Thursday, November 3, 2016
7:00PM to 8:00PM
Location:  Carlisle Town Hall

The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by David Klein, COA Director and Key Project Collaborator.

Present were (8 people):  Linda Fantasia, BOH Health Agent; David Klein, COA Director; BOH Vice Chairman; Bill Risso, Board of Selectman; Maxine Crowther, Board of Council on Aging (COA); Alan Canova, Chairman, Carlisle Veterans Committee; Caitlin Coyle, PhD, Center for Social & Demographic Research on Aging Gerontology Institute, U. of Mass., Boston; Jason Chandonnet, Web Design/IT Assistance; and Judy Hodges, BOH Administrative Assistant, who took meeting notes.

  1. Introductions
  2. Topics Discussed: Demographic Profile of Carlisle presented by Caitlin Coyle, PhD.; Group discussion of additional demographic characteristics to include in survey; Update on website (Fantasia/Chadonnet; Schedule for next meeting.

Website Update and Project Promotion

Linda Fantasia informed server space for the Caring for Carlisle web site had been rented for one year.  Jason Chandonnet stated the ‘lead’ web page contents had been completed, which explain what the grant is about and who the parties are responsible for executing the research study.   Fantasia stated that she is the registered user of the web site.  Fantasia also said the project team would now need to create newsletters, etc., to populate the web site.   Chandonnet said that he could assist in informing the team of how to best use the web site.

SPAGHETTI SUPPER PROMOTION:  Fantasia said that she had attended the Carlisle School Spaghetti Supper on Tuesday evening, October 18, to pass out Caring for Carlisle promotional cards to residents, while also informing them of what the grant represents and of the related, upcoming survey project.  She informed that residents seemed to express a positive response to the opportunity to provide input to the project undertaking.  Fantasia also mentioned that the next key step is to put the survey up on the web site; she also suggested that the web site should have tabs on it, allowing for various entities, such as the Veterans Committee, to promote the grant research.  David Klein stated that Maxine Crowther and other COA volunteers could also work to pass out the promotional cards on behalf of the grant project.  Alan Canova stated that the promotional cards could be passed out by the Veterans Committee members at the Carlisle COA Veterans Day Road Race on Friday, November 11.

PROPOSED OPIOD VIGIL:  Fantasia spoke of a proposed Opiod Vigil, a candlelight ceremony (held outdoors) for those lost to drug overdose.  If held, recognition of the drug abuse problem could gain greater public awareness.  Her intention is to work with the community’s churches to schedule this event and wants to “cull out” those people involved and/or participating in the vigil as participants for the survey.  Fantasia added that October is ‘Substance Awareness Month.’  Coyle inquired as to who these people might be and Fantasia explained that many people involved in substance abuse do not want to volunteer information about their problems.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING FORUM AT BENFIELD FARMS:  Klein informed that on Saturday, November 5, at Benfield Farms, an ‘Affordable Housing Forum’ is being held.  The forum’s purpose is to discuss specific housing needs of the community to better understand how to invest in the future.  Klein mentioned that as a ‘rural’ community, the survey response rate/public outreach tends to be 10% or higher than for cities or even suburban communities.

Demographic Profile of Carlisle (Coyle)

Coyle explained the data provided in her slides was based on research from the American Community Survey (1-3-5 year intervals), an ongoing statistical survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau about changes in America’s population, housing and workforce.  She also informed that it is important to contextualize the data she presented.

Coyle showed a slide that provided age and gender distribution of Carlisle residents.  It showed that there is a larger population of females across all age tiers who live in town.  Another slide displayed median annual housing costs from 2010-2014 in Carlisle:  Median selling price was $34,368K; 98 renters; 2,994 home owners = $35,928K.  Klein inquired if the housing statistics were similar to those of other towns.  Coyle responded only 3% of Carlisle’s residents are at poverty level, according to the data, and this number is very few when compared to other communities.

Another slide provided by Coyle showed that among those polled as heads of households, 63% of residents own their own home as compared to 23% who do not.  (Balance?)  Well over half of these homeowners who are heads of households are over 65 years of age.

Klein informed that he would request data from the Town Clerk on the current number of residents in Carlisle.  He had heard a number of 5,300 residents, but wanted to get the latest accurate count.

Carlisle Residents in the Labor Force (Slide):  77% = 45-54 years of age; 33% = 65-74 years of age; 8% = 75+ years of age.

Selected Worker Characteristics – Carlisle (Slide):  20.8% = self-employed; 13.7% = report working at home; 50.6% work full-time (40 or more hours/week); 34 minutes = mean time to travel to/from work.

Median Earnings ($) Based on Sex – Carlisle (Slide):  Year-round, full-time workers = $82K for females; $152,083K for males.  Population age 16+ with earnings: $48K for females; $116.8 for males.

Coyle inquired if residents had expressed public transportation needs.  Klein responded that the COA has heard from disabled residents that have requested help in being transported that this is a need.  Fantasia said that public transportation is not really needed in Carlisle since there are not really any stores, medical offices, etc., to which to be transported within town.   Canova stated that the V.A. Hospital in Bedford serves the Town of Carlisle; there are 194 veterans in town based on the latest count.  Fantasia asked if information about veterans is contained with the census data.  Canova responded that the information is available, based on sex, and he would check with the Town Clerk’s Office to for this data.

Percentage (%) of Carlisle Children Enrolled in School (Slide):  5-17 years of age = 100%; 18-24 years of age = 70-75%; 25+ years of age = under 5%.

Residents with College Degree – Carlisle (Slide):  87% = 45-64 years of age.

Other Resident Stats – Carlisle (Slide):  12.5% = foreign-born; 26% = older adults, age 65+ years; 18% = under 18 years of age.  Maxine Crowther said that there are a lot more Asians moving into Carlisle and that this is exemplary of greater diversity.  Fantasia added that more Indians had moved into town as well in recent years.

In terms of older adults, Klein informed that the number of ‘meals on wheels’ delivered weekly were typically less than ten.  He also added that there is a tax-deferral program for seniors, whereby the town puts a lien against a senior’s property for a period of time until the tax payments are satisfied.  He said that only one resident has applied for this program and that resident has since moved.

Coyle exhibited a slide which provided projections for Carlisle’s population growth out to 2030 based on data from three research sources and asked if these statistics were representative of what attendees might now anticipate for the town.  The three data sources indicated that the population would decline.  Fantasia asked if ‘multigenerational living’ might be a topic to be included in the survey questionnaire, and if it would be possible to ask residents how long they have living in the town.  Coyle showed a slide using three data sources and indicating that the population of Carlisle would decrease, not increase, looking out over the next several years.  She asked what kinds of trends or signs we see in terms of population growth factors.  Klein responded that the town has a high percentage of conservation lands, as well as a state park that is over 900 acres, all of which land parcels are not able to be built out.  He added that it would appear that many residents may move to Carlisle to enjoy its open spaces.  Bill Risso inquired if the population of Carlisle is likely to increase, given that last year 12 homes were built, yet this year only eight new homes were built.  Klein mentioned that the town has no community center and the COA has only a small office at Town Hall so perhaps a community center is needed.  Klein mentioned that some single-family properties have detached, ‘accessory’ apartments, perhaps a basement, carriage house or converted garage that afford the property owners to house family members or relatives.

Klein asked if it would be possible to learn who specifically is filling out the questionnaire.  And, Canova inquired if the questionnaire could identify those respondents who are veterans.

Coyle asked how residents in Carlisle engage in its resources.   Canova inquired if there are issues with services for Carlisle veterans.  Klein responded that the town shares a veteran’s agent with Billerica, yet he is not aware if the ‘sharing’ (e.g., fewer hours available) is a sore point with veterans.  Fantasia asked how often the veteran’s services are used by veterans.  Canova replied since Billerica is a much larger town, it receives the majority of veteran agent hours.  Coyle suggested that the project team may want to understand that demographic better.

As for the issue relative to unemployment, Fantasia added that it might be helpful to understand how many residents are out of work in Carlisle.

Klein informed that there were 75 attendees at the most recently-held COA luncheon, and added that while some came to socialize, others “need that good meal.”  The recent COA luncheon was better attended than others in the past, said Klein.  He also said that the Gleason Library delivers high value from a cultural standpoint, and that contributes to overall health.

Fantasia mentioned that previous CHNA grant recipients, including representatives from Bedford and Concord, would be meeting the next week in Concord to provide their input about ‘lessons learned’ during their recruitment for stakeholder/committee members and from their data collection efforts.  She informed that it is required that as a grant recipient Carlisle representative(s) meet quarterly with a CHNA representative to provide input as to where the project is headed and what steps have already been taken to ensure an eventual, successful outcome.  Klein asked when the survey would be available and Coyle informed a draft survey would be available early in 2017 (February, as currently planned).   Coyle said she believes that as weather conditions affect people, March might be the best month to begin to deploy the survey.  Klein then inquired how long individuals would have to complete the survey.  Coyle responded that she suggests survey completion should run from two to three weeks, as it is important to keep up a strong level of momentum.  Klein then asked if winter weather might be a barrier to outreach, given that a number of people travel to warmer climates in the winter.

Coyle stated that one way of contextualizing the data derived from the research effort would be to conduct three focus groups as had been proposed at the project outset.  She believes that March to April might be the best months in which to conduct these groups.  Klein informed that Town Meeting is scheduled during April to May and Fantasia commented that it would be helpful to reveal the results of the survey at a public meeting such as the spring Town Meeting.  Risso said that a higher response rate to the survey might be best gained by informing residents that the results to it would be presented at Town Meeting.

Coyle will next develop the draft survey.  Klein said the survey should likely be kept as short as possible, but not so short it does not yield helpful information upon which to base future decision-making.  Coyle informed that older individuals would be most likely to fill out the survey.  Klein inquired if the questionnaire would address the issue of ‘depression.’  Coyle responded that she did not think it was a good idea to ask residents about depression levels.  Fantasia said that it would be helpful to understand stress levels within the Carlisle community, as Concord had done; Concord found stress was prevalent among its residents.  Risso inquired what might be done about “incomplete” surveys.  Coyle said her team would try to utilize whatever data was available on a survey in any meaningful way that it could.  She also said that we should expect nothing less than a 20% response to the survey, given that the issue is wellness.  She suggests too that the committee members continue with their outreach efforts, such as the promotion conducted by Fantasia at the Carlisle School Spaghetti Supper.

Fantasia asked if someone comments negatively about the survey, how should this be addressed?  Chandonnet said that he will continuously monitor the Caring for Carlisle web site for any feedback or messages and has control over who has access to what.  Klein stated that permanent content is needed for the web site.   Fantasia stated that the town may have interest in maintaining the web site after the grant project is completed.

The meeting concluded at 8:25PM.

NEXT MEETING:   To be scheduled (in February) when a draft questionnaire is available from Caitlin Coyle and her team for the committee’s commentary.

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