Gateway News

A Portrait of Wellbeing: The Status of Seniors in Maine

from Jessica Maurer, Executive Director of Maine Agencies on Aging:

I wanted to make you aware of an important new report on the status of older Mainers released today and of an advocacy opportunity. First, the John T. Gorman Foundation issued a new report today called A Portrait of Wellbeing, The Status of Seniors in Maine that highlights economic, housing and social factors impacting older adults across 10 regions within the state.  This report creates a terrific baseline for measuring progress in these areas in the coming years.

Among the publication’s findings:
•     Maine has a higher percentage of seniors with low incomes than neighboring states: 29% compared to 21.1% in New Hampshire and 23.5% in Vermont.
•     Seniors living in southeast Cumberland County are more likely to be poor or low-income when compared to those living in other areas of the state.
•     Seniors in Oxford, Somerset, Franklin, and Piscataquis counties, as well as southeast Cumberland County, are more likely to live alone.
•     Half of Maine’s senior renters live in homes where more than 30 percent of total household income is spent on housing costs.
•     Across the state, low-income seniors consistently fare worse than their higher-income peers on indicators of well-being: they are more likely be burdened by housing costs, whether they rent or own, are less likely to be married, and are three times more likely to live alone.
Second, last legislative session, there was an effort by Fairpoint to eliminate their obligation to be the “provider of last resort” – meaning that they need to ensure landline service in remote areas where other phone service might not otherwise be available.  Landline service is critically important to rural seniors, not just for socialization and access to needed emergency services, but also for medical monitoring of certain health devises like pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators.  The bill was carried over to this session to see if folks could reach an agreement on the issues.  No agreement was reached and the bill will be considered again this session.  AARP Maine has issued a petition opposing this change and is collecting signatures from folks who want to make sure landline service remains available to our most rural older adults.  I’ve attached an information sheet and a copy of the petition.  Folks can also sign the petition online.  Please consider signing the petition and circulating it to others who may be interested.

by April 18, 2016 Gateway News

Senior Yellow Pages, Local and State Services for Seniors in Greater Bangor

Since late September 2016, the Senior Yellow Pages has been available.  The Manual of Local and State Services for Seniors in the Greater Bangor area was developed by Gateway Seniors Without Walls, with assistance from students and staff at the Center of Aging, University of Maine, and the partnering agencies of the MOOV  Penobscot Thriving in Place Project. The manual is roughly 250 pages.  It is free to anyone who wants one and is available in  libraries, the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, and elsewhere. We have distributed 2200 copies throughout greater Bangor. We hope to revise the manual in the next few years, correcting errors, removing services that no longer exist and expanding the coverage of services and topics. Among the features of the manual:

  •  covers greater Bangor, including Alton, Bangor, Bradford, Bradley, Brewer, Eddington, Glenburn, Hampden, Holden, Hermon, Kenduskeag, Milford, Old Town, Orono, Orrrington, and Veazie
  • very comprehensive
  • 14 pitch type, easy to see and read
  • introductions explain complex topics
  • includes information such as phone number, address, and website
  • describes services, covering what is special about each
  • contains table of contents
  • contains index
  • available free

Advance Praise from Social Service Agencies

“I just finished going through your wonderful Senior Yellow Pages for edits and, I must say, you have done some incredible work!!  Kudos! I think this resource guide will be very helpful to those who use it including the many helpers who look for resources on other people’s behalf.”  

“Wow–This is a huge undertaking.”

“This will be a great resource for the area.”

“I am fairly sure I have never seen such a comprehensive document.  Great, great, great job!”

 

by April 7, 2016 Gateway News

Gateway Seniors Participates in the EAAA’s TIP Grant

The press release that follows describes the awarding of 3 new “Thriving in Place (TIP)” grants.  With resources from the grant, Gateway Seniors expects to assume several new roles, including a second printing of the Senior Yellow Pages and serving at risk elderly people with resources that will improve their quality of life and ability to thrive in their own communities.

Health Foundation Promotes ‘Thriving in Place’ with New Implementation Grants

Augusta, ME (November 12, 2015)—Three Maine communities are receiving a total of $872,057 over three years in grant support as part of the Maine Health Access Foundation’s (MeHAF) Thriving in Place initiative to promote community efforts to assist people with chronic health conditions stay healthy and in their homes rather than needing hospital or nursing home care.  This program is part of MeHAF’s work to improve the way health care is experienced by patients.

Eastern Area Agency on Aging, SeniorsPlus, and York County Community Action Corporation previously had MeHAF planning grant support to develop partnerships and solicit feedback from their communities on strategies that would help support people with chronic illness. These three organizations now join six other communities participating in the Thriving in Place initiative. All TiP grantees participate in regular trainings and meetings to share what they are learning.

“Maine people are independent and want to remain in their homes and communities as long as possible. Thriving in Place communities bring organizations and local residents together so they can better coordinate their efforts across health care and social services so everyone is working side by side to keep people living independently in their community,” said Dr. Wendy Wolf, President and CEO of the foundation.  “As the state with the oldest population in the nation and with high rates of disability, Maine must be planning now for strategies that can help people, particularly those who are older, stay healthy and receive needed care and support at home.”

TiP uses a team approach. The partnering organizations receiving this grant support include health care providers, social service agencies, volunteer networks, in-home support and community support organizations.  Working together, these partnerships will coordinate community resources to help people better.

“TiP communities are developing very creative and cost-effective strategies to keep people supported in their homes. Daily check-in telephone programs with police, high school community service projects making home repairs, having Meals on Wheels volunteers trained to screen people for depression, and reducing social isolation with social activities are just a few of the many ways TiP communities offer alternatives to the expensive over-reliance on hospitals and assisted living facilities to care for older and disabled people with chronic health conditions. TiP communities aren’t just better for aging people; they are the communities where all of us want to live,” said Dr. Becky Hayes Boober, MeHAF Senior Program Officer overseeing the TiP program.

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The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) is Maine’s largest, private, nonprofit health care foundation dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improving the health of everyone in Maine.  MeHAF uses its grant resources and expertise to identify and move forward key initiatives and issues to improve Maine’s health care system, so people across every region of Maine have access to quality care for better health.

Local grant contacts:

Eastern Area Agency on Agency (greater Bangor area) Noelle Merrill, Executive Director; 207-941-2865; nmerrill@eaaa.org or Dyan Walsh, Director of Community and Family Caregiver Services; 207-941-2865; dwalsh@eaaa.org

SeniorsPlus (Western Maine)  Betsy Sawyer-Manter, Executive Director; 207-513-3701; bsawyer-mater@seniorsplus.org or Connie Jones, Director of Community Services; 207-513-3705; cjones@seniorsplus.org

York County Community Action Corp (York County) Barbara Crider, Executive Director; 207-459-2957; barbc@yccac.org or Rebekah Hayes, Director of Strategic Planning and Program Development; 207-324-5762; rebekah.hayes@yccac.org

by December 9, 2015 Gateway News

Gateway Supports Study at the Center on Aging, University of Maine

The University of Maine, Center on Aging, under the leadership of Dr. Len Kaye, studied the needs for transportation among the elderly in the towns of Old Town, Veazie, and Orono.  David Wihry, a research associate at the Center on Aging, served as the principal investigator.  This study, which was endorsed by the town managers of the three municipalities: Bill Mayo, Mark Leonard, and Sophie Wilson, consisted of three components: interviewing experts who work with the elderly and know about transportation and transportation gaps, researching transportation programs that are already in place for elders, and surveying older people in the three communities to learn more about their perceived needs. Gateway Seniors Without Walls provided financial support.  Stanley Freeman and Cyr Busline each donated $500.

by January 30, 2014 Gateway News

Focus Groups by Gateway Seniors Without Walls

On Monday August 12, 2013, Gateway Seniors Without Walls began to conduct Focus Groups to assess the needs of seniors in terms of activities, services, and programs in Orono and surrounding towns. Older and younger adults, public officials, and members of the business community were all involved in discussions. Questionnaires were also administered. If you are interested in providing feedback about our programs at any time, call Gateway Seniors Without Walls, at 889-3031 or email us at GatewaySeniorsWithoutWalls @gmail.com. You may also provide feedback on our website. Use the link at the bottom of each page.

by August 6, 2013 Gateway News