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1     Strategic Framework                                                                         

2     History and Community Profile                                                        

3     Process for Developing the Plan                                                      

4     Community Assessment, Focus Areas, Goals, Strategies 

              4.1       Homes​                                                                                        

              4.2       Mobility                                                                                     

              4.3       Social Connections                                                               

              4.4       Communications

5     Community Strengths                                                                        

6     Future Processes for Implementation    

4.3  Social Connections


The lack of social connections and loneliness pose a great risk for physical illness, decline, depression and death. Feeling “isolated” is a common theme in survey comments.

  • 25% of survey respondents said they live alone.

  • 31% of respondents – almost 1 in 3 – said they see family, friends, or neighbors in their community only “occasionally”, “rarely” or “once every few weeks.”

  • When asked, “Do you have family, friends, or neighbors nearby, whom you could ask for help?” 20% said no.

  • 29% said that a disability or chronic illness kept them and/or their spouse or partner from being as active in the community as they wanted to be.

  • 85-89% said the following aspects of community were important or very important to them: Social and volunteer opportunities, accessible and inclusive community activities and events and opportunities to interact with people of all ages. Yet only 9-13% said they participated in these activities; many were not sure they existed. 27% reported using the library – the most of any service listed. 

Despite a great sense of community that many respondents describe, others experience loneliness or social isolation, “Summer has music events in the park which is wonderful, but I feel isolated in the winter and due to disability cannot be out in cold much.”


Goal: Increase the health and well-being of residents living in the lower Kennebec towns by increasing social engagement. Increase enrollment in SEARCH and Meals on Wheels, valuable existing person-to-person services geared toward isolated elders.

  • Activities: Work with SEARCH and Spectrum Generations to promote participation and recruit more volunteers.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: Increase SEARCH matches by an additional five by 12/22; increase Meals on Wheels by 5% (compared to pre-pandemic) by 12/22.

  • Timeline: 2021-2023


Partner with Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Office and Bath Police Department to boost participation in Good Morning call-in safety programs as well as outreach efforts such as “Coffee with a Cop.”

  • Activities: Work with Sagadahoc County Sheriff's Office and Bath P.D. to promote participation in call-in programs.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: Increase number of seniors in call-in programs by 10% by 12/22.

  • Timeline: 2021-2023


Produce Volunteer Opportunities list and promote volunteering for age-friendly activities.

Increasing the number of engaged volunteers will make possible many of the strategies in this plan and increase personal interactions for some seniors. Opportunities for seniors themselves to volunteer, particularly with others, will be sought and promoted, as volunteering is an excellent way to boost connection to community and well-being.


  • Activities: Define volunteer needs in Age-Friendly plan. Work with existing agencies to capture existing and ideal volunteer needs and explore potential of group volunteer activities including seniors. Work with United Way’s VolunteerME existing matching site. Produce a list that can be widely publicized and used as a tool in group presentations or personal asks.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: A Volunteer Opportunities list will be produced by December 2021. The # of volunteers engaged in age-friendly activities will increase by 25 by December 2023.

  • Timeline: 2021-2023


Hold social events such as community dinners, potlucks, and “on tap” gatherings.

  • Activities: Identify lead person for at least three towns as well as for AFCLK, organize or partner to hold dinners, conduct outreach to elders, provide transportation as needed.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: Three towns and lead persons identified by 11/21. Dinners held by 12/22.

  • Timeline: 2021-2022

Sharing Reading & Storytelling

  • Activities: Explore a feasible coordinated system for reading online for child cares, schools, and libraries, and recruit senior volunteers. Work with Midcoast Literacy to increase “My Life Story” matches of elders with young adults. Engage students and older adults to share stories or send cards. Explore oral storytelling possibilities.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: Report delivered to Steering Committee on online reading and next steps by 12/21. Meeting with Midcoast Literacy and goal for matches established by 7/21. Small group established to pursue Reading & Storytelling activities by 10/21.

  • Timeline: 2021-2025


Create a Skill Sharing plan for elders to share with children/youth. 

Seniors have much to offer, and sharing skills such as using tools, knitting/crocheting, woodworking, clothes repair, gardening, etc. can boost not only social interaction with another generation but also respect for their abilities. Relationships and experienced gained in the Reading/Storytelling strategy can help inform this strategy.

  • Activities: Meet with youth groups, schools, library to gauge interest and possible partners for sustainability. Identify desired skills. Develop outreach, perhaps through informal networks, to find elders willing to share these skills. Learn lessons from or possibly work alongside the Reading/Storytelling strategy.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: Report given to Steering Committee by 7/22 on possible interested parties, system for Skill Sharing. Demonstration project with at least one school, library, youth group begun by 12/22.

  • Timeline: 2022-2025

Develop “Together Tuesdays” or similar model with volunteers regularly driving a small group of seniors to a downtown, library, coffee shop, or group activity.


  • Activities: Discuss idea with groups serving elders, faith communities, for feedback and suggestions on how participants and volunteers could be recruited (post-COVID-19 pandemic). Identify at least one anchor location, such as a library, for a starting suggested destination. Consider ties to Age-Friendly businesses, possible deals for participating groups. Research any screening, liability issues.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: Report given to Steering Committee by 7/22. If practicable, at least two small groups established and running by 12/22. Potential pre and post-survey of participants on feelings of social connection or loneliness. Steering Committee review of pilot, potential for growth and how to make sustainable in 2023.

  • Timeline: 2022-2025


Explore creating infrastructure for outdoor social activities.

In addition to the accessible walking paths and benches envisioned in the Mobility section and the social benefit they make possible, there are several successful models of community improvements that foster outdoor socialization that we plan to explore. These include:

  1. “Friendship” Benches

  2. Mixed-Age Playgrounds

  3. Bicycle Volunteer Corps giving rides 

  • Activities: Research models elsewhere, including benefits and cost. Create synopses, including video/visual when possible, and share ideas with local towns, aligned groups, and seniors to gauge interest and feasibility. Identify potential partners and funding.

  • Metrics/Outcomes: Report given to Age-Friendly Communities Steering Committee on potential of the above ideas and any similar ones found especially promising and next steps in 2022.  Small group formed for one or more ideas, if practicable, in 2022.

  • Timeline: 2021-2025


Action Plan

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