Newry, Maine Print
Joined the AARP Age-Friendly Network:
Lead Agency: Bethel Age-Friendly Community Initiative
Action Plan Download
The Bethel Regional Plan encompasses several towns and communities, with the ultimate goal of improving livability through a regional approach. This plan was developed through a collaboration between the four towns of Bethel, Greenwood, Newry, and Woodstock, along with AARP Maine. To make the plan truly regional, the towns' Age-Friendly Community Initiative distributed surveys to gather input from the largely rural surrounding townships to address service gaps for older residents. As a result, the action plan commits to addressing gaps in transportation, help with intermittent household chores, and the need for a gathering place or community center to combat social isolation.
Action Plan Highlights
TransportationPromote pedestrian safety, walkability, access, and transportation diversity by improving crosswalks, building a two-mile universal trail network, and developing a volunteer-based driving program.
Communication and InformationHelp older residents connect with a friendly voice through a "Morning Greeting Call" program.
Health and Community ServicesEnsure that older adults have access to information on available health services through a comprehensive online directory. Incorporate dementia-friendly concepts into local community planning.
Progress Report Download
The Bethel Region Age-Friendly Community Initiative is focusing special attention on diminishing the effects of social isolation and loneliness. In collaboration with other community non-profit organizations, we run a Neighbor to Neighbor rides program for older adults, a Walk the Gym program in the winter, regular Tai Chi classes, and initiatives to help older adults use technology as a means of decreasing feelings of isolation. We are a valuable resource for news on interesting area events, as well as pertinent health, safety, financial and cultural information. Programs encouraging intergenerational interaction, such as our Handy Neighbor chores program, create valuable social opportunities. During the COVID crisis we have been calling older adults in the area to check on their well-being and are available to deliver food and other goods to those who can't get out.