Age Friendly Houlton: A Medicare reminder

Kathryn Harnish, Age Friendly Houlton, Special to The County
1 year ago

What a gorgeous fall we’re having here in Aroostook County … nature has given us so many perfect days to enjoy. Age-Friendly Houlton gives this season two big thumbs up.

Fall days like this provide an annual reminder of Medicare Open Enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec 7. This is the opportunity to make changes to your existing Medicare health plan or prescription drug plan, pick a Medicare Advantage plan, or return to Medicare Part A and Part B. 

Because Medicare plans – and your health situation – can change from year to year,  it’s important to review your coverage options and make choices that best meet your needs. The Aroostook Agency on Aging will be visiting the Houlton Rec Center on Tuesday, Nov 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to provide assistance with this review process. Call the Agency at 764-3396 to schedule a personal appointment.

In other Aroostook Agency on Aging news, the organization recently announced its receipt of a $1 million grant to create a Memory Care Center in The County. Based in Presque Isle, the center will provide services to individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s disease – the fifth leading cause of death in Aroostook.

The center will provide resources for early diagnosis and treatment planning by virtually connecting County residents with specialists at Acadia Hospital’s Mood and Memory Center, eliminating the need to travel to Bangor or Portland for these appointments.  The center will also offer much-needed respite care, resources, and support for caregivers working with loved ones experiencing memory loss. We’ll be following their work with excitement and helping to celebrate the center’s opening in 2023.

As we head toward the holiday season, online scammers are hard at work thinking of clever ways to dupe gift-givers into their schemes. Most of these scams involve getting you to share personal information or click on links that download malware to your device.  

At this time of year, be particularly careful about emails or texts that suggest joining online gift exchanges, offer free gift cards, or alert you to problems with shipping of an online purchase.  In addition, be aware that some scammers go to great lengths to create “look-a-like” Black Friday sales pages, conning you into purchasing items that you’ll never receive and giving scammers your credit card information.  

The best rule when dealing with unsolicited emails or texts is to mark them as spam or delete them without opening, but if you do open a message, do not click on any links contained within it. 

The Putnam House Senior Center is now operating under new leadership, with Victoria Fryer, a retired social worker, stepping up to the plate as the nonprofit’s new president.  To better meet participants’ needs, the senior center is now open Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m. 

If you’re headed out to the Health Services Foundation’s Festival of Trees (November 11-20), keep an eye out for the Putnam House table and stop by to learn more about what the team has planned – and follow their Facebook page to stay up to date on upcoming happenings.

On Nov. 18 at 1 p.m., the group will host a Putnam House favorite:  “Where in the World?,” a virtual sightseeing trip to a secret destination complete with tasty regional cuisine. All are welcome, whether for a special event or just to socialize with friendly folks.

Finally, the Age-Friendly committee will begin re-evaluating community needs and the programs that we offer to help address them, and we’re eager to have broader participation from Houlton residents in this process.  If you’re interested in joining the discussion, please contact us by email at or by phone at 207 694 3840.