Agency on Aging celebrates 50th anniversary in 2023

1 year ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – 2023 marks 50 years of services provided by the Aroostook Agency on Aging to older persons and their caregivers. As northern Maine’s trusted resource to help adults remain independent and achieve their fullest potential, the Agency, which employs nearly 100 full- and part-time  staff members across the region and benefits from the time and talents of more than 80 volunteers, is recognizing this milestone with events throughout the year.

Joy Barresi Saucier, the Agency’s executive director, credits visionary board leadership, committed staff,  community partners, business supporters, and selfless volunteers for playing an invaluable role in the  success of the organization since the early days. 

“Aging is a natural part of life. It is something every one of us does every day. And yet it can be hard to accept. To talk about. To plan for. The Agency serves as a beacon to show us the way and let us know we are on the right path,” Barresi Saucier said. 

As northern Maine’s federally recognized Aging & Disability Resource Center, Agency staff and volunteers are trained and readily available to help adults of all ages, regardless of income, plan and achieve their fullest potential as they age. “We bring 50 years of experience to this work and can be a knowledgeable guide – one that offers compassion, wisdom, and unbiased recommendations to older adults, caregivers, and providers,” she added. 

The Aroostook Regional Task Force for Older Citizens was formally designated by Gov. Kenneth Curtis on Sept. 19, 1973. Quentin Paradis, former assistant director of Aroostook County Action Program, served as director of the Task Force until his retirement in 1977. Stephen Farnham guided what would become the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging for nearly 40 years, stepping down in 2017. Today, Barresi Saucier leads the organization. 

Program growth in the Agency occurred over the last 50 years, with many supports and services added over time. Services the Agency provides are available for older people, those with disabilities, and individuals who care for them. Several programs, such as wellness classes, are available for adults or any age and most programs have no financial eligibility. 

“As we navigate life’s journey, we look for guidance from those with experience, compassion, and  knowledge. We want residents to know they can lean on the Aroostook Agency on Aging to show them the way, to point in the direction of resources to help them and their family or friends not only remain independent, but to thrive,” said Barresi Saucier. “We encourage anyone with questions or concerns to give us a call.” 

Birthday events will officially kick off during Older Americans Month, held each year in May, and will continue throughout 2023. “This year, as we mark our 50th anniversary, we will take time to reflect on  past years, plan strategically for the next 50, and, of course, celebrate with all of you!” Barresi Saucier added. 

Agency leaders encourage service clubs, businesses, and individuals to contact the Agency on Aging at 764-3396 or toll-free at 1-800-439-1789 to discuss ways to be a part of the birthday celebration year. “Share a story, a picture, a memory, or sponsor an anniversary activity – your involvement is appreciated and will be recognized!,” Barresi Saucier said.