Community Conversations: Aging in Maine | September 13, 2017

Community Conversations: Aging in Maine | September 13, 2017

In case it is of use, here are some notes from the event as I remember them and a little extra:

We had two speakers introduced by Jan John, Community Outreach Committee Chair: Jess Maurer and Steve Raymond.

Jesse Maurer is an attorney and Executive Director for Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging located in Augusta. She is Program Director of the Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging and Co-Chair of Maine Council on Aging. She also part of “Harpswell Aging at Home.” More information on the Harpswell story.

Steve Raymond started nursing since he was 23, I believe. When he lived in California he was director, at different times, of home care agencies, one in Los Angeles and one in Monterrey. He is currently the director of marketing and community outreach at Lincoln Home in Newcastle. He is a producer and host for LCTV “Spotlight on Seniors” program. There is a video with the Hon. Mark Eves about his “Keep Me Home Initiative” at:

Handed out at the event was a brochure that provides this Internet address: www.agefriendly.community

Maine is the oldest state. We have about a 25% population of age 65 and older. Yet we are deficient in senior housing, affordable senior housing, and public transportation now, leaving people to wonder if they will be able to stay in their homes or even their communities. The waiting list for affordable senior homes is great, around 9,000 last year by low estimate, and depending on the community, a five year wait. There are also not enough potential in home care assistants. Today, people can earn more working for retail or phone calling centers than assisting people in their homes. At the same time, nursing home facilities are understaffed – again due to low pay – so beds can not be filled even when there are empty ones.

What is recommended is to do several things. Call up your legislators and let them know what you want in your future, more housing, better wages and career opportunities for care workers, more or better public transportation, health care facilities in your community if you don’t have them. Mary Ann Pinkham, past Executive Director of Spectrum Generations, suggested that we ask our selectmen and selectwomen and town administrators to include aging related matters in town comprehensive plans. Someone (whose name I forget) from Catholic Charities spoke up about their services. I have seen the organization make a great difference in some people’s lives and provide an opportunity for those who want to volunteer.

What was the greatest point for me to hear was that we who are aging might form groups with friends to help each other out in our senior years. My first response was to think government is the better solution. Then I realized we may need both options. We probably need multiple solutions. So maybe this is not a bad idea, a group of aging friends, maybe it is even wise.

Thanks to Jan John for putting this event together.

Celeste Carey
Newcastle

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