Opinion

Age Friendly Houlton: Seasons are changing

Our days are getting a little shorter and our leaves a little oranger…and pumpkin spice is popping up all over! It’s hard to imagine that kids are back in school and our wonderful Maine summer is drawing to a close.

As part of this change in seasons, the Aroostook Agency on Aging has just published its schedule of online and in-person events for the early part of the fall, including virtual introductions to tai chi and other exercise programs and a  session on fall prevention at the Houlton Rec Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 10-11 a.m. 

We’re delighted that this session is coming to Houlton, since reducing fall risk is incredibly important for older adults. One in five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury, and fear of falling also affects an older person’s quality of life by limiting their activity. This is a great learning opportunity for older adults as well as the people who care for them – register for this session by calling the Agency at 207-764-3396.

Last month, a new property tax stabilization program went into effect for Maine’s older homeowners. Individuals who are 65 or older can apply to have their tax bill frozen, eliminating unexpected and unaffordable increases in their property tax bill.  

To qualify, you need to be 65 by April 1 of the tax year for which you are requesting stabilization and meet certain ownership and residency requirements. Applications, available from the Maine Revenue Services website or the town office, must be completed and submitted by Dec. 1, 2022 for the 2023 tax year, so start planning ahead.

And speaking of taxes and planning, the town of Houlton is ramping up its 2023 Tax Club, which allows residents to pay their property taxes in 12 monthly installments. If you prefer this model to a lump sum payment that’s due once a year, contact the Houlton Town Office or check out the application on the town’s website.

We wanted to share a terrific new online resource that’s recently “gone live” thanks to a partnership between the Drucker Institute and the Maine State Library:  Bendable, a lifelong learning platform.  

Bendable is a great resource for curious people of all ages, offering virtual classes across a spectrum of interests:  job-seeking, crafting and making, language skills, history, personal finance, and more.  What’s more, there are lots of “local collections” – resource lists developed by Maine residents who have a passion for specific topics (think lighthouses, poetry, and more).  If you have an interest that you want to share, there’s an opportunity for you to contribute, as well!  Check out Bendable at maine.bendable.com – it’s pretty awesome!

Finally, Age-Friendly Houlton is interested in assessing need for and interest in two community volunteer programs:  a fall clean-up project, similar to our Spring Spruce-Up, and a sand bucket program.  To make these initiatives work, we need volunteers who are willing to share a few hours of their time to help their older neighbors. Contact Kathryn at info@agefriendlyhoulton.org or by phone (207 694 3840) to express interest and help us plan ahead!

For more information on Age-Friendly news visit the group’s Facebook page (Age-Friendly Houlton) or visit the  website:  www.agefriendlyhoulton.org.

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