Meg Haskell

Senior writer

I am second-career journalist with an idealistic commitment to the power of the Fourth Estate. I have a professional background in health care and 60-plus years of life experience that inform my work. I’ll be writing about a variety of issues for the Bangor Daily News, both in this blog and as a reporter, with a focus on matters of interest to readers in the “sweet spot” of their maturity: those productive adult years from 50 to 70 when (maybe) we have the time to pursue our personal interests, the energy to contribute to our communities and the wisdom to steer clear of needless drama.
Kay Beal smiles and sings along while listing to a customized selection of music on her iPod on Tuesday in the common area at Narraguagus Bay Health Care in Milbrige. Beal is involved in the Music and Memory program aimed at tapping into the memories of people with dementia.

How music is improving life for dementia sufferers in Maine

By Meg Haskell on July 28, 2016, at 6:17 a.m.
There are 40 facilities in Maine in the process of bringing the program on board thanks to a national effort to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes and some grant funding.

How my mother-in-law conquered the Kennebec and won my heart

on July 27, 2016, at 1:32 p.m.
People gather to watch a free movie on July 22 in Pickering Square in Bangor.

How Bangor plans to become more ‘age-friendly’

By Meg Haskell on July 25, 2016, at 4:35 p.m.
“My goal is for Bangor to raise its status and become one of the best small cities in the country.”
Organic farmer, writer, philosopher and former Equity theatre stage manager Mort Mather laughs while washing lettuce in his back yard in Wells. The greens, grown on his land, are bound for his restaurant, Joshua’s, in town.

How homesteader, activist, writer Mort Mather found happiness in Maine

By Meg Haskell on July 22, 2016, at 6:16 a.m.
“We didn’t know we were part of a movement,” Mather said of the early days. “We were just living our lives.”

Raspberries: capturing the sweetness of summer for the winter ahead

on July 21, 2016, at 2:20 p.m.
Dr. Ralph Siewers, a retired physician from Sedgwick, settles in with a jigsaw puzzle at The Vicarage by the Sea in South Harpswell.

How this home in Maine is giving normalcy to people with dementia

By Meg Haskell on July 20, 2016, at 11:16 a.m.
The Vicarage aims to keep residents meaningfully engaged in their world as long as possible and to meet their changing needs on a day-by-day basis with flexible care plans, regular group and individual outings and a high staff-to-resident ratio that promotes security, spontaneity and personal interaction.
Rita Bridge (right) concentrates while participating in a public tai chi demonstration and class on the Bangor Waterfront last summer. The event was sponsored by the Bangor-based Eastern Area Agency on Aging, which uses an evidence-based tai chi program to help prevent falls by improving seniors’ strength, balance and coordination.

How to keep failing eyesight from causing falls in older Mainers

By Meg Haskell on July 15, 2016, at 6:04 a.m.
It is estimated that one in three Americans 65 and older fall each year, many suffering serious injury, hospitalization or even death.

What I learned on my summer vacation

on July 14, 2016, at 11:38 a.m.
Students perform a laboratory procedure at the recent course, "Comparative and Experimental Approaches to Aging Biology Research," at the MDI Biological Laboratory in Salisbury Cove. Shown, left to right, are Aubrey Sirman of North Dakota State University, Asha Kiran Akula of the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Jena, Germany and Ee Phie Tan of the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Live long, live healthy, live to 150? Scientists on MDI say it can be done.

By Meg Haskell on July 12, 2016, at 3:32 p.m.
Since the average human lifespan in developed nations has increased steadily since the year 1900 at a rate of about 6.5 hours per day with no sign of abating, Steven Austad, Ph.D., said, “there is no obvious limit to human life expectancy.”
Rene Collins, 74, has been running for more than 30 years. She has run in 16 Boston Marathons and is training with her team for the third annual Down East Sunrise Trail Relay in July, a 102-mile, overnight relay race. Collins is one of the oldest members of her local running group called Maine Running Fossils. Collins was training at the track at the Brewer Community School on Tuesday morning.

‘There’s a choice to make here:’ These ‘fossils’ still lace up their sneakers for races

By Meg Haskell on July 01, 2016, at 6:52 a.m.
The Maine Running Fossils, a group of about 30 runners ranging in age from their mid-40s to well into their 70s, will field a team of 16 to take part in the third annual Down East Sunrise Trail Relay.

Goodbye to a dear companion, hello to new possibilities

on June 29, 2016, at 6:45 p.m.
Wendy Taggart (left) never thought she'd be raising a child again in her 50s, but situations changed when Taggart's son could no longer care for his daughter. Taggart and her husband stepped in, and Kaylee has been living with them in Levant since she was 15 months old.

When young families fail, grandparents step forward

By Meg Haskell on June 29, 2016, at 11:49 a.m.
When Wendy Taggart and her husband, Chip, built a dream home for their retirement years, that dream did not include raising a child there. But just a few months after they moved in, nearly 8 years ago, their 15-month-old granddaughter, Kaylee, moved in, too — and she stayed.
Cheryl Melvin (center) contemplates her next word during a women's Scrabble tournament at Markel's Bakehouse in Castine Tuesday. The competition brought 16 high-level players from across the country to Castine for a three-day tournament.

World-class wordsmiths at the top of their game in Castine tournament

By Meg Haskell on June 24, 2016, at 8:42 a.m.
Top competitors from across the country traveled to Castine from New Mexico, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado and other parts of the country to play in in this small tournament.
Bangor resident and businessman Orlando Frati meets country music star Dolly Parton backstage before her performance at Darling's Waterfront Pavilion on Saturday, June 18. Frati last saw Parton, and snapped the photo he is carrying here, 47 years ago when she was the relatively unknown opening act for country star Porter Wagoner at a performance in Bangor.

‘To Orlando, love, Dolly Parton’: This Bangor man got the autograph of a lifetime

By Meg Haskell on June 23, 2016, at 11:47 a.m.
“She was beautiful,” Orlando Frati, 84, said. “She had on a beautiful dress, and she was all glittered up.”

Summer is short. Here’s one way to make every day count.

on June 23, 2016, at 10:34 a.m.
A ferry in Penobscot Bay carrying vehicles and passengers from Islesboro to Lincolnville.

Why ‘aging in place’ poses a special challenge on Maine islands

By Meg Haskell on June 21, 2016, at 4:22 p.m.
“Everyone wants to stay on the island and in the community as they age; it’s their home,” island resident and Boardman Cottage board member Sharon Daley said.
Sleep technician Jordan Qualey (left) helps Corky Potter with a belt that will monitor his chest movements while he is sleeping at the St. Joseph Healthcare Center for Sleep Medicine in Bangor.

How insomnia makes us sick, and how to put the problem to rest

By Meg Haskell on June 17, 2016, at 9:20 a.m.
“There are three essentials in life: water, food and sleep,” Dr. Ganesha Santhyadka said. “Sleep really is an essential thing.”

What not to buy your baby boomer dad, or his dad, for Father’s Day

By Meg Haskell on June 16, 2016, at 2:29 p.m.
Rather than searching for a material expression of that sentiment, Cliff Singer suggests adult children find meaningful ways to spend time with their dads on Father’s Day.

Backyard planting looks to the future, honors the past

on June 15, 2016, at 1:29 p.m.
Bangor native Orlando Frati, 84, shows off some of the photographs he has taken over the years on Wednesday at his pawn shop on State Street in Bangor.

Decades after Dolly Parton’s Bangor debut, photographer, 84, dreams of meeting her again

By Meg Haskell on June 10, 2016, at 8:23 a.m.
Somehow, Orlando Frati hopes to once again make his way to the foot of the stage and, this time, meet the star he last saw when she was just starting out on her long journey to fame.