Across the country, states and communities are developing strategies to help older residents stay safe and healthy in their homes as they age. The move is being driven by economic realities, cultural trends and personal preference.
In Maine, which has one of the oldest populations in the country, aging-in-place initiatives are at work at various levels. Here is some information about a few of them.
In coastal Lincoln County, which has the highest percentage of elderly residents, physician Allan “Chip” Teel has developed several regional strategies.
The Eldercare Network of Lincoln County, which Teel co-founded, has worked to partner up older homeowners with younger housemates, or vice versa, in a model known as “home sharing.” The organization also manages seven small, informal assisted living homes that are affordable for low-income Mainers.
Teel also founded a for-profit business, Full Circle America, that provides technological services such as telemedicine systems and in-home surveillance cameras to help keep older people safe and in touch with their loved ones.
Maine’s five regional Area Agencies on Aging, funded by federal, state and private dollars, are engaged in supporting healthy aging at home. Services include programs such as Meals on Wheels, family caregiver support classes and personal wellness.
The Maine Council on Aging convenes organizations and agencies across the state to focus on the needs of aging Mainers. It also is a partner in the Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging, which connects aging-in-place organizers from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to share problems and solutions.
Maine’s State Plan on Aging compiles demographic data and other information to help guide public policy and funding. It is rewritten every four years.