Mainers of diverse ages, backgrounds, professions and interests are invited to the second annual Maine Summit on Aging to be held Sept. 15 at the Augusta Civic Center.

The day-long summit will provide opportunities to share ideas about creating age-friendly communities and to learn about ongoing initiatives to support older Mainers, according to a news release from the Maine Council on Aging and the Maine Legislative Caucus on Aging.

Featured speakers will be Garrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, who will discuss the impact of the state’s rapidly aging population on jobs and the economy; and Bob Crowley of South Portland, best known as the oldest “Survivor” contestant, who will discuss how we can change the way we view aging.

“The rapid aging of Maine’s population and workforce has significant implications for Maine’s economic growth and opens the door for innovation, creativity and new collaborations,” said Jess Mauer, executive director of the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

“Maine has the opportunity to be a national leader in developing strategies and creating systems that support older adults working and living in Maine,” Mauer said. “To seize the opportunities ahead of us, we need to change the conversation about growing old and re-imagine our communities, workplaces and systems.”

Maine’s first aging summit, held in January 2014, was the first gathering of its kind in the nation and led to a variety of legislative and community efforts to address the challenges that are facing Maine because it has a growing senior population.

Maine is the oldest state based on median age (43.5 years) and the second-oldest based on the proportion of people age 65 and older (17 percent), according to the U.S. Census. Florida is No. 1 with 18.2 percent.

Maine also has the highest proportion of baby boomers – 29 percent of its 1.3 million residents were born in the period from 1946 to 1964. By 2030, more than 25 percent of Mainers will be 65 or older.

A Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram investigative series, The Challenge of Our Age, uncovered existing and growing shortages in senior housing, home care, long-term care, transportation and other areas that threaten to cripple the state economically and socially.

This year’s summit will include workshop sessions on developing community leadership, promoting age-friendly housing and land-use policies, designing volunteer transportation programs, improving the impact of home care workers, assisting family caregivers and creating a multi-generational workforce, among other topics.

The summit is sponsored by a variety of organizations that are actively working on aging issues in Maine, including the John T. Gorman Foundation, Maine Health Access Foundation, AARP Maine, University of New England’s Annual Maine Geriatrics Conference, Wellness Connection of Maine and the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter.

The summit will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $25 per person, including a light breakfast and lunch. To see a full agenda or to register, visit the Maine Council on Aging’s website at mainecouncilonaging.org or call 513-3738.


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