November 10, 2017
The AFCI is pleased to welcome the sixth local town to the Age-Friendly Community movement. Welcome, Hanover! With its new representative to the Council, the current AFCI Council members are: Al Cressy, Chair (Bethel rep), Nancy Davis, Vice Chair; Jane Chandler, Secretary (Woodstock rep); Peter Musso, Jr.,Treasurer (Greenwood rep); Anita Clark (Newry rep); Lise McLain (Gilead rep); Shirley Powell (Hanover rep); Valerie Cole; Charlie Reiss; Barbara Schneider; and Maryvonne Wheeler. What a diverse, talented crew!
We’re always fine-tuning how we keep in touch with you and have recently decided not to continue the print copy of our monthly newsletter (that’s the brightly colored tri-fold pieces). We suspect that folks are more likely to keep in touch through the Bethel Citizenor this digital newsletter. If you know someone who’s not on our email list and would like to receive the monthly electronic newsletter, please contact us (information below).
There will still be display racks in public places; instead of the colored newsletters, they will contain two other items which will not change frequently: a teal blue 5x8 inch flyer with AFCI updates and a 3x6 inch laminated rack card/bookmark. Soon we will be distributing our print Resource Directories around the communities. Unfortunately, they are not for general distribution, just for reference in public places (which we’ll publicize as we get them out to the sites). The directory has been on our website for some time now. *The AFCI Neighbor-to-Neighbor Volunteer Driver Program is now offering free local medical and non-medical rides to seniors 60 and over who live in Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Hanover, Newry or Woodstock. Medical rides must be requested at least seven business days in advance, and non-medical rides at least three. Ride requests are filled pending the availability of our AFCI-certified volunteer drivers. If you need a ride, call our Age-Friendly Transportation Coordinator at 824-4444. We are looking for more volunteer drivers, particularly those living in Gilead and Woodstock, to join our initial group of 13 drivers for local, non-medical rides. If interested, please contact Al Cressy at 824-0508.
The initial period of our AARP Community Challenge grant is about to wind down, but most activities will continue. A core feature of the 3-pronged Home Safety Program is a comprehensive set of adaptive tools to aid with everyday tasks. These have been on display in a variety of community venues, and there will be many more opportunities for citizens to “play with” the tools. Printed brochures contain details on purchasing individual tools.
A second feature of the project has been the Home Assessment program, designed to bring consultant services to home-owners in our original five towns, assessing both the resident’s strength, flexibility and general fitness, and any safety risk factors within the home. Ten assessments have been scheduled and funded, and we have just allocated money to conduct two more for residents in Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Hanover, Newry and Woodstock. These assessments are performed by a State-licensed Occupational Therapist. To apply, contact Occupational Therapist Brie Weisman at 364-7056.
Another feature of the Challenge Grant: watch for more information on free home smoke detectors provided by the Red Cross through local fire departments.
Under the sponsorship of the AFCI, Gould Academy, and the Bethel Recreation Committee, the “Walk the Gym” program has begun for the winter season. No registration is required, and the program is free and open to anyone age 60 and over. Emphasizing the improvement of balance, strength and flexibility, activities include walking at your own pace, optional tai chi and qi gong practice, and “Matters of Balance” exercises. Come to Gould’s Bingham Gym any of these times: Tuesdays 1:30-3:00, Wednesdays 10:00-11:00 am, Thursday s, 1:30-2:30.
The Western Mountains Senior College is sponsoring a Shared Heritage Potluck on Tuesday, November 14, 12:15-1:30 at the Moses Mason House in Bethel (see details in the November 9th Bethel Citizen).
WMSC also presents the Senior College Players’ annual performance – Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18, 7:00 pm at the Gould Academy Trustees’ Auditorium.
The Methodist Church (Main Street, Bethel) is offering a series of Healthy Eating Classes the second Tuesday of every month. The first one, on fruits and vegetables, is Tuesday, November 14, 11:00am-1:00 at the church on Main St., Bethel. Free and open to the public. FMI: 824-2328.
Upcoming events, as noted in the Bethel Citizen’s Community Calendar: W.P. Congregational Church Open Mic, Veterans Day Celebration, Winter Farmers’ Market, Turkey Supper, The Gem Theater, Special Bethel Town Meeting.
Recently the NPR show “On Being” held a fascinating extensive interview with Atul Gawande, author of “Being Mortal.” www.onbeing.org/programs/atul-gawande-what-matters-in-the-end-oct2017.
We always need help! Got an hour? Have some ideas? Want to help implement a project? Please contact us: by email, firstname.lastname@example.org; our website,www.agefriendlybethel.org; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)
* But wait – your very own copy! Attached is a pdf file of the Resource Directory. Feel free to use it as you wish.
October 5, 2017
The AFCI is always trying to improve our communications and interactions with the community. We are aware that a sizable portion of our audience is not comfortable with digital communication. We welcome any suggestions from you, our digital audience. And – please – if you have family members, neighbors or friends who are not receiving emails or can’t access our website, pass along any information you feel they might benefit from.
Attached are two flyers you might pass along. One announces a new AARP-grant-related program we’re offering for FREE home safety assessments. The other is a simple update on current AFCI programs.
The AFCI is making news. I was recently a panelist at two different state-wide conferences in Augusta, sharing our progress in the five community initiative serving Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock. In a few weeks, Allen Cressy will be a presenter at the national AARP Livable Communities conference in Dallas.
In a nationwide competitive Challenge Grant sponsored by AARP national, our initiative was awarded a sizeable grant which has permitted us to begin work on the AFCI Home Safety Program. The Congo Craftsmen have made wooden display racks, and we have begun a traveling exhibit of the wide variety of adaptive tools. Our local visits allow us valuable conversations with members of the public. In addition to an exhibit and conversation at the Whitman Memorial Library, we have visited the Bethel Senior Citizens luncheon, the Bethel House, and the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend; we also have plans for the Aging Well Living Well Expo on October 6 and the Community Supper on October 25. We are eager to meet with other groups; contact us if you’re interested.
The AFCI now offers two rides programs, free for over-60 residents of Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Newry, and Woodstock. Call Transportation Coordinator Kay Rector (207-824-2444) for rides to medical destinations through the Community Concepts/VDP (Volunteer Driver Program). Call the same number for non-medical destinations within the 5 communities, through the new AFCI N2N (Neighbor to Neighbor) program, which has just begun.Recently I watched Atul Gawande on TV – what an inspiring person! You may remember that it was his book “Being Mortal” that inspired our AFCI endeavor almost three years ago. That book – as well as many other age-related books specially selected by AARP – is in a collection and available to check out at theBethel Library.
Did you know that the AFCI has an exhibit of brochures from local service agencies? It is now at Bennett’s Auto Shop and in the future will continue moving around our communities.
Friday, October 6 is the tenth annual Aging Well Living Well Expo sponsored by Seniors Plus – 8:15 am-4:00 pm at Sunday River. The AFCI will be there with our Adaptive Toolkit. And Saturday and Sunday, the 7th and 8th, is the Fall Festival at Sunday River. On Saturday the 7th: the Woodstock-Greenwood Parade of Lights and the Celebration of Fall in Hanover. Tuesday, October 10: Harvest Dinner Dance; Wednesday, October 11, Senior Citizens Club Meeting; Thursday, October 12, “Be Safe in Your Room,” a To Your Health program of the Western Mountains Senior College.
The Mahoosuc Heart & Soul program is still gathering stories from community residents; let them know why you live here, what you value about your community, and what, if anything, you’d like changed. FMI and to either be interviewed or volunteer as an interviewer or story-listener, contact Cat Ingraham (email@example.com, 207-590-0541).
AARP says that “We love caregivers, and we want to put them in the spotlight. So if you have a family caregiving story, tell us about it!” And AARP promises to “give you a $50 gift card as a thank-you — because your story matters.” Find out more at https://act.aarp.org/iheartcaregivers/?cmp=EMC-DSO-NLC-RSS-CAREGIVING-CGINCENT-CTRL-073117-P7-
The Ken Burns 10-part series on the Viet Nam War was recently aired on Maine Public Television. You may access the programs athttp://mainepublic.org/post/vietnam-war-documentary#stream.
AARP reminds us that “With credit-reporting firm Equifax revealing that hackers may have stolen financial and consumer data on at least 143 million customers in the U.S., it’s quite possible that your personal information — including birth date, Social Security number, driver’s license and address — could fall into the hands of criminals.” Read the AARP advice athttp://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2017/equifax-cyber-attack-data-breach-fd.html
Remember the days before computers? Do you (as I do) still own atypewriter? A new film, California Typewriter, stars Tom Hanks, who owns 250 typewriters. Another aficionado is historian David McCullough, who says typing “has a tactile sensation to it that I think is part of our humanity.” (http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/television/info-2017/documentary-explores-typewriter.
To contact the AFCI by email: firstname.lastname@example.org; our website:www.agefriendlybethel.org. Visit our Facebook page: @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)
September 7, 2017
The AFCI has begun an ambitious Home Safety Project; you’ll be hearing about other features of it in the coming weeks. The first piece is our purchase of an impressive collection of adaptive tools for home use, including things like kitchen helpers and aids to facilitate vision and manual dexterity.
The tools were carefully researched and selected by Mary LeConey, Occupational Therapist, and Jane Chandler, Registered Nurse, both with Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice. A special catalog will list how you may purchase these tools, including locally.
As part of the education and awareness feature of our program, we’re displaying the tools collection this fall. In several public get-togethers, an AFCI member will show the collection and catalog and encourage conversation about age-related issues.
The first such opportunity will be at the Bethel Area Senior Citizens meeting/luncheon on Wednesday, September 13. This will be followed by other get-togethers, including the October 6 Seniors Plus Aging Well, Living Well expo at Sunday River and the Alliance Church’s Community Supper in October.
Hooray! We’ve finished the Resource Directory for our website! But maybe you haven’t even visited our website ... there’s a lot of good stuff on there; go see for yourself (www.agefriendlybethel.org)! And now our feature item is ready for consumption. We’ve worked hard to compile a guide to services available to seniors (and others) - most in our area, but some are statewide. On the website click on the “Resources” tab and then “Directory of Services.” We developed it because of suggestions from our community survey two years ago, and we think it will be of great use to community residents. Be sure to tell us if we’ve forgotten any category or if information needs to be updated. The directory is primarily an online service, and we will be updating it as frequently as possible. While there will be a few printed copies available as resources throughout the five communities, they will not be distributed (and won’t be as up-to-date).
End of summer = produce galore! If you have excess produce, you may take it to Nabos on Main and Mechanic Streets in Bethel; Amanda will put it out for people to take (and you may take some too) and get it to the Food Pantry on the appropriate days.
A few upcoming events: on Friday, September 8, several interesting events, including an Introduction to Reiki for cancer patients; Saturday, September 9, Alder River Grange potluck dinner, ceramics workshop, Kickoff for CROP (Communities Respond to Overcome Poverty; Sunday, September 10, Garden to Gourmet with Anna Sysko; Tuesday, September 12, dinner dance at Jackson-Silver Post 68; Thursday, September 14, Maine Outdoor Film Festival at the Gem Theater.
Learn about the Grandparent Scam from AARP at http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2017/scam-victim- profile.html? You might be a typical victim if this describes you: “Predators know that I am conscientious about my family's safety and well-being. That's what they are counting on when they call me up with the grandparent scam. That's the one in which someone who has learned enough details about me, perhaps through a hack of my email account, makes a convincing call posing as a grandchild in distress and begging for a quick cash drop. I'm also a prime target for the IRS scam, in which a convincing letter or phone call warns me of arrest or ruinous fines unless I send money to settle a tax debt. Even if I smell a rat, I might follow through to avoid jeopardizing my family.” Do not respond to such requests!
AARP quotes a new poll finding that the vast majority of patients between 50 and 80 years of age don’t talk to their health care providers about the cost of the medicines being prescribed for them or about whether less costly alternatives are available. Patients are urged to open this conversation with their doctors, as healthcare providers are often able to suggest lower-cost drug options. http://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2017/physicians- lower-prescription-drug-costs-fd.html?
AARP celebrates male caregivers through a series of videotaped stories; visithttp://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2017/celebrate-male- caregivers-studios.html? Also of Interest are several Caregiving Guides: First-Time Caregiver, Long- Distance Caregiving, and Caregiving at Home.
AARP notes that although the death rate from cancer in America is down 25 percent since 1991, the one type of cancer that is rapidly increasing is thyroid cancer. Find out more at http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/thyroid- cancer-rates-increasing-fd.html?
To contact the AFCI by email: email@example.com; our website:www.agefriendlybethel.org. Visit our Facebook page: @agefriendlybethel.
August 10, 2017
The AFCI Exercise, Safety, and Morning Greeting Task Forces are all developing programs and would love to have more community members helping in their work (see our contact information at the end). We recently received funding from the Maine Community Foundation to support both our Transportation program and our Outreach mission. The Transportation Task Force has a popular Volunteer Driver Program through which local residents over 60 years old can get a free ride to medical appointments. Rides are dependent on the availability of drivers and must be requested 3 business days in advance of your need. Call Transportation Coordinator Kay Rector at 824-4444. The new Neighbor to Neighbor Program (N2N) has just started, allowing transportation within the communities for multiple needs and activities.
A wide variety of skills would help the Communications and Information Team produce its array of promotional and educational pieces. The summer recreation program has been successful; be watching for news of the fall and winter walking program.
Remember to consult the Community Calendar; coming up: Friday, August 11, the Da Ponte String Quartet at the First Baptist Church, Paris. Sunday, August 13 – American Legion Post 81 Annual Picnic; Mahoosuc Community Band Annual Concert. Wednesday, August 16 – Waterford Summer Breakfasts. Thursday, August 17 – “Rugs: 1790 to 1850” Program and Workshop at the Moses Mason House; Faith and Film at the Gem Theater.
We hope you saw our display at Mollyockett Day: a collection of intriguing tools especially designed for seniors who have lost some agility and might welcome help in simple household tasks. In the next few months we will be bringing that display to groups and exhibiting it in the communities.
As part of the Mahoosuc Heart & Soul program, Bethel’s favorite poet, Richard Blanco, presented a community event where he read from a work in progress, hoping to inspire listeners to “think about our connection to the Bethel area.” In addition to being the 2013 inaugural poet, Richard is a civil engineer, and he explained that “As an engineer, I specialized in community planning.” What terrific insight Blanco brings to the table.
‘Tis the season! Remember that you can take any excess produce from your flourishing garden to Nabos on Mechanic Street, Bethel; those who want/need produce may take some.
Here’s a tough one: what age is “old?” AARP recently asked millennials to define “old age” and to demonstrate what “old” looks like. Then they introduced them to some real “old” people. You can watch the young people’s astonishment to learn that aging is not about decline - it’s about growth. http://www.aarp.org/disrupt-aging/stories/ideas/info-2016/what-is-old-video.html?
AARP lists 20 ways to save hundreds of dollars – things like: buying glasses online and asking for open-box items (like computers). Lots of other simple ideas at http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-2017/how-to-save-hundreds-of-dollars.html?
AARP notes advice for minimizing your danger of getting tick-borne diseases(http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/tick-borne-heartland-virus-fd.html):
Mollyockett Day is Saturday, July 15, and we’ll be there! Our big AFCI logo banner will point you to our table, where there will be several items of interest. We’re featuring an age-friendly toolkit that we are planning to purchase and display in our communities. We have a new AFCI glossy bookmark and are asking your opinions on various of our projects. Come check us out! Also featured at Mollyockett Day will be the official launch of “Mapping Murder” by Newry’s own William Andrews. The AFCI summer exercise program is in full swing will continue through the summer. FMI on swimming: Bob Oikle (firstname.lastname@example.org, 576-5104). FMI on horseshoes: Eliza Barnes (email@example.com, 824-3703). Be sure to consult the Bethel Citizen’s Community Calendar for lots of other fun summer activities in our area. Thursday, July 13: “Mornings at the Museum”; July 14-15: Bethel Library Book Sale.