Sometimes in my travels I hear, “Oh, I’ve heard of your agency. Just what do you do exactly?”
My answer is always, “Oh, we do so much for seniors, adults living with disabilities and their caregivers.”
Here’s the short list of what Eastern Area Agency on Aging can do for you or your aging loved one:
• Meals for ME is the nutrition program of EAAA that serves delicious and nutritionally balanced meals to seniors 60 and older. The program has two components — Home Delivery, which uses volunteers to deliver the meals to frail and homebound seniors; and the community dining rooms, where seniors can get together, share town news, meet with friends and enjoy a good meal. Many of these community dining rooms are operated by dedicated volunteers of which EAAA is always in need.
• Assisted Living programs are also offered by EAAA in three locations — Freeses in Bangor, Stearns in Millinocket and Merry Gardens Estates in Camden. Residents live in individual apartments, but receive help with various activities of daily living, such as personal care, meals and house cleaning.
• The Community Services department has consultants who assist seniors with a number of services, including filling out forms to receive additional benefits, and educating them on all the available services and programs in their areas. EAAA’s consultants work to improve the quality of life for seniors and their caregivers.
Some programs that fall under the Community Services umbrella include:
• Resource and Referral, which is usually the first stop in the EAAA chain. The R&R staff assists people with their needs or directs them to the appropriate program or agency for further help. Sometimes the person is sent to a community services consultant.
• EAA-Z Fix is the minor home repair program that is volunteer-driven and helps seniors stay safely in their homes as long as possible. Examples of the program’s work include fixing rotten steps and leaky pipes, replacing broken windows and doing yardwork.
• The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, SHIP, helps seniors and people living with disabilities understand their Medicare benefits and other health insurances. If you have questions about health insurance, this is the program for you.
• The Senior Medicare Patrol, SMP, will help you sort through your Medicare statements, and help you if you suspect errors or possibly fraud.
• Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit, can help seniors pay for their medications. EAAA staff can provide assistance and education to people on Medicare who need help deciding on a drug plan. EAAA will hold Medicare D clinics in many locations.
• The Family Caregiver Support program helps caregivers of aging adults with referrals, resources, support and education. Caregiving can be a difficult endeavor and we encourage people to call us before they become completely stressed-out.
• The Disability and Aging Services Helpline, DASH, Network assists adults living with disabilities find resources and services in their communities.
This is but a sampling, as there are many other programs and services that are provided by EAAA daily. Many of our services are free of charge, with only a donation requested. Call us at 800-432-7812 or log on EAAA.org.
Be sure to listen to “Senior Talk” with Carol Higgins Taylor on WVOM-FM 103.9, The Voice of Maine, at 6:30 a.m. Saturdays and at its new time, 8 p.m. Sundays. This half-hour show is designed with seniors in mind. Tune in and give a listen. “Senior Talk” will no longer air on WABI-AM 910.
Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. E-mail Higgins Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, e-mail email@example.com or log on EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.