PASCACK VALLEY, N.J. -- Pascack Valley Meals on Wheels has received a $35,000 planning grant from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, as part of an initiative to make communities livable for people of all ages -- especially older adults.
The grant seeks to develop a master plan to create and build upon the "age-friendly" initiatives that exist within the Borough of Westwood. Its goal is to ensure that Westwood is an age-friendly community that provides infrastructure and services for all its residents, regardless of age, to live, participate and remain active through all phases of their lives.
The project is being conducted in conjunction with the mayor and council of Westwood. Mayor John Birkner and council recently adopted the Best Cities for Successful Aging Pledge, recognizing the importance of the community's seniors and makes a commitment to ensure that each Borough department and agency addresses the well-being of its aging residents.
This grant represents phase one of the age-friendly initiative. The money will fund a six-month planning process, including comprehensively assessing the community's resources and strengths -- and identifying gaps and areas for improvement. The project will then formulate action plans and identify community stakeholders to work over the next three years to implement the necessary changes.
"Everyone is a senior in training," said Jeanne Martin, Director of Pascack Valley Meals on Wheels. "So everyone in the community can have an impact on this initiative.
"Our project presents a valuable opportunity to build greater awareness of the needs of seniors and particularly of the rapidly growing number of baby boomers who will be aging in the near future. Most people want to remain living at home and our project is seeking to take a comprehensive approach to make that possible in Westwood."
"Keeping seniors in Westwood is a win-win," said Birkner. "Seniors are an asset to our community. The Borough benefits from their experience and their contributions to all our citizens and also from the financial stability of retaining valuable residents."
Following the planning phase, Meals on Wheels will apply to the Foundation for an implementation grant, as well.
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