Mattapoisett town officials agree to focus on senior population

Feb 14, 2018

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.”