December 19, 2017
As the year draws to a close, I’m thankful to be living in this fantastic community and in a state that focuses energy and resources on helping seniors thrive. A recent Maine Calling segment on Maine Public Radio highlighted communities and programs in the state, with a reminder that we are the oldest state in the country. Maine has the most AARP Age-Friendly Communities in the national network, and amongst those 42 Communities, the AFCI was noted as outstanding.
Al Cressy, along with 11 other Maine community volunteers, AARP Maine staff, and 400 others from around the country, attended AARP’s annual Livable Communities Conference in Dallas last month. Al presented a talk on the Bethel area Volunteer Driver Program in the session “The Age-Friendly Journey; From Assessment to Implementation.” Kudos to Al, the task force, and our AFCI program!
The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Volunteer Driver Program offers free local medical and non-medical rides to seniors 60 and over who live in Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Hanover, Newry or Woodstock. Please note that requests for all rides, medical and non-medical, should be made at least three days in advance of the rides. For a medical ride, the ride request should be made as soon as possible once the appointment has been made. As always, 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.
Our transportation program has become a model for other communities. How lucky we are! The number of rides we can provide, however, depends completely on the availability of volunteer drivers. If you’re interested in becoming a driver, please contact Al Cressy at 824-0508. Remember that drivers have complete flexibility in how many ride commitments they wish to make.
Look for the AFCI Resource Directory displayed for referencing in the six communities. If you wish to have your own copy, you may go to our website - or contact us, and we’ll email you a digital copy. The directory contains information on a wide variety of local and statewide services. Categories are: Churches, Clothing/Thrift Shops, Education, Elder Services, Financial Assistance, Food, Fuel Assistance, Health Services, Legal Services, Libraries, Pet Services, Recreation and Fitness, Social Opportunities, Support Groups, Town Offices, and Transportation.
It appears that winter will be with us for a while. If you’re looking for exercise, here are some ideas. For snowshoeing or hiking on a handicap accessible trail, the Mahoosuc Land Trust’s 11⁄2 mile trail is nice. The 24-7 gym on Bethel Parkway has lots of equipment of all levels. Senior memberships are $10 per month, $25 for 3 months or $100 per year.
And there’s the AFCI “Walk the Gym” program Tuesdays 1:30-3:00, Wednesdays 10:00-11:00 am, Thursdays, 1:30-2:30. 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.
As part of the AARP Community Challenge grant awarded to AFCI, our adaptive toolkitand accompanying brochure will be loaned out to other Maine communities. This project began recently with a presentation to the Readfield Age-Friendly Committee. The 20 people at their monthly Senior Café were very interested in the tools and Al Cressy’s and Jane Chandler’s presentation. The Toolkit will stay with Readfield for a month, as they work with the tools and share it with more people.
The latest AARP bulletin features “Guard Your Memory: New research reveals what works and what doesn’t.” Item 1 is physical activity, which has been found to be “the best tool we have against cognitive impairment and dementia... Aim to be as active as you can in daily life; that means small actions such as sitting less and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.”
Recently AARP offered tips for unique gifts for grandchildren:https://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2017/grandchild-gift-ideas-fd.html.
From the AARP Bookstore: For My Grandchild: A Grandparent’s Gift of Memory.https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/books/bookstore/home-family-caregiving/info-2016/grandmother-grandchild-memories.html
As for me, the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to capture memories. Most of us keep and share photos, but what about stories? No matter how hum-drum you feel your life has been (and I certainly did!), your memories will be important to your kids, your grandkids, and those to come. My son is interviewing me with questions he’s curious about and transferring it to writing. Today’s smart-phones make it easy to record. It’s a special experience for the two of us and will be rewarding in the sharing of the final product. It’s not too late to make it a Christmas present: the promise of future interview sessions.
Anticipating the inevitable holiday culinary temptations, I was interested in AARP’s tips on “How to Halve Your Sugar – and Eat it Too: 10 easy ways to reduce your sweets but keep your treats.” (https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/how-to-halve-your-sugar-and-eat-it- too.html)
We hear a lot about security scams these days, and they are real! AARP offers many useful tips and strategies on this topic. At www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2017/protect-social-security- number.html?) suggestions for protecting your social security numberinclude: Leave it Home ... When Asked, Don't Tell ... Guard the Final Four.
Freeze ‘em Out. If you place a security freeze on your file at the big three credit rating agencies, ID thieves who have your number can’t get loans in your name, because lenders can’t do the required credit check. To place a freeze, you need to contact each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax (equifax.com; 800-349-9960), Experian (experian.com; 888-397-3742) and TransUnion (transunion.com; 888-909-8872). Freezes can be “thawed” as needed, such as when you are switching insurance providers.
AARP reviews these current movies: Call Me by your Name, Darkest Hour, Wonder, Mudbound, Murder on the Orient Express, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Last Flag Flying, LBJ, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Novitiate, Suburbicon, Wonderstruck, Only the Brave, The Florida Project, The Meyerowitz Stories, Blade Runner 2049.(www.aarp.org/entertainment/movies-for-grownups/info- 2017/weekend-review-fd.html?)
And their “9 Top Holiday Oscar Movies”: Darkest Hour, Lady Bird, Coco, The Shape of Water, Tonya, Star Wars: the Last Jedi, Downsizing, the Post, Molly’s Game.(https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/movies-for-grownups/info-2017/best-holiday-oscar-movie- picks.html)
AAA senior driver adjustments for safety: http://newsroom.aaa.com/2017/11/90-percent-senior- drivers-dont-make-vehicle-adjustments-can-improve-safety/
Information from AARP on Alzheimers and glucose levels:https://www.aarp.org/health/brain- health/info-2017/alzheimers-glucose-levels-fd.html?
The application for the new national Veterans Identification Card is now available online, making it easier for former members of the military to take advantage of discounts and other benefits: https://www.aarp.org/home-family/voices/veterans/info-2017/new-veterans-photo-id-card-fd.html?
For a summary of the year’s AFCI activities, read the attached document, the AFCI 2017 annual report. 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)