|Hello SMAA Volunteers!|
We wanted to make you aware of an exciting opportunity. (We know a number of you have already followed up on this – but wanted to send it one more time!) Southern Maine Agency on Aging is supporting and partnering with The Maine Council on Aging’s Power in Aging Project. The Power in Aging project invites Mainers across the State to join their anti-ageism campaign to build an age-positive Maine. There are a number of ways to become involved in the Power in Aging Project. A priority of the Project is to hold conversations with groups and organizations to sensitize all to the presence and impacts of ageism, and motivate to take action to address ageism. As an organization dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, SMAA is pleased to take part in this project and invites you as well! The Power in Aging conversations are facilitated by volunteers trained and supported by the Maine Council on Aging. Because the SMAA community has a rich pool of seasoned and dedicated volunteers, we’re hosting a special virtual Q&A session over Zoom on Friday, July 9th. If you are interested in knowing more about the Power in Aging Project, and potentially becoming a volunteer conversation facilitator, please join the Zoom on Friday, July 9th at noon! Power in Aging Q&A Over Zoom Maine Council on Aging and SMAA Friday, July 9th 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Via Zoom – details below Don Harden, Project Manager, will do a quick overview and answer any questions.
Thank you, SMAA Volunteers, for your continued efforts on behalf of older adults in Maine!
With gratitude, The SMAA Team
Zoom information: Topic: Power in Aging Project – Q/A Session w/SMAA Time: Jul 9, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: For meeting link please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mills Administration, AARP Maine Announce Age-Friendly State Plan
February 4, 2021
Strategy will guide state’s work to ensure older Mainers thrive in their communities
The Mills Administration announced today Maine’s final Age-Friendly State Plan, the culmination of more than a year of collaboration with AARP and more than 50 other organizations throughout the state to craft a comprehensive strategy to help Maine’s older residents live well and safely in their communities.
The plan follows Maine’s designation in October 2019 as an AARP Age-Friendly State, the first step in a multiyear process to make Maine more livable for people of every age. Maine was the sixth state in the nation to receive the coveted designation, which provided access to critical data, technical advice, best practices and organizing tools to help Maine plan for the future and learn from a global network of partners to better serve older Mainers. Today, more than 100 communities in Maine also have the Age-Friendly designation.
Maine’s population is currently the oldest in the nation, with residents 60 and older making up nearly a third of the state’s total population. The Age-Friendly State Plan confronts this reality by offering strategies for how Mainers can age in their homes and communities as long as possible while continuing to contribute to the economy and live healthy lives.
- “Maine’s aging population is a valuable asset that can help us diversify our economy, strengthen our workforce, and create a brighter future for our state,” said Governor Mills. “But Maine’s demographics and the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic also present challenges that require innovative thinking, a solid plan, and decisive action to ensure our state continues to be a place where people of all ages can thrive. This plan is the result of strong collaboration among partners throughout our state who are devoted to this vision and my Administration looks forward to working with them to achieve its goals.”
- “On behalf of AARP Maine and all Mainers 50 and older, we thank Governor Mills for her leadership as Maine continues to serve as an age-friendly model for other states to follow,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “The new Maine Age-Friendly Action Plan sets our state on a strong path forward to address both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. This plan dignifies our collective commitment to make our cities, towns and neighborhoods livable and safe for all of us as we age.”
Under the plan, Maine’s Age-Friendly work will focus on 7 areas:
- Health Coverage, Health Care, Healthy Aging and Supportive Services: Protect access to health coverage through the Made for Maine Health Coverage Act, test new models for delivering health care, promote access to community services that prevent admissions to hospitals and nursing homes, and improve management of chronic health conditions
- Housing:Promote access to affordable housing byexploring new models, such as intergenerational and shared housing, and support older Mainers in remaining at home through modifications and accessibility improvements
- Employment and Financial Security: Embrace an aging workforce by incentivizing employers and creating training programs, improve access to existing financial planning and retirement resources, and protect older Mainers’ from fraud
- Accessible Communication and Information: Support access to high-speed internet and cellular service, make services and resources easier to access
- Transportation: Increase support for creative methods of transportation to reduce social isolation, increase access to goods and services, and allow Mainers to age in the communities of their choice
- Natural Resource Management, Outdoor Spaces and Recreation: Encourage opportunities for outdoor recreation for all abilities, support farmers and woodlot owners in succession planning to help them maintain their properties for future generations
- Respect, Equity and Social Engagement: Expand opportunities for inclusion and diversity, help aging Mainers retain dignity and autonomy, promote volunteerism and community service
Maine engaged multiple stakeholders and community leaders (PDF) throughout 2020 in drafting the Age-Friendly State Plan. Two committees, the Age-Friendly State Advisory Committee and the Age-Friendly State Steering Committee, worked throughout the year to identify these seven areas, highlight existing organizations doing important work in these areas, and to draft goals to guide Maine’s efforts moving forward. The effort was supported with staff contributions from the Public Allies Livable Communities Corps, a national public service initiative that placed volunteers in five states, including Maine.
The Maine Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, and Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, along with MaineHousing and other agencies, collaborated with AARP Maine on the plan. The plan is not specific to only state government, but can be used by businesses, civic groups, landowners, municipalities, non-profits and others to ensure that Maine continues to be a place where people of all ages can thrive.
“We’re committed to ensuring that Maine people of all ages can live with good health, independence, dignity and meaning in their communities,” said Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “This plan provides a roadmap for DHHS and our partners in state government and throughout Maine to support our aging population wisely and effectively.”
“One of the very strengths of Maine’s workforce is the experience and work ethic of our older residents,” said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. “This plan and the collaboration behind it will ensure that not only is our state welcoming to people of all ages but that our communities and employers continue to benefit from the talents that they bring.”
“This plan positions Maine to welcome more older residents into the state’s treasured open spaces and supports family farmers and woodland owners in protecting their legacies for future generations,” said Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal. “We were honored to participate in this collaborative effort and look forward to helping make Maine more livable for people of all ages.”
“Participating in the Age-Friendly State Advisory Committee highlighted how government, public and private sector service providers, and advocates can work together to bridge the usual silos that often act as barriers to good policy solutions,” said Rep. Jessica Fay. “By including people with all different kinds of expertise in the seven areas addressed, this process has been a learning experience for all of us and has resulted in a useful, high-quality plan. DHHS staff facilitated in-depth conversations leading to concrete strategic objectives, which when utilized, will not only positively impact the overall well-being and quality of life of older Mainers, but of all Maine people. I am excited to continue to follow this work and look forward to seeing the fruits of such an inclusive process.”
“As the oldest state in the nation, it is critical government, businesses, advocates, and others come together to ensure aging Mainers can live full, productive, and healthy lives,” said Senator Marianne Moore. “This new plan is the result of collaboration by committed partners throughout the state and represents a significant accomplishment that will improve the lives of all Maine people.”
Maine will now turn to implementing the recommendations and working with local partners to encourage age-friendly initiatives in all parts of the state, sponsored by employers, municipalities, community-based organizations, educational institutions, places of worship and others. At the state level, the Mills Administration will work to develop policies consistent with the plan and benchmarks to track progress toward its goals.
The Mills Administration has taken numerous steps to address barriers that prevent older residents from living safely in their homes and communities, including releasing $15 million in voter-approved bonds to build new affordable homes for older adults and to modify, repair, and weatherize existing homes. The Administration directed property tax relief for hundreds of thousands of Maine residents and enacted the Maine Affordable Housing Tax Credit program to double the construction rate of new affordable housing. Maine has also established the Elder Justice Coordinating Partnership to combat abuse of older adults, restored a program to make prescription medications affordable for older Mainers, and enacted laws to allow the wholesale importation of prescription medicine, create a prescription drug affordability board, increase drug price transparency, and better regulate pharmacy benefit managers.