SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Springfield has been dubbed America’s first age friendly city.
Dozens of seniors learned Thursday that Springfield has met the criteria established by the AARP as an age and dementia-friendly city.
In fact, according to AARP, Springfield has set a standard for other cities to follow to meet the needs of older citizens. These include feeling safe in their homes and being able to get around if they don’t drive.
They also want the assurance they can remain at home as long as possible, delaying or avoiding commitment to a long-term care facility.
Sixty-eight-year-old Marvin Kennedy told 22News, he’s been hearted by what he heard.
“The transportation was the issue I was very concerned about, but now I feel a little bit better,” said Kennedy. “They are building facilities that are elderly friendly.”
Mayor Domenic Sarno told the Springfield Senior Center gathering, he’s taking steps to meet those needs.
“Working on my budget, I’ll be purchasing a to help active seniors for transportation event type activities,” Sarno told 22News.
Massachusetts AARP Director Michael Festa has been visiting Massachusetts cities and towns urging them to devise plans to make their communities more elderly friendly. He said Springfield should be applauded for what the city has accomplished.
“For addressing transportation problems, addressing affordable housing, people want to stay in their own homes longer, social isolation,” Festa told 22News.
A network of public and private non-profits has promised to meet the needs of the city’s older population. A prime component for a city that hopes to attain the designation of an age-friendly city.