In June 2016, several local non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations and residents of Waldo County came together to begin a discussion about issues involved with growing older and the “aging in place” movement.
After members of this group met with Samantha Paradis, who was the Belfast Public Health Nurse at that time, a committee formed. The committee named their initiative, Aging Well in Waldo County. Journey to Health, a community outreach program of Waldo County General Hospital agreed to partner with the Aging Well in Waldo County initiative.
Aging Well in Waldo County developed the following mission statement: to mobilize our communities to identify and address the needs of our aging friends and neighbors, striving for inclusive, supportive and safe communities for all.
AARP has established a nationwide network of “Age-Friendly Communities.” These are communities favorable to “aging in place.” Aging Well in Waldo County decided to approach AARP for the “age-friendly” distinction. The Belfast City Council voted to support the efforts of Aging Well in Waldo County. The Waldo County Commissioners also agreed to provide the group with a letter of support.
In the fall of 2016, AARP accepted Belfast, Maine into their network of “age friendly communities.” However, Aging Well in Waldo County would like all of Waldo County to be “age-friendly.” Waldo County is a broad, rural area where it would be very beneficial to share some of the resources between the various small towns. To begin to create and maintain an “Age-Friendly Community” for all of Waldo County, Aging Well in Waldo County needed to identify the real wants and needs of the people across the county.
Aging Well in Waldo County sought funding from AARP to support assessment efforts. AARP funded a grant for Aging Well in Waldo County to conduct a survey to assess the needs of those 50 and over in all of the Waldo County, Maine communities. Aging Well in Waldo County formed an assessment sub-committee, directed by Wendy Kasten, and began drafting a survey. This survey has since been adopted by other communities.
On October 26, 2016, at the Waldo Community Building in Waldo, Aging Well in Waldo County hosted a free community event to make the public aware of the upcoming survey and to engage in conversation about issues related to aging in place in our community. An encouraging number of people turned out.
By early 2017 the survey was approved and ready to be conducted. Aging Well in Waldo County trained sixteen volunteers to administer the survey.
This survey drew a very large response. One thousand forty seven people from all over Waldo County took the survey. People from every town in Waldo County participated. With the help of Waldo County General Hospital the survey results were tallied and then the results were assessed.
Here are links to the survey report and a PDF explaining the AWWC survey process.
After the assessment process was complete, focus groups formed in three regions of Waldo County to explore the issues that the survey results revealed in greater depth. From this process, Aging Well in Waldo County identified three areas for immediate action.
Building Community to Counter Social Isolation
- More Info Here
- One of the focus groups has formed a group to combat social isolation that is now meeting regularly—Liberty Committee for Aging Well in Waldo County.
Now we are forming a plan of action. We encourage you to join us! Contact us here, there are many ways to get involved.
For more information about Aging Well in Waldo County, call committee chair Jan Dodge: 207-338-1626.
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Click on this link for more information about AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.