4 Community Assessment, Focus Areas, Goals, Strategies
We developed the Community Assessment Survey containing 20 questions asking residents about strengths, barriers and challenges to aging well in this region.
Between October of 2018 and February of 2019, the group conducted the survey among residents to learn what is working in our area to support healthy, active, and engaged aging and identify areas for improvement. Identical surveys were distributed electronically and in print, available at libraries, town offices, polling stations, the Bath Area Family YMCA, beauty salons, churches and some special events with collections boxes in place for completed questionnaires. Several municipalities linked the online questionnaire to their websites. In Woolwich and Arrowsic, surveys were mailed with tax bills to ensure that every household could participate. We received 1000 responses.
We did not ask about income or ethnicity. Many respondents chose not to answer questions about age and gender. Responses that referred to the size of the household and shared personal comments led us to believe that our survey reached residents from all walks of life and from a wide range of incomes.
Community Meetings/Listening Sessions
As part of our community assessment, we conducted five listening sessions in different communities and with local emergency responders. These round table conversations invited participants to share personal challenges. Residents described and identified future needs to live safely in their homes and to be engaged in their communities as they age.
The final data report includes a cover page, and a one-page summary for each community and the entire region. It will be used to inform residents, local organizations, stakeholders, and municipalities in future conversations.
Patricia Oh, Ph.D., LMSW, our age-friendly consultant of AARP of Maine, provided consultation throughout data collection and analysis. The AARP graciously funded the printing of our data report.
Key Findings and Action Items
From the quantitative and qualitative data three themes emerged:
We also learned about common ways used to seek and share information. This will help us identify efficient tools for communications. The most important regional results are summarized here followed by goals and strategies that will guide our future work.