We are all aging. People are living longer. Many cities and towns in our region have more people over 60 than under 20. These demographic changes call for innovation to make our communities great places to grow up and grow old.
But it’s not so unbelievable when you consider what Springfield did. They set attainable goals, joined forces and moved forward with a common purpose.
Common Purpose, Promsing Outcomes
How has Springfield fared since it first committed to improving life for its older people? Samantha Hamilton looks at it this way: “We’re putting all this energy to putting Springfield on the map,” she said. “Think about all the opportunities that could come now that we’re raising awareness. That’s our commitment going forward – to make Springfield a great place to age and live.”
An example of how these accomplishments help the city’s residents is a mobile organic fresh produce market. Now, the mobile “shop” pulls up at places where older people live and congregate (like the library and medical center). Live Well Springfield launched the initiative in response to feedback from older residents about limited access to healthy food choices.
“We believe there’s so much to be done now that the spotlight is on us,” Hamilton said. “But it also means more resources can come to us. We have great momentum, and this is the spark to think about how much more we can do.”
Photos Courtesy of Live Well Springfield.
To do this, we need to reframe aging – changing not only the words we use but also shifting the conditions that hold problems in place. This work isn’t easy, and it’s not accomplished quickly. It takes time to build deep trust and develop successful collaborations.
The stories in this year’s annual report celebrate our grantees’ accomplishments while honoring their perseverance and spirit of ingenuity.
They are stories of reframing and reimagining: One shows how redefining systems can create more economic security for our neighbors. Another demonstrates the power of advocating for policies and services that are relevant and meet today’s needs. And still another proves an inclusive approach can reinvigorate cities and towns.
Older people are front and center in these stories, representing a new way of thinking, a paradigm shift.
Their stories inspire and encourage us. We hope they do the same for you.
Thomas P. O’Neill III
Chair, Tufts Health Plan Foundation Board of Directors
Nora Moreno Cargie
President, Tufts Health Plan Foundation; Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Tufts Health Plan
Thomas A. Croswell
President and Chief Executive Officer, Tufts Health Plan
The Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of the diverse communities we serve.
Hamilton cited the City’s Department of Elder Affairs and Greater Springfield Senior Services, Inc. as “great partners” and Synthia Scott-Mitchell of the Springfield Dementia Friendly Coalition as instrumental in reaching dementia-friendly status.
“The only way we could have accomplished so much in a short period of time was through collaborative partnerships,” said Scott-Mitchell. “The mayor and the city’s department of health and human services have played a pivotal role, too.”
“We’ve been working towards this for years,” said Dr. Maura Brennan, chief of Baystate Medical’s Division of Geriatric and Palliative Care. “There is still a great deal to be done, but to be in the vanguard of this movement is just unbelievable.”