Houlton Rotary Club learns about local aging issues
HOULTON, Maine -- The Houlton Rotary Club met on July 27 with special guest Joy Barresi-Saucier, a fellow Rotarian from the Presque Isle Club who has contributed to Rotary efforts at the district level.
Barresi-Saucier joined the group via Zoom. A guest of Tomi Henderson, she talked about her service in Rotary, as well as provided the club with information on what is happening at the Aroostook Agency on Aging, where she is the executive director.
The mission of the Aroostook Agency on Aging is to improve the quality of life, maximize the independence, and promote the well-being of older people in Northern Maine, Barresi-Saucier said.
The agency was incorporated in 1973 by Older Americans Act and is a 501c(3) charitable corporation. The board is made up of a blend of members from all over Aroostook County.
Barresi-Saucier highlighted challenges many people face in our area, as well as provided some statistics on services that the agency provides, which benefit over 6,800 residents in Aroostook County.
The Older Americans Act focuses on five core services, which are: nutrition, caregivers, health and wellness, supportive services and elder rights. The average agency provides more than a dozen additional services.
In light of the current pandemic, the local agency had to get creative on how they could continue to offer some of their services, and luckily our local area was able to find alternative ways to accomplish their missions outside of their normal routines.
Barresi-Saucier highlighted Age-Friendly Communities, and a focus for our area is “Age-Friendly Aroostook.” There are eight components needed to be considered as an age-friendly community, and those are: housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community health and support services, outdoor space and buildings and transportation. The State of Maine is considered an age-friendly state.
Barresi-Saucier provided tips on ways communities and individuals can help or obtain more information, and some of those include visiting the Aroostook Agency on Aging office, encouraging others to call for assistance, participating in listening sessions and public hearings on the area and state plans on aging, getting involved with Age Friendly Aroostook and volunteering to help older people in your community.
For more information on what our local Aroostook Area on Aging offers, you can contact the office in Presque Isle at 207-764-3396 or find them on Facebook.