Age-Friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec (AFCLK) is a regional grassroots volunteer coalition in Maine's mid coast region serving the municipalities of Arrowsic, Bath, Georgetown, Phippsburg, West Bath and Woolwich with a fast growing population over the age of 65 years.
Our five-year Action Plan offers a path forward to achieve the group's mission: to help our communities become the best possible home for people of all ages, by ensuring that public spaces, homes, programs, civic events, and social gatherings are set up to meet people’s changing needs and wants across the lifespan.
This plan was built on community listening sessions and stakeholder interviews, by learning from other Age-Friendly communities and AARP’s framework of eight “domains” of work needed for success, and a survey of area residents’ wants and needs, which garnered an incredible 1000 responses and many profound realizations. These include:
48% said they expected they will have to move to another home as they grow older
16% replied “No” to “Is your home warm enough in the winter?”
38% said it’s not easy to find a ride when it’s needed
31% (pre-pandemic) said they see family, friends, or neighbors only once every few weeks, occasionally, or rarely
Analyzing all this information, Age-Friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec created goals and strategies in four focus areas: Homes, Mobility, Social Connections, and Communications.
Homes Encourage options to allow older adults to age where they choose safely, warmly, and comfortably.
*Promote Bath Housing’s “Comfortably Home” Aging in Place program and similar resources
*Research, communicate about, and explore expansion of heating resources
*Promote safety programs such as “Sand Bucket” and smoke detector installations
*Investigate a “knox box” program for emergency responder home access
*Research potential volunteer snow shovel and “handy helper” volunteer brigades
*Research and advocate for more small, single-level housing development
Mobility Increase transportation resources for people to participate in community and social opportunities, attend to personal needs, work, and volunteer.
*Include information on walkability, parking, restrooms, and building access in community event invitations and maps
*Advocate for increased “courtesy parking spaces”, promote disability license plates/cards, and work with City of Bath to assess/improve walkability with a walker within ¼ mile of City Hall
*Work to create “Age-Friendly Business” certification including access issues
*Gather and disperse information on delivery of food and prescription drugs
*Increase safe walking with classes, walking at the YMCA, walking with a Doc, and identifying and marking ¼ and ½ mile walks with benches in three communities
*Develop People Plus’s Volunteer Transportation Network in our area
Social Connections Increase the health and well-being of residents by increasing social engagement.
*Increase participation in SEARCH, Meals on Wheels, and Good Morning call-in programs
*Produce Volunteer Opportunities list for age-friendly activities
*Hold social events such as community dinners
*Create opportunities for elders to share reading, storytelling, and skills with younger people
*Develop “Together Tuesdays” model with volunteers regularly driving a small group of seniors to a downtown, library, coffee shop, or group volunteer or social activity
*Explore models for outdoor socializing such as Friendship Benches and mixed-age playgrounds
Communications Provide reliable information that ensures access across the community.
*Develop an Age-Friendly website, expand Facebook engagement, and develop consistent communications with Bath Area Senior Citizens, town offices, and other partners
*Develop an Emergency Responder Resource Card
*Develop a Resource Inventory list
*Research a plan for using assistive technology and computer training
We recognize that while progress has already begun, completing these actions will need the combined efforts of many more citizens, town officials, store owners, service groups, and others. We welcome everyone to look at what strategies they would like to pursue and add their unique contributions. We can be reached at email@example.com
Together, we believe we can make the communities of Arrowsic, Bath, Georgetown, Phippsburg, West Bath, and Woolwich more livable for a lifetime, and a place where everyone is respected, everyone is included, and everyone belongs.