February 28, 2018
The AFCI provides several programs of service to people over 60 years old in our 6-town community – all free of charge. You may have a loved one or a friend who would benefit from one or more of these services; please refer them to the appropriate program. You may also want to assure that the service is there for you yourself at some point in the future. We always need volunteers! You may contact AFCI by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or from our website: www.agefriendlybethel.org. Or contact the person noted below.
For transportation: 824-4444. Rides to local commitments and events - often for a medical appointment, but also for something as simple as a class, shopping or socializing. Rides are dependent on the availability of drivers. Want to be a volunteer driver? FMI: Al Cressy (email@example.com. 824-0508).
The Morning Greeting program provides a daily phone-call service to someone in need. To refer someone to this service OR to volunteer to be a caller: Brooks Morton (firstname.lastname@example.org, 207-381-5991) or Kay Rector (email@example.com, 207-824-3333).
Recreational activities: AFCI Walk the Gym Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00, Wednesdays, 10:00-11:00, Thursdays, 1:30-2:30. FMI: Jackie Cressy (824-0508) or Bob Oickle (576-5104).
For Social and learning opportunities, check the Gem Theater, the Western Mountains Senior College, and the Bethel Citizen’s Community Calendar.
The second of the Gem Theater’s science film series will be on March 2. A pre-film lecture by Dr. Henning Haack from the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum - Meteorites and the Origin of the Solar System – will be followed by the screening of The Martian. FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org or Wade Kavanaugh at email@example.com.
From the Community Calendar - Wednesday February 28th: “Natural Solutions for Wellness,” “My Loved One has Dementia,” Greek Night cooking; Wednesday, March 7: Growing and Arranging Flowers; Thursday the 8th: Soups, Stews and Chowders demonstration.
The AFCI is proud of the programs we’ve been able to put in place to help our community’s aging population. It takes many volunteers to make these projects happen, and we are grateful to all those who perform a number of AFCI functions. Jane and Jim Chandler have been an integral part of the Woodstock community for 42 years. They have both been supporters of the AFCI since its inception, and Jane is the Woodstock representative to the AFCI Council and serves as the Council’s secretary. Contributing her skills from employment at the Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, Jane also serves on the Communications and Outreach task forces and manages the adaptive toolkit the AFCI purchased through an AARP Community Challenge grant.
“Who are the community members volunteering for the AFCI?” you may wonder. Rosabelle Tifft, who was part of the original Bethel Area Age-Friendly Community Project almost 3 years ago, has contributed a valuable service to our community through her 15-year leadership of the To Your Health program, a public offering of the Western Mountains Senior College. In spring 2015 Rosabelle‘s planning team, with the help of Jackie Cressy, formulated a presentation featuring Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal. Shortly thereafter Rosabelle and Jackie presented a second public discussion based on their participation in a meeting that introduced the AARP’s Age-Friendly Community work.
The AFCI has developed our Advisory Council to include a diverse group of people with valuable skill sets and unique perspectives. One such member is Valerie Cole, who is an Elder Services Specialist with SeniorsPlus, Oxford County’s Area Agency on Aging. How lucky we are for her help in understanding the myriad of services available in our community and the opportunity to promote those services! In SeniorsPlus and on the AFCI Council, Valerie fights for the right of individuals to age in place within their own communities.
One of the newest AFCI Council members is Charlie Reiss, owner since 1996 of Bethel Kitchen Designs on Main St., Bethel. Not yet retired and jealous of his available time, Charlie had to be convinced that his 25-year career as a local contractor would lend a unique set of skills to our AFCI work. His experience will prove valuable as he leads a task force on Home Repair. Already, he and local Occupational Therapist Brie Wiesman have spearheaded an important component of our AARP-grant- funded Home Safety project. Soon Charlie will begin some home safety improvements as identified in Brie’s 12 home assessments that were grant-funded.
Do you get frustrated with your smart phone or tablet? Would you like to use more of the features? Telstar students volunteer every Tuesday for FREE Drop-In Tech Help - 2:30-4:30pm in the Adult Ed Office. FMI: 824-2136 ext. 1340.
Two articles caught our eye recently in the Western Maine Foothills publication (https://www.turnerpublishing.net/pdf/WMF.pdf). Community Concepts has received significant funding to expand the capacity of its Central Heating Improvement Program, which provides state- funded grants to repair or replace central heating systems for low-income households. FMI:www.community-concepts.org.
Also, SeniorsPlus is now accepting referrals for Meals on Wheels. See the newspaper for a helpful description of the values this program offers to eligible seniors; FMI: 800-427-1241.
In recent weeks the AFCI Council has enjoyed visits and substantive conversations with both state and federal legislators or aides. A small group met over coffee recently with Maine Representative Fran Head, who is a long-time supporter of the AFCI. Carlene Tremblay, State Office Representative for U.S. Senator Susan Collins, and Ben Tucker, Regional Representative for U.S. Senator Angus King, traveled to be with us; our discussion was wide-ranging and informative, elaborating on the Senators’ interests and initiatives and noting valuable resources for AFCI efforts.
Maine’s Senator Susan Collins chairs the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Attached to this email is the recent newsletter from the committee.
We were reminded recently that the Bethel Family Health Center has a lending closet for mobility aids that are needed on a short-term basis – such as wheelchairs and walkers.
Pen Pals for Seniors is an interesting program that seeks to create “communities free of senior isolation and loneliness.” FMI: https://www.penpalsforseniors.org/aboutus.
From AARP: beware of impostors who, in the guise of being from a government agency, call to inform people they have won a huge sweepstakes from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, (http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2017/impostor-scams-sweepstakes-fd.html?)
From a recent comic strip: Dennis the Menace comments to his mother’s guest (“of a certain age”): “Mom says you’re ‘elderly.’ That’s just a NICE way of sayin’ ‘old.’” Cute and funny – but what do you think? What is the best way to refer to my age group: ‘seniors’ ... ‘elderly’ ... ‘old’ ... ‘mature adults’? Let us know your opinion.
The AFCI always needs 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)