Since its first meeting in June 2017, Eliot’s Aging In Place (AIP) Committee continues to meet every third Thursday at Eliot Town Hall. In addition, committee members email and phone each other throughout each month to work on agenda items and move projects ahead, including AIP’s involvement in the Eliot Fall Festival, meeting with Town officials and residents to discuss concerns, working on grants, attending webinars, and planning events.
The guiding force for AIP is its Action Plan, based on the results of a community survey and adopted on January 17, 2020. The Plan outlines the eight domains of age-friendly communities. Eliot residents identified the first three domains as areas for improvement:
- outdoor spaces and buildings
- communication and information
- housing and transportation
- social participation
- respect and social inclusion
- civic participation and employment
- community and employment
- community support and health services
“When we work together as a committee to make Eliot more livable, we consider whether a project or pursuit falls under one of these domains to ensure we serve our community as planned,” explained AIP Chair Ellen Ceppetelli. For instance, the Committee’s purchase and installation of seven benches around the Town were right in line with AIP’s Action Plan, improving outdoor spaces and advancing social participation and inclusion for older residents. To cap off the installation of the final benches at the Eliot Boat Basin and the Town’s William Fogg Library, AIP held a writing contest, asking residents of all ages to write a short story, essay, or poem about the importance of a public bench. A line from a poem by the oldest contributor truly captures what living in an age-friendly community means: “Oh, my, there’s a neighbor/who waves with a friendly smile/I’ll come here more often/To sit on this public bench.”
Eliot AIP has advanced its communication with residents this year by sending out a monthly newsletter online and in hard copy, creating Facebook and Instagram pages, and meeting with local groups and individuals. The monthly newsletter and social media outlets allow the AIP Committee to inform all residents better, especially older adults, to connect online and in person about what is happening around Town and how to find assistance for heating, food, and other living expenses.
Listening to older residents and working with Town officials are also key to Eliot AIP’s success. Recently, avid Eliot pickleball players in their 60s and 70s attended an AIP meeting to press for improved facilities at Frost Tufts Park. AIP saw pickleball as a terrific opportunity for older residents to get involved through playing and enjoying the social and physical aspects of this growing sport. The Town Manager and Select Board were receptive, earmarking key American Rescue Plan Act funds to improve facilities at the park. Further, AIP and the Town’s pickleball community have forged a great relationship on which to build.
Being age-friendly means thriving as a community that involves all its residents of all ages. For the Town of Eliot, the Aging In Place Committee serves as an important voice and advocate.
The Aging in Place Committee meets every third Thursday in the Eliot Town Office at 4:00 pm. You can email the Committee at email@example.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.