Creating livable communities — great places for people of all ages to live, work, and play — was the theme of the recent Maine Age-Friendly conference sponsored by AARP Maine.

Twenty-two Maine communities have officially joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The communities — from Kennebunk to Eastport — include 17 percent of Maine residents. Each city and town that joins the network has a core group of age-friendly activists whose goal is to enable residents of all ages and abilities to remain healthy, active, and engaged in their communities for as long as possible. Age-friendly communities seek to increase social participation, access to community supports and health services, improve the accessibility of outdoor spaces and buildings, increase civic engagement and social participation, and more.

At the conference, 80 age-friendly activists gathered to share ideas and to learn from national experts on livability. More than 150 ideas for making a community more age-friendly were shared by community representatives. For example, Bowdoinham installed heated stair treads on outdoor stairs leading to the library that make it safer to use the stairs during winter. Augusta has added strobe lights to make it safer for pedestrians to cross certain busier roads. Ellsworth has created a community center that is shared by the YMCA daycare program and the senior center.

It was encouraging to see all of the innovative ways that Maine towns and cities are addressing aging. Maine is the oldest state but it is also the state with the greatest number of age-friendly communities finding innovative ways to make themselves into great places for people to live, whatever their age.

To learn more or to order a free copy of The Maine Guide: Building Livable, Age-Friendly Communities, contact [email protected]

Patricia Oh

AARP Maine Age-Friendly Team consultant


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