Thriving in Place Downeast

Covers: Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington

Start Date: November, 2013

Mission, Vision & Goals

MeHAF funded TiPD for a year-long planning grant from 11/1/13 to 10/31/14, during which TiPD partners interviewed over 80 elders and caregivers. The data collected were used to drive the goals for project implementation. These goals revolve around five general priorities identified by participants as important elements of “thriving in place”.

  1. Basic Needs (e.g. enough money for basics and extras, healthy food, hot meals, dependable transportation, home repairs, exercise, safe housing, fuel, enough rest, time to breathe, access to healthcare/insurance).
  2. Independence (but not isolation) (e.g. choices/control, able to get out of bed, respite from caretaking, living in own home).
  3. Social Connection (e.g. friends, community connections, scheduled events/senior center, being with loved one, connections to people in similar situations.
  4. Emotional Well-Being (e.g. decreased depression, alert, balanced, not feeling stuck, freedom from worry, purpose and meaning in life).
  5. Healthcare/Resource Navigation Assistance (e.g. insurance, finances, legal issues, paperwork).

Based on the findings and priorities identified in the planning year, TiPD partners developed a 3-year implementation plan of collaborative projects and activities designed to support
caregivers, elders, and people with chronic conditions. The implementation plan reflects the following overarching strategies.

  1. Enhancing outreach, support, and proven programs to our target populations by building upon existing community-based resources, many of which are unique to rural Maine.
  2. Developing a comprehensive system of communication and marketing to “connect the dots” between the various systems of care and to help residents become fully aware of current resources.
  3. Determining the healthcare and social service needs of under-insured, un-insured and/or medically under-served in Blue Hill Peninsula and Stonington/Deer Isle.

Examples of programs initiated in TiPD’s first year include:

  1. Community-based prevention programs
    • Cooking Matters
    • Matter of Balance
    • Diabetes Prevention Program
    • Tai Chi for Health
  1. Caregiver Support
    • Grieving on the Installment Plan
    • Caregiver Training and Support Groups
    • Clinics of Expertise
    • Community Forums
  1. Volunteer efforts aimed at providing information and support to seniors and individuals with chronic conditions, as well as providing mentoring and support for caregivers.
  2. Digital platform for communication, information-sharing and a collaborative learning community among TiPD Partners.
  3. Online Community Resource Guide for providers, caregivers, community.
  4. Provider Network: In-person and digital community for sharing resources, improving referrals, and strengthening collaboration among formal and informal service providers.
  5. Social media, newspaper ads, columns and guest editorials used to raise community awareness about TiPD initiatives and available prevention, health management, and support resources.

Broad Overview

Thriving in Place Downeast (TiPD) serves the 9 towns of the Blue Hill Peninsula, Deer Isle and Stonington and is funded by a 3-year grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF). The second year of TiPD begins on November 1, 2015. MeHAF’s Thriving in Place initiative aims to create long-lasting system change to support seniors and people with chronic health conditions (including behavioral health conditions) maintain or improve their health so they can remain independent and safe in their homes and communities as long as possible.

How is your age-friendly initiative structured?

The original plan was designed on a consensus model by a committed group of partners. The implementation phase is overseen by an Advisory Council that has authority the budget, project monitoring, and annual funding allocations.

Describe any partnerships you have developed?

TiP Downeast is a collaborative project with the following partners:

  1. Aroostook Mental Health Center
  2. Blue Hill Memorial Hospital
  3. Coastal Care Team/MDI Hospital
  4. Community Health and Counseling Services
  5. Eastern Area Agency on Aging
  6. Friends in Action
  7. Hancock County HomeCare & Hospice/Eastern Maine Health Systems
  8. Healthy Acadia
  9. Healthy Peninsula
  10. Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County
  11. Penobscot Bay Press (PBP)
  12. Washington Hancock Community Agency (WHCA)
    • At Home Down East
    • Friendship Cottage

What is the role of volunteers?

Volunteers have various roles from serving on our Advisory Council to individual volunteers working on partner agency TiP projects. Our TiPD Volunteer Project is an intensive, new project designed to provide trained volunteers to at-risk, under-served clients who need in-home support, resource orientation and/or social support upon discharge from the hospital or medical supervision.

We have well-developed policies about using volunteers and are willing to share them with other age-friendly initiatives.

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

Shared vision, genuine, open-minded collaboration among agencies have been essential to our successes. Challenges include trying to collaborate with unwilling partners; lack of partners' internal capacity to meaningfully collaborate to further group goals; lack of sustainable funding.

Types of funding that your initiative has received


Community Initiatives


Our new volunteer project, while not primarily designed to provide transportation, could include the occasional ride for a specific purpose. Our volunteers are trained generally to refer transportation requests to our transportation partner, Friends in Action.

Health & Wellness

Thriving in Place Downeast has a variety of health and wellness programming sponsored by several of our partners, including: Living Well (Chronic Disease Management), Matter of Balance, Tai Chi for Health, Grieving on the Installment Plan, Caregiver Trainings, Cooking Matters, Move It To Lose It, Salt Air Seniors, and a year-long health and wellness group at a senior housing complex that uses a combined curriculum from the Diabetes Prevention Program and Cooking Matters.

Outreach & Resource Information

Thriving in Place Downeast sends a newsletter about every week or so to its partners. It contains a combination of relevant articles, studies, etc.

Click here to view the Healthy Peninsula Community Resource Guide

Social, Educational & Recreational

Thriving in Place Downeast sponsors weekly Clinics of Expertise, free, walk-in "clinics" at the local hospital with a different community expert each week who is available to give advice and information on a variety of subjects. Our current Clinics of Expertise include financial planning, caregiver support, mental health and substance abuse information and resources, government benefit program support (e.g. Social Security, Medicare), and basic computer/tablet support.

Food, Gardening & Cooking

On Thursday, June 30, 2016, the Magic Food Bus began its sixth season of offering free, fresh, local produce, health information, and books for children and adults.

This popular project was started in 2011 when Sedgwick School Librarian Margaret Bixby’s great idea was recognized as a perfect match for Healthy Peninsula’s Good Food Project. The focus on trying new and healthy foods is matched by the availability of library or donated books for both children and adults—good food and good summer reading.

In June 2016, Healthy Peninsula was awarded a $3,000 Maine Farmland Trust Blue Hill Community Food Grant to develop a Community Garden Project. The objective of the project is to build networks and infrastructure for more formalized community gardening opportunities on the Blue Hill Peninsula in the coming years. Existing gardens and the work of community gardening champions have been mapped, including all of the local elementary school and senior housing project gardens, and three new raised-bed gardens have been installed. These beds will be used for public instruction and demonstration workshops for community members interested in learning gardening basic. When harvested, the bounty produced will be distributed by the Magic Food Bus across the Blue Hill Peninsula region. Additionally, to improve communication among gardening enthusiasts across the region, the grant also allows the creation of a list serve of both beginning and experienced gardeners that can be used to share information and tips and for mutual support.

Family, Caregiving Support & Respite

Thriving in Place Downeast supports several support groups for caregivers. Our Volunteer Initiative specifically focuses on providing socialization for isolated seniors, people with chronic conditions or caregivers.


Thriving in Place Downeast has a combined approach that includes close collaboration with our media partner, Penobscot Bay Press. PBP provides support to TiPD Partners in developing an array of marketing materials from flyers to Coming Events to advertising. We also have a robust Social Media presence and extend our reach through our Provider Network, that reaches multiple medical, social service and volunteer agencies serving our area. We also leverage our media presence by recruiting TiPD Partners to write Community Columns for the PBP newspapers on issues relevant to their services. We have also done several community-wide forums, films and talks for the general community.


Thriving in Place Downeast is a collaboration of 12+ partner agencies that provide a variety of services including health and wellness programming, caregiver support, community education and information, resource orientation, and referral to appropriate resources. Therefore, while we don't currently have a TiPD-funded project specifically focused on these services, many of our partners may have referrals or information for consumers about how to access them.  Each service or program is delivered differently, according to the needs of the specific audience and local community, as well as the goals and requirements of the partner agency. While TiPD is coordinated by Healthy Peninsula, most of the funding is passed directly through to partner agencies to use on specific projects that support TiPD's implementation goals.



Anne Schroth
Healthy Peninsula/Thriving in Place Downeast
10 Parker Point Road, PO Box 945, Blue Hill, Maine 04676
(207) 374-3257