The term “age-friendly” sounds like an altogether positive description when applied to a town. But when applied to a town budget, it can present formidable challenges.
In this week’s edition, the Press begins a series that will explore the impact of the growing senior population in Harvard, which is already straining the resources of the Council on Aging with no letup in sight. At the same time, in a separate story, we have continuing coverage of the school budget, delving into the challenges of making the town age-friendly to schoolchildren.
The cost of making necessary improvements for the well-being of elderly residents is something the town will have to deal with. It is no less important than providing high-quality schools and safe roadways. Without diminishing the importance of maintaining an excellent school system in Harvard, it’s clear that the town has to commit more tax dollars to senior services. And it has to put much more effort into creating more housing options for seniors, more transportation options, and easier access to medical facilities near and far. Community and Economic Development Director Chris Ryan was right when, in our story, he called age-friendly initiatives like these a “no-brainer.”
The Council on Aging operates on a shoestring budget, providing services of incalculable value. But high energy and hard work can do only so much in the face of ever-increasing demand. The town has to do more—much more—to help.