Aging in MetroWest Massachusetts: Key Findings

The MetroWest region as a whole shows positive results on many indicators of healthy aging. Four towns in MetroWest Massachusetts – Belmont, Carlisle, Wellesley and Stow – are among the six communities statewide that each score better than state averages on the greatest number of healthy aging indicators. By nearly every indicator – from preventative health to chronic disease (e.g., diabetes, hypertension) to service utilization – older residents of these communities are doing better than state averages.

For example, Carlisle has a high of 24 out of nearly 100 indicators above the state average. In fact, Carlisle shows the lowest percentages in the state for older adults who have ever been diagnosed with either lung disease or heart disease. Similarly, Boxborough, Concord, Lincoln and Stow are among the top five communities in the state with the lowest rates of diabetes among older adults (16 to 18 percent, compared to a state average of 32 percent). Lincoln also leads the state for the lowest percentage of older adults with hypertension (60 percent compared to a state average of 78 percent).

In addition to lower prevalence rates for many chronic conditions, older residents in many MetroWest communities are doing better than state averages on health behavior indicators such as receiving emotional support, eating recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and not smoking. While the state average for older adults in Massachusetts who smoke is 9 percent, the lowest rates (less than 5 percent) are found in the west suburban towns outside of Boston.

However, for some indicators (e.g., osteoporosis, hip fracture, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias) rates in many MetroWest communities exceed the state average. For example, Concord, Sudbury, Framingham, Marlborough and Weston all exceed the state average for Alzheimer’s disease (at over 16 percent compared to a state average of 14 percent).

In Framingham, the hub of the MetroWest region, older residents also have higher rates of depression, hypertension, breast cancer, colon cancer and osteoporosis, among others. In addition, Framingham older adults have a greater than state average number of annual hospital stays, inpatient hospital readmissions and emergency room visits.

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