South Portland, ME

Covers: South Portland, Maine

Start Date: January 2019, ad hoc Senior Steering Implementation Committee

Mission, Vision & Goals

Mission: To assist senior citizens age safely in place in their community of choice.

Our community was surveyed to discover what residents identified as needs; recommendations were then made based on those needs.

Goals that are measurable and time specific will be identified to meet these recommendations. We have formed an implementation committee to set goals and initiate actions to meet the recommendations.

Broad Overview

The City Council created an ad hoc Senior Citizen Advisory Council that sent out a survey regarding the WHO domains of livability to older adult residents in the community. We also did a gap analysis to assess the services offered in our community and the use of these services. While we have many services, we have found some are not affordable for older residents, or they are unable to access them. Based on these assessments, we identified three priority areas of need: housing maintenance and housing for older adults, transportation, and communication. In January, 2019, the Council, disbanded the Advisory Council and formed an ad hoc Senior Steering Implementation Committee to begin achieving the recommendations.

How is your age-friendly initiative structured?

Our initiative is a volunteer based. We were brought into existence by an Order of the South Portland City Council and we were sworn in by the city clerk.

Describe any partnerships you have developed?

We are working with Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) on a transportation pilot project.

What is the role of volunteers?

Our Steering Committee and our subcommittees are staffed by volunteers.  At this point we do not have any paid staff. Volunteers also may include city staff as needed. Our volunteers may participate in city council meetings to offer feedback about our age-friendly work, seek out funding and grant opportunities, and create new partnerships for goal achievement.

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

Success:
The greatest key behind our success so far has been the dedication of those working on this initiative. They have believed in this process and have worked towards our goals for the last three years to make South Portland a livable community. As a team, we have stuck to our vision and have been willing to continue working together to make our community inclusive for all ages.

Challenges:
This work is very challenging and it can be difficult for volunteers to commit so much time to helping out.

Types of funding that your initiative has received

We receive funding from the South Portland City Council and a grant through GPCOG for a transportation pilot program.

Community Initiatives

Transportation

We have recently received a grant from GPCOG to implement a three month Shoppers Link Pilot program for SP disabled and senior residents.

We want our older residents to have access to medical care, grocery shopping/food pantry, and meaningful activities. We have been assessing our city’s transportation network and how residents travel in South Portland to determine how we can work with existing services. We have a very good bus system, but sometimes it does not take you exactly where you need to go or it can be difficult to access in the winter due to icy conditions. We would like to address these issues within our initiative.

Chores, Handyman & Upkeep

From the community survey we conducted, home maintenance was one of the major areas of need that was identified. Our residents have indicated that they would like assistance in identifying reliable providers as well as assistance in paying for those providers. People expressed desire for help with snow removal and yard work.

Health & Wellness

We do not yet have any programs the increase access to health services or wellness activities but we hope to in the near future.

Outreach & Resource Information

We have not done any work to spread the word about our initiative yet. However, as a priority,  we will create a  communication  subcommittee that will focus on this area.

Social, Educational & Recreational

As a beginning, we hope that our transportation program will increase access to social, educational, and recreational opportunities for our residents once it is up and running.

Food, Gardening & Cooking

We have received a grant that will provide funding for a bus that will bring older residents who need assistance to get to the food pantry or grocery store one day a week. This grant is short-term so we will need to come up with a long-term plan once it has ended. We also have a community garden.

Family, Caregiving Support & Respite

We are not currently offering any family care partner support programs.

Fraud, Abuse & Exploitation

We are not currently offering any programs to prevent fraud, abuse, and exploitation but we hope to in the future. South Portland has a community TV system that plans to address this topic at some point.

Accessibility & Walkability

We have been working to advocate for improved sidewalks in South Portland, more community parks, and increasing sanding on sidewalks and roads in the winter.

Communication

We are in the process of developing informational resources and social media to get out information about our resources and activities.

Region

Contact

Maxine Beecher or Sue Henderson
City of South Portland
South Portland, ME 04106
mbeecher@southportland.org; shenderson@southportland.org