Mattapoisett town officials agree to focus on senior population

By Tanner Harding | Feb 14, 2018

Mattapoisett — The senior population in Mattapoisett is growing—and growing alongside it are that populations' need.

Housing and transportation are the two biggest concerns among seniors, according to Mattapoisett Council on Aging Chair Rachel McGourthy.

She said that the COA recently sent out a survey in which nearly 10 percent of residents aged 60 and over answered questions about things ranging from health and mobility, to finance, housing and transportation.

“The greatest concerns were transportation and housing,” McGourthy said. “We can’t bring in a fleet of buses and we’re not ready to build more senior housing, but we can educate the community on what’s available.”

McGourthy added that one of the concerns of the COA is that not all senior residents are being reached.

“We don’t feel like we’re touching everyone out there,” she said. “We know that not everyone reads the news or reads all the promotional materials…We want [the Board of Selectmen] to know what people are worried about. We want Mattapoisett to be an age-friendly community.”

Town Administrator Mike Gagne said he had discussed the possibility of working with the COA with other town officials, to move some of the prioritized needs forward.

“We worked very hard for three or four years to help the library get to the position its at now,” Gagne said. “I think we’re looking at a similar program over the years [for the COA] to see what’s necessary and give proper attention to that.”

Select Chair Paul Silva agreed that it was time to start taking focusing on the aging population.

“I think over the past 10 years we’ve worked on certain areas…I think it’s time to start putting some money into the seniors,” he said.

Gagne added that the need for housing has been a consistent issue in Mattapoisett.

“People end up in remote housing when they can’t afford to stay here,” he said. “It gets hard for seniors to travel, even from New Bedford, to visit friends.”

Comments (1)
Posted by: Kiwismom123 | Feb 16, 2018 16:44

Now that the officials of the Town of Mattapoisett have finally acknowledged that there are many challenges that the senior population have in dealing with every day life and are now going to address them, I wish to respond to as one of these who face my own as well as a resident of the only senior housing in Mattapoisett.


But, first I need to give kudos to the Mattapoisett COA (in particular Jackie Coucci and Cynthia Macallister) for all they do for the residents of Village Court in particular.  

The biggest issue here at Village Court is transportation given that a number of residents have given up their cars, either due to age or economic issues.   The COA does a great job with grocery shopping, Fish rides, etc.  But, they can’t do it all.   We had SRTA buses but those are long gone.   We need something to replace them!


Also, the article mentioned that there was a lack of housing.  Not many seniors can afford the high rents in this Town.   Village Court is the only game in town.  Currently there no other options for affordable rentals for those on fixed incomes.  And, as I read, there are no immediate future plans to build senior housing.

The State does what it can in keeping up Village Court, 
but there is more that is needed.  Perhaps the Town could find ways to help freshen up this place and make it a more pleasant living space.   Even a bit of landscaping for the summer would be nice.  Indoor spaces such as our hallways could use sprucing up given that the concrete is cracked and the stones in front of the first floor apartments are riddled with dirt and heaven knows  what else lurks between the rocks.

I realize that this building is under the umbrella of the Commonwealth, but I would hope that the Town could start their help and involvement with one small step.

Respectfully

Stephanie Mitchell
Village Court
Mattapoisett




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