June 7, 2019

Windham is one step closer to becoming an official age-friendly community

By Lorraine Glowczak

A little over six months ago, after a presentation by members of the Human Services Advisory Committee, Marge Govoni and Deb McAfee, the Windham Town Council unanimously voted to support and begin the process of becoming part of an AARP age-friendly community network.

Since then, a twelve-member age-friendly planning committee has been established with Rachael Bidwell, McAfee and Govoni at the helm and they have been busy ever since. The Human Services Advisory Committee has applied for and received a grant that will pay for open community forums and a town-wide survey to access the needs of Windham residents. The group will also develop the umbrella from which all services will be consolidated.

All Windham residents can benefit from an
Age Friendly community
“Forty percent of Windham’s residents are age 50 and over,” Govoni said in a previous interview. “We have received feedback that many individuals in this age bracket are feeling misplaced and Windham is not a home for them. It is our goal to change that.”
Change is on the way.

All residents of Windham can be a part of that change by helping to determine the questions for the town wide survey at the first community forum held on Saturday, June 15 immediately following the Town Meeting. The forum will last only an hour, will include breakout sessions and will be held at the Town Hall gymnasium.

Topics and questions for consideration will focus on aging in place and community livability. 

According to AARP, a livable community is one with diverse features that empower people of all ages, incomes and abilities – not just older Americans. In their pamphlet that assist communities such as Windham, it states: “Livability is about realizing values that are central to healthy communities: independence, choice and security. Livable communities help residents thrive, and when residents thrive, communities prosper.”

Housing, neighborhood considerations, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity are topics that will be discussed.

Upon completion of the first community forum, the planning committee will then put together the survey, based upon community input, that will be mailed out in The Windham Eagle newspaper, will be available online and available at area town offices such as Town Hall and the Windham Public Library.

When Windham officially became a part of the AARP network of age-friendly communities, the town also became part of a global network that is committed to giving their older residents the opportunity to live rewarding, productive and safe lives as they determine it. 

It is important to note that membership in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities does not mean AARP endorses any particular municipality as a place to live. What membership means is that the community's elected leadership has made the commitment to actively work toward making their town a great place for people of all ages.

Members of the Age Friendly planning committee include: McAfee, Govoni, Bidwell, Chair of the taskforce, Jean Grant, Leanne Luczek, Jen Alvino, Director of the Windham Public Library, Rep. Mark Bryant, Linda Brooks, Director of Windham Parks and Recreation, Amanda Lessard, Windham Planning Director, Jennie Butler, Kate Brix, and Mark Morrison, Windham Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors,

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