We are pleased to present findings from the Town of Bedford's needs assessment of those aged 55 andover. The 2010 census indicates 24% of Bedford's population was then aged 60 and over. By 2030 it is estimated those aged 60 and over will grow to about 33% of our population. That is projected to account for over 4,000 residents. With that growth will likely come rising demand for Town services not only on the Council on Aging but also on our emergency responders from the Police and Fire Departments as well as other Town departments and community organizations both public and private.
In April 2017, Town Meeting approved funding to conduct this study. The goals of the study were to identify needs, interests, preferences and opinions of our older residents. The Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston was retained to conduct the study. The needs assessment process was both comprehensive and exhaustive in scope. Topics addressed included housing, transportation, social, health, and economic factors of aging in the Town of Bedford. The team from UMass followed several research methods. These included demographic analysis, a survey (that returned a 34% response rate), focus groups, key informant individual interviews, peer town comparison, and a housing and transportation review. The information obtained from this effort will be invaluable as we plan for our future growth and development of the Town and will guide us as we move forward to implement recommendations suggested by the study.
We are very proud of the strong community support we received for this project. We wish to thank all who made this project possible and who gave their valuable time including the Board of the Council on Aging, former Town Manager Rick Reed, Selectmen William Moonan and Margot Fleischman, Fire Chief David Grunes, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, and the residents, department staff and community stakeholders who participated in focus groups. We especially wish to thank Dr. Caitlin Coyle and Dr. Jan Mutchler and the research team at UMass Boston for their assistance and exceptional work. Last but not least, we thank all residents of Bedford who took the time to respond to the survey. It is affirming to know so many members of our community let their voices be heard. Your input was critical.
Please click on the attachments below to read the full report and the presentation.