I am pleased with the attention being paid to the issue of aging in Maine by recent articles (most notably, Gerard Queally and Deb Halm’s May 3 Maine Compass, “Helping Seniors Stay at Home Makes Sense Socially, Economically” and Chris Huck’s Maine Compass on June 4, “Transportation needs of seniors

will increase with growing numbers”).

In Central Maine, the time-honored tradition of grown children caring for their aging parents has been disrupted by an economic reality that has seen thousands of 20-50 year olds leave the area.

What we are left with is a population in the Kennebec Valley skewed toward the elderly, with state resources stretched thin as it is and children’s programs always first in line.

The Kennebec Valley Organization has been meeting with leaders from the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, SEARCH, KVCAP, Meals on Wheels, and concerned citizens to address this new reality.

Our goal is to allow as many Mainers as possible the chance to remain in their homes — even after they no longer drive — in a safe, comfortable, environment.

Isolation among the elderly is rampant and rarely discussed, and can lead to depression, substance abuse and decreased quality of life. Isolated Maine seniors don’t complain, but this doesn’t mean they should be ignored.

Within the next week, we will host two discussions about elder isolation. The first will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Notre Dame, 112 Silver St., Waterville. We will meet from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, 69 Winthrop St., Augusta. These discussions are open to the public. For more information, contact Alex Wheelwright at 200-8735.

Helen Hanson, president

Kennebec Valley Organization


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