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Limestone seeks to become ‘age friendly’ community

LIMESTONE, Maine — Limestone recently applied to become an AARP age friendly community, a distinction that indicates a municipality is dedicated to serving residents as they age in their city or town. 

Limestone Economic Development Coordinator Dennis McCartney pitched the idea to the Select Board members, who unanimously approved moving forward during their March 28 meeting.

“I think it’s a good program,” said Chairman Tom Albert.

McCartney had first mentioned the idea during a March 7 meeting when he said, “Roughly a third of us in Limestone are between 50 and 85, and our numbers are growing.”

The first step was for the “selectmen to get behind” the idea and confirm that they want to participate.

In speaking with officials from AARP, McCartney said he learned that becoming “age friendly” not only improves a municipality for the elderly, but makes it “more attractive for families” who wish to retire in the community.

He added that implementation of age friendly benefits could be “rolled out by the Limestone Development Foundation” and briefly touched on some ideas that would work well to enhance the Limestone experience for seniors.

“We have to go to Caribou to get medical care,” he said, “and it seems like it would be a good idea to have a clinic in town, so that’s a goal for me. It could be a simple storefront operation and, even if it’s open for a couple days out of the week, that’s a couple days that people in Limestone would have access to care.”

Caribou, a neighboring municipality, recently became the first age friendly community in Aroostook County. To become a member, communities are required to submit a plan to AARP outlining how they plan to make their city or town a better place for an elderly population.

In Caribou’s case, the plan is to implement a senior transportation system, providing elderly citizens with increased access to community events and businesses. The city also plans on forming a community committee tasked with implementing this plan, in addition to conceiving other methods in which their city can become more “age friendly”

All communities with this distinction are eligible for small grants to help implement both short and long-term plans.

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