Augusta Age-Friendly

Covers: Augusta, Maine

Start Date: May, 2016

Mission, Vision & Goals

Mission: Augusta Age-Friendly is a committee of community members devoted to making Augusta, Maine a livable community for ALL AGES; supporting healthy aging in various ways, partnering with community organizations to enhance existing services, and encouraging volunteerism and active citizen participation in the social, economic, and civic life of Augusta.

Vision: Dedicated to making Augusta a CAPITOL OPPORTUNITY for living, working, and playing; for all ages!

Goals:

  • Improve walkability,
  • Review city signage,
  • Improve safe street crossing, provide socialization opportunities that improves cross-generational interactions.
  • Improve transportation options, Improve housing for seniors.
  • Educate the public about Augusta Age-Friendly projects.
  • Educate public on existing social opportunities, Increase awareness of Augusta Age-Friendly committee through sticker campaign.
  • Develop a mechanism for check-ins of home-bound and isolated seniors.
  • Expand access to information about services and events for all people.
  • Provide free winter sand to seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Economic Growth & Development.

Broad Overview

Augusta is a full-service city. It currently has senior programming through the Department of Public Services. Spectrum Generations provides many services in the community, including Meals on Wheels. Kennebec Valley CAP provides transportation services. The city has several senior housing complexes and a compact walkable downtown. We are planning a complete a housing assessment to see if we can get a clearer picture of needs/preferences of residents.

We are working across the eight domains of livability to build on existing services, policy and infrastructure to increase the age friendliness of Augusta.

Based on what we learn during an inventory of existing services, community conversations, and the formal assessment conducted by AARP, the initiative will identify how the community can fully and more effectively meet the needs of an aging population.

We will share this information with the City and service providers who are already providing many services, and will consider whether new volunteer initiatives are needed. We hope to be able to put community resources in place through a coordination of current resources, implementing the services currently not available and mobilization of volunteers eager to make a difference in their community to improve the functional status of older adults.

How is your age-friendly initiative structured?

Augusta Age-Friendly is directed by a town-appointed Age-Friendly committee. There are also eight subcommittees (following the Eight Domains of Livability) comprised of founding committee members, new committee members, and volunteers from local businesses and organizations.

We have established 8 sub committees, still could use some more volunteers, but we now number about 20 people. Our action plan was written with 4-5 edits and has had it's first review by AARP national and is in the process of being edited and updated with their recommendations and our history was written up as a stand alone document and sent to AARP national.

Describe any partnerships you have developed?

Augusta Age-Friendly is working with the City of Augusta and AARP Maine.

We are partnered with many local organizations including (but not limited to):

  • MaineGeneral Health,
  • Augusta Downtown Alliance (bench project)
  • United Way of Kennebec Valley (volunteers)
  • Future Search (Augusta Schools)
  • ITNAmerica (transportation)
  • Catholic Charities
  • UMaine Extension Senior Companionship Program
  • UMA Senior College
  • Augusta Food Bank
  • Augusta Police Department,
  • Kennebec County Sheriff's Department,
  • Spectrum Generations, and many more to help us advance on initiatives formed in our strategic plan.

We are working together as a full committee with two Maine General staff on a lung cancer awareness project, secured outside bench seating at both Shaws and Hannafords (turnpike location), written a detailed resource guide, have a sand bucket for seniors program in the works, enlisted the boy scouts to help and are looking at a match up of the Augusta Teen Center (Boys & Girls Club) and seniors. We have also approached the local Masons on a handyman opportunity and the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce to help pursue a "certified age friendly business" concept. Two Credit Unions have been approached with an idea on an "Age Friendly Community Support Loan Program", both of which are pending.

We have taken steps to be involved with community events and will participate in the local shredding event with the sheriff's department, a participant at the state house Age Friendly day and a participant at Spectrum Generations Healthy Aging Expo. There is a plan for additional senior housing meetings with local agencies, group meetings at two additional senior living centers and also an educational day on traffic light crossing with the seniors from a focus group and our downtown resource police officer.

What is the role of volunteers?

Volunteers are the lynch-pin of our committee. Volunteers can assist the Augusta Age-Friendly Committee in many ways. The role of volunteers can be shaped upon a person's availability and desire to assist our committee in reaching goals listed in our Action Plan. We are always looking for input from residents and employees in Augusta in striving to keep goals current, viable, and of great value to those working and living in the city.

Strategies that have contributed to your success? Barriers you have encountered?

Consistent advocacy for age-friendly community development with elected officials and with key municipal staff. A successful partnership with AARP Maine.The commitment of committee members to achieve goals that improve livability for all people who reside, work, and play in the City of Augusta.

Types of funding that your initiative has received

The Augusta Age-Friendly Committee started out receiving only grants to fund initiative goals. However, since then the committee has been taking donations from businesses and residents to contribute to projects like building and installing benches throughout town.

Community Initiatives

Transportation

Augusta Age-Friendly is gathering public transit information with adjacent towns and establishing a local volunteer driver program with guidance of ITN Country

Chores, Handyman & Upkeep

Augusta Age-Friendly is compiling a list of contractors willing to make low-cost list of services.

We are working with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops to determine if they can assist with lawn clean-up projects and working with Augusta Public Works/City of Augusta to Roll out a winter Sand Buckets for Seniors Program.

Home Repair & Modification

Augusta Age-Friendly is compiling a list of contractors willing to make low-cost modifications.

We are also establishing a volunteer program that will provide home repairs for seniors and persons with disabilities

Health & Wellness

There are many opportunities available in our region. The problem is that many people don't know what is available. Augusta Age-Friendly promotes locally offered Health & Wellness programs on our Facebook Page to provide current information to residents. We partner with organizations offering local Health & Wellness activities (5K's, Marathons, Health Aging Expo, and MaineGeneral sponsored activities) - promoting them on our Facebook page.

Outreach & Resource Information

Augusta Age-Friendly is developing a Resource Guide to provide information for existing Health & Wellness Programs in the city.

Social, Educational & Recreational

Augusta Age-Friendly promotes social, educational, and recreational opportunities offered in the Augusta Region on our Facebook page. We participate in various social, educational, and recreational activities to promote awareness of the Augusta Age-Friendly committee and initiative.

Food, Gardening & Cooking

We share opportunities and information on Facebook and participate in local events, when possible.

Family, Caregiving Support & Respite

We share opportunities and information on Facebook and provide information to residents on local resources and services.

Fraud, Abuse & Exploitation

We share AARP Fraud Watch information on Facebook.

Organized a shred event in partnership with AARP Maine and the Kennebec County Sheriff's Department.

Accessibility & Walkability

Augusta Age-Friendly advocated with local businesses for the installation of benches and resting areas at key places throughout the city. We are working with the city to improve walkability. We work closely on projects that support the City of Augusta's Complete Streets Program.

Augusta Age-Friendly is assessing length of traffic light crossing to increase pedestrian safety. Currently, one of our sub-committees is investigating crosswalk safety and is working with Augusta Police Department to improve safety by offering a complete demo of crosswalk safety.

Communication

We maintain close contact with the local media and have published nine columns in the Kennebec Journal about the work we are doing. We also maintain an active Facebook page with information of interest to Augusta-area residents.

In the past year we have undergone a community communication blitz with 9 newspaper articles published, active Facebook page, an Age Friendly sticker campaign, public discussions with numerous organizations around the city, CCTV presentations to the council and the 1/2 hour "Mayor's Corner" show, a senior college forum at UMA on top of our survey, focus groups and public meeting. This high intensity communication across a variety of media has raised the level of awareness of age friendly in the community and moved us in a forward direction

Other

Developed an Augusta Age-Friendly Business/Organization Certification Guide, Checklist, and Application for local area businesses and organizations to become certified as Age-Friendly - qualification for this designation includes age-friendly actions such as including a wheelchair accessible entrance, easy-to-open or automatic doors, improving lighting, noise management, age-friendly oriented customer service, tips to improve communication skills with older adults, age-friendly marketing ideas, and age-friendly service options.

Region

Contact

Robert MacDougall
rmacdougall54@hotmail.com
207-430-8250