Vol. 11, March 28, 2016
Fraud Alert. Have you seen the Sun Journal’s article every Wednesday taken from AARP’s Fraud Alert announcement? You can access all the AARP alerts at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or by calling 1-877-908-3360. A recent article was on grandparent scams. Someone calls posing as a grandchild in trouble who needs money wired immediately and secretly. Your best response? Hang up.
AARP Health Articles. The AARP February/March magazine has feature articles on, among others, “Five Causes of Pain That Will Surprise You” and “Is It a Heart Attack?” The AARP bulletin (a different publication) features many articles on cancer.
In both publications, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins quotes from her book, Disrupt Aging. She feels we need to change the conversation about aging and that there are “3 core areas – health, wealth, and self – in which we can embrace opportunities of aging.” She cautions that the work must be shared by national and local governments and the private sector – and that “we need to take some personal responsibility for ourselves.”
These could be the guiding tenets of our local Age-Friendly Community Project (a part of the AARP Network). We are working hard to bring all of these entities into play as we develop new ways of enhancing the lives of our senior population. Want to help? You may contact Nancy Davis (see below).
Transportation Task Force. The Bethel Area Age-Friendly Community Project is still in its infancy, and we are proud of what has been accomplished to date. In response to data collected from a community survey conducted in October 2015, the planning team is beginning to address top concerns. Foremost among them has been the availability of adequate transportation options for those unable to drive themselves; accordingly, a Transportation Task Force has begun work.
Bethel Project in the News. Some important groundwork is being laid for reaching out into the community. On April 1, Allen Cressy and Nancy Davis, from the Bethel Area planning team, will join a panel discussion on the topic of Outreach, at the Tri-State Summit on Aging in Concord, NH.
Our Bethel project was cited recently in an international AARP Journal. Entitled “Learning from Rural Communities” and written by Peter Morelli, the Manager of AARP Maine’s Age-Friendly Communities Program, the article identifies issues that are of more concern in rural areas than in urban Age-Friendly Communities. He notes that some “community affairs, such as recreation and social services, are often organized by committees with no or limited government affiliation. Local non- profits play a critical role.” The Bethel Committee, he says, “realizes the importance of contributing to town policy making, and a key member has joined in the town’s comprehensive planning process.”
Want to help in our work? You may contact Nancy Davis (email@example.com, 381-1110).
Giggles. Did you see this Dennis the Menace cartoon? Mr. Wilson tells Dennis: “It’s good to have goals in your life, but at my age … it seems like someone’s always moving the goalpost!” We know what you mean, Mr. Wilson!
Advocacy Message. The following message just arrived, having been sent to a wide mailing list; we thought you might be interested. Note that the only day to act is TODAY.
Last session, a broad, bi-partisan coalition passed a $15 million bond to build desperately needed affordable senior housing.
Last November, 69% of Maine voters approved the bond, underscoring the broad popular support for this investment in the infrastructure that will keep older adults aging in their communities.
This year, the Governor has failed to issue the bonds – citing any number of unfounded objections he has to the bonds. It is not up to him whether to issue the bonds – but he does control when the bonds get issued and could hold them for several years.
We can’t afford to wait another day before we start construction on more affordable senior housing units in Maine. All over Maine, we have builders ready to break ground! All over Maine we have tens of thousands of older Mainers living in unsafe housing – crawling up the stairs on their hands and knees to get to their only bathroom, living in houses falling down around them – not because they choose to, but because there’s no other place for them to go.
This is simple math…if the Governor won’t issue the bonds, then the legislature must act now, today, to require him to issue them. Here’s how you can help:
Today, the Speaker of the House has put forward legislation that will require the release of the bonds. A broad coalition of seniors, builders, housing organizations and legislators will be holding a press conference at the State House this morning at 10:30am to support this bill, after which legislative action to address this issue is expected to proceed.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: please call your Senator TODAY at 1-800-423-6900. Please note that this is a State House number, and you’ll have to leave a message. Be sure to include the name of the Senator you’re calling for, your name, your town and a short message.
That message is simple: “I appreciate your past support of the senior housing bond. However, the Governor is still refusing to release the bond, and Maine’s seniors and workers need it to move forward NOW. The people spoke loud and clear last November about the need for more affordable senior housing in our state, and we hope you will have our back.” Your message will be delivered to your Senator on the Senate floor.
Jess - Jessica L. Maurer, Esq., Executive Director, Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging
The Action Plan. The Age-Friendly Community Project Team for the Bethel Area community (which includes Bethel, Newry, Greenwood and Woodstock) is ready to launch into the development of our Action Plan for submission to AARP. We plan to organize focus group discussions among a wide variety of local groups, in the hopes that we will hear from citizens: what is our community lacking that would help older citizens lead meaningful lives without leaving the area? What are some areas where you might have some special interest?
Perhaps you are already in need of additional services ... perhaps you anticipate those needs in the near future ... perhaps you have family members or friends in this community who are currently in need ... or perhaps you know that you will someday reach the point where your stay in this wonderful community depends on how well your neighbors and local services can provide for your needs.
Task Forces. We are learning a great deal from the survey we administered to local citizens last fall, and we are moving forward in looking for solutions to some of the concerns that were expressed. Want to help? We are eager to engage a variety of local citizens as we form task forces to get the creativity juices flowing! One such team pertains to Communication and Information and will be chaired by Nancy Davis; if you’d like to help, please contact Nancy (see below).
Overwhelmingly respondents worry about their future transportation needs. We heard you and are forming a team to look into the most appropriate, practical combination of creative solutions for the communities of Bethel, Greenwood, Woodstock, and Newry. If you’d like to help the planning team, you may contact its Chair, Allen Cressy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 824- 0508).
Transportation Public Meeting. As a dynamic kick-off for this pursuit, the team sponsored a public meeting on March 10, with a panelist of specialists explaining where their programs might fit into the overall solution for our unique community. The March 17 Bethel Citizen will have a major article on the meeting; it will also be shown on the Public Access TV channel. And be watching for more news on this front.
Tech for Seniors. Kudos to Michelle Conroy, Director of the Bethel Library, for initiating the Tech for Seniors Program which began on March 10. This training provides electronic tablets (like iPads) for participants’ use as they learn a multitude of skills from Telstar teacher/librarian Kelly Fraser. This session is 4 participants, 4 classes. We hope there will be additional groups in the future.
We hope a wide range of people are learning about our progress weekly through the Bethel Citizen, biweekly through our electronic newsletter, or taking printed bulletins from several distribution sites. If you know someone who is not reached through any of these avenues, we would be happy to post-mail bulletins. Please contact Nancy Davis to be added to emails or post-mails. And FMI on any of the above, contact Nancy (email@example.com, 207- 381-1110).