The Age-Friendly Community Project Team in Bethel is exploring nine Livability Factors that affect the quality of life for seniors – eight as defined by AARP and WHO (World Health Organization) and one we’ve added. Our research into Bethel’s status is still in progress, and our preliminary reports are available in the Bethel Library (red folders on a dedicated bookshelf) and Bethel Family Health Center.
LIVABILITY FACTOR # 1:
OUTDOOR SPACES AND BUILDINGS: Are there safe and accessible recreational facilities in the community?
Our preliminary findings: some streets in Bethel village have paved sidewalks, but it would be nice to have them on other roads. There is a public restroom at the Bethel Chamber of Commerce office and two porta-potties at Davis Park.
Pathways. The 1½-mile paved Bethel Recreational Path is used for walking, jogging, running, skateboarding, cycling, roller-blading, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. It is fully handicapped accessible, with parking available both at Davis Park and at the Route 2/26 end. Benches are on both the pathway and the Bethel Common, a particularly lovely area of the village. Many public buildings are handicapped accessible.
Parking. Most public buildings have available parking nearby, but it has been suggested that there should be more. There are several fitness centers in town, with varying levels of difficulty and clientele. There are a host of outdoor options, also of varying difficulty.
Additional thoughts? Current assets? deficits? suggestions? Feel free to contact Judy Whitman (firstname.lastname@example.org – 824-0437).
AARP study. AARP has conducted a comprehensive study of communities nationwide. If you visit their website (https://livabilityindex.aarp.org/) and plug in the zipcode 04217, you will get Bethel’s score. Click on the various items to get an explanation of what each one means. There are also many AARP resources available from this website.
Brand-new Bethel-based service. We’ve just learned about free rides to chemo appointments: beginning in mid-November, Northern Vista at Home Senior Care will offer a free shuttle service to those going to recurring chemo or radiation appointments at St. Mary’s or CMMC hospitals in Lewiston. To schedule a ride, call Gerry McCann, Director, at 207-836-2173.
Suggestions? Know of something interesting happening in another community, something helpful for an aging population? Think it would be worthwhile for Bethel to consider? Feel free to pass along any creative ideas to Nancy Davis.If you do not wish to receive the AFCP newsletter, please let me know, and for more information, you may contact Nancy Davis (email@example.com, 381-1110).
(Nancy Davis, editor)
Age-Friendly Community Bethel
November 9, 2015
Hello again. Many thanks to the more than 200 people who responded to our survey! The deadline has passed, but we’re always eager for your input, so if you did not get a chance to submit one, you may contact Jackie Cressy ((firstname.lastname@example.org or 824-0508). The surveys have been sent for analysis, and we hope to have the data before too long - stay tuned!
Livability Factors. The AFCP Planning Team has generated a series of reports about nine “Livability Factors.” AARP and WHO (World Health Organization) have identified eight factors (we added a ninth) that affect how well older adults can plan to stay in their communities as they age. As a first step, we did some preliminary research into what is currently available in the Bethel community. We published these nine reports and made them available at our public meetings in the middle of October.
Perhaps you did not get one at that point and would like to see our findings. If so, the collated reports are available at both the Bethel Library and the Bethel Family Health Center. It should be noted that these are reports in progress: we are counting on more suggestions and updates from members of the community, as happened at the community meetings. As you read a report, note that there is a contact person to whom you may suggest additions. We’ll publish an updated version as more information is added and make it available to members of the community.The nine Livability Factors, which will be discussed in future newsletters, are: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Civic Participation and Employment, Communication and Information, Community Support and Health Services, and Accessibility and Affordable Healthy Food.
Getting Connected. Some recent AFCP-related discussions have suggested a familiar challenge for today’s senior population: keeping up with technological advances – or at least being able to use selected “new-fangled” devices to serve our personal needs. In order to explore what those needs might be and how they might be served in ways that are user-friendly, there is a collaboration building among the SAD 44 Adult Education department, the Western Mountains Senior College and the Bethel Library.
Bethel Library Program Upcoming. For some time, Michelle Conroy, the Bethel Library Association Director, has been working in partnership with Central Maine Medical Center, the Auburn Public Library, the Lewiston Public Library and the Norway Memorial Library. This has enabled her to acquire grant money to invest in both devices and instruction, specifically to help seniors in the Bethel community. This will be an exciting venture in our community, and you may have some great ideas for what you’d like to learn. Email? Skype? using the internet? or something else? If so, you may contact Michelle Conroy (email@example.com or 824-2520) or Nancy Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org or 381-1110).
If you do not wish to receive the AFCP newsletter, please let me know, and for more information, you may contact Nancy Davis. And … if anyone would like to give me some quick instruction on “prettying up” this newsletter on my Mac, please contact me!
Nancy Davis, Editor
Bethel, ME 04217