The responses to a Maine Focus survey you took about what concerns you most as you age were unfailingly consistent. You’re worried about the ability to stay in your home. You’re afraid of losing mobility, falling and being able to shovel snow and carry in wood. You think about not being able to drive and not having family around to support you. You mentioned finances, helplessness, stairs and loneliness as some of your biggest fears.
What became clear after reading through the 147 survey responses — where 130 people answered the question about their concerns about growing older — was that you are not alone in your fears. Your concerns about aging carry common threads. Is there comfort in knowing that many people are moving about their lives, holding similar thoughts about growing old?
Perhaps the kicker is here: By knowing the fears, we can address them.
That’s part of the idea behind the monthly, year-long series, Age of Opportunity, which is examining solutions to the challenges associated with aging. You may have seen the first installment, about At Home Downeast on the Blue Hill peninsula. It’s the first group of its kind in Maine, as part of the national Village to Village Network, to provide volunteer assistance to help elders remain at home as long as possible.
As part of the piece, readers could fill out a survey, and the results are below.
The towns in green are the places people said they would like to see programs similar to At Home Downeast, where elder members pay to receive services provided by volunteers, such as transportation, health care check-ins, and home assessments. Multiple readers sometimes responded from one town.
They also wrote down the concerns they have about growing older. Some are included here.