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Northampton Neighbors
Empowering seniors to live independent, engaged lives at home.
HomeReport on May 2017 Ward 3 Meeting

Ward 3 Meeting Report

Wendy Newton hosted our meeting on Wednesday May 24th. 18 people attended, due to Wendy contacting everyone by phone, alongside our NN email announcement. Several people signed up as memberships during the meeting. Others said they would sign up on line. We received one donation.

Wendy explained why she is a supporter of Northampton Neighbors, describing how she suddenly became helpless for the first time ever and totally dependent on outside help when severe back pain kept her immobilized. She needed help for everything: getting groceries, finding rides to doctors, walking the dog etc. Her vivid narrative helped frame the ensuing discussion. It also answered in advance the question we frequently hear: “but we don’t need it now. Why should we join?”

Leigh Bailey, of Northampton Neighbors, briefly explained the history and mission of NN and VtoV network. Then we opened the meeting to general discussion. Below are some of the ideas and recommendations the group came up with:

- Create a transportation committee to improve options for seniors. For example: 1) Meet with PVTA about improving bus service. Educate seniors about existing bus services within Northampton and beyond. Many older people have never taken a bus and don’t know schedules. 2) Work with Northampton Transportation Committee (and Ryan O’Donnell) to improve sidewalks, pedestrian crossings.

- Create a home adaptation team to advise members how to make their living quarters safe and efficient.

- Create a reference list of organizations and businesses already existing in Ward 3 that will make life easier for all of us (i.e., W3NA, restaurants, tailors, retailers, business services, etc.)

- Create and commit a list of contractors who specialize in modifying homes to permit “aging in place.”

- Create a unique NN listserv, working with other locally-originated listservs like Ward 2s (but not professional web-based ones like NextDoor). Find a volunteer to create, and same person or another to manage and update.

- Create a “digital technology” that would provide in-home support on how to use Skype or Facebook Messenger etc. Might also offer simple fixes and show users how to do their own.

- Start neighborhood interest groups, e.g., a basic French conversational group. A native French-speaker volunteered to start one in Ward 3.

- Need to communicate with existing and new members ASAP

- Meet informally and frequently in small neighborhood clusters.

- Create and distribute a telephone/email director of providers (based in Ward 3) who are easily available and willing to bail any of us out of an emergency situation such as “My roof is leaking! Water is pouring in!” “My toilet’s plugged. Plunger stick snapped!” – all those little emergencies that make us cry.

It was a warm and friendly meeting among neighbors that continued long after the formal meeting. Many thanks to Wendy for opening up her home.