In November 2016, the City of Salem formally submitted its age-friendly action plan, Salem for All Ages, to the AARP and the World Health Organization. The final report and supporting materials are available below.
Salem’s Age Friendly initiative began earlier in 2016 when the City was added to the AARP’s national network of Age Friendly communities. Salem became the first City on the North Shore to join the network and only the third in Commonwealth. Acceptance to the network meant the City committed to developing an action plan that focuses on establishing a vision for each of what the AARP and WHO call the “eight domains” of an age-friendly community: civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services, outdoor space and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, and respect and social inclusion.
Within each domain, a vision statement for the future of an Age-Friendly Salem is described, followed by a series of recommendations, and corresponding specific action steps that should be taken. Following approval of the final report a permanent community stakeholders group will be formed to monitor implementation of the plan, evaluate its effectiveness, and update it as necessary.
“In Salem we are thoughtful about how we approach the future,” Mayor Kim Driscoll observes in her letter submitting the action plan. “Great cities do not happen by accident. They take careful planning, public input, and meaningful action. I am so pleased to present the Salem for All Ages Action Plan because I believe it meets all those standards. And because I believe it will truly make Salem an even greater City for all.”
To help prepare the Salem for All Ages Action Plan, the City worked closely with experts from the Center for Social & Demographic Research on Aging at the Gerontology Institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Those experts worked closely with a working group made up of City officials and local volunteers, to develop the draft plan. Their efforts included multiple public listening session and meetings, three focus groups, an exhaustive document review of existing plans and reports, and a community survey completed by over 400 Salem residents over the age of 50.
“The priorities represented by the Age-Friendly designation are reflective of Salem’s values as a whole,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “The goals of a livable, safe, and vibrant city serve to lift up all our residents, no matter their age or ability. This action plan has been informed by as many perspectives as possible, so that the recommendations it puts forth for Salem can be as diverse and as forward-looking as the people who live here. I encourage all Salem residents, whether they are seniors or not, to review the draft and offer their feedback to help make it even more reflective of our community.”