”. The core of the aging reframing perspective is to dispel negative stereotypes about aging and generate age mainstreaming solutions for personal and community benefit.

For two years now, many of the programs and practical materials provided in the article have been implemented. Members of our older adult community responded enthusiastically to our offers, which we needed even more during our COVID-locked lives. Amherst Neighbors now has over 250 members. A sampling of our programs, all virtual so far, included Voting in America, Juneteenth: The New State Holiday, Hospice Care, En Plein Air Landscape Painting, Estate Planning Basics, the Future of House in Amherst, Storytelling for Grandparents and, as a first anniversary celebration event, Aging Well in the Community: What It Takes.

Given the limitations of COVID, our hands-on support component has been implemented more recently, now providing services such as transportation, company rides, organization and decluttering, and shopping. Membership remains free. For more information about Amherst Neighbors or to register, visit amherstneighbours.org or call 413-345-2555.

I am also pleased to see the recognition of a new approach to addressing the needs for quality improvement and inclusion in community life for our seniors and people living with dementia at the national, state and the Town of Amherst with support from the Age and Dementia Friendly Community Project. The planning of the project is under the coordination of the city with the commitment of a variety of organizations focused on older people.

Residents are currently being asked to participate in a needs assessment for this population as well as all residents. You can help give voice to priorities for improving livability in Amherst by taking the following online survey: surveymonkey.com/r/AFAmherst2.

The reprint of the “Reframing Aging” article has elicited a number of positive responses and will hopefully encourage more to join the growing initiative to support healthy aging in our community.

Linda Terry

Amherst



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Newsrust - US Top News: Linda Terry: Amherst's neighbors are getting stronger
Linda Terry: Amherst's neighbors are getting stronger
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