More than 450 people from across the state have signed up to attend the third annual Maine Summit on Aging to be held Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center.

This year’s summit will highlight innovative strategies that individuals, organizations and communities in Maine are using to improve the health and well-being of older adults.

The summit will explore how increasing access to reliable transportation, safe housing, home repair, quality food, social engagement, educational opportunities and community wellness programs can help older adults stay healthy and out of emergency rooms.

“It’s a cultural change that we’re trying to promote,” said summit organizer Jess Maurer, who is executive director of the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

“It’s about building interconnected communities that are more concerned with keeping seniors healthy instead of just taking care of them when they’re sick,” said Maurer, who also co-chairs the Maine Council on Aging and is program manager of the Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging.

Since Maurer organized the first summit in 2014, an increasing number of Maine communities have adopted programs or initiatives designed to keep seniors from failing.


“I think it’s telling that there are 65 communities in Maine that are now focused on meeting the needs of older adults,” Maurer said.

Ideas, concerns and recommendations raised at the summit will drive future policy and legislative efforts.

The keynote speaker at the daylong summit will be Anne Montgomery, deputy director of the Altarum Institute’s Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness and former senior policy adviser for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. She will discuss the importance of having integrated community-based programs that address all aspects of living healthy after age 60, including proper food, housing and social activities.

Other scheduled speakers include Dr. Roger Renfrew, medical director of geriatrics at MaineGeneral Health in Augusta; Ted Rooney, a registered nurse, public health administrator and consumer health advocate; and Rhonda Selvin, an advanced practice registered nurse who is medical director for Maine Quality Counts.

Summit participants also will attend breakout sessions where experts and community leaders will share program models and strategies that are working to keep older adults healthy and living well at home.

During the noon luncheon, the Maine Council on Aging will give several awards to Mainers who have made a difference for seniors. Steve Farnham, executive director of the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging, will receive the 2016 Lifetime of Service to Maine Seniors Award; Royena (Rena) Heath of Hallowell will receive the 2016 Volunteer Hero to Maine Seniors Award; and Meg Haskell, a Bangor Daily News reporter who writes about older Mainers, will receive the 2016 Award for Journalistic Excellence on Aging.

Registration for the summit is closed.

The summit is sponsored by Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, John T. Gorman Foundation, MaineHealth, Maine Health Access Foundation, Senscio Systems Inc., AARP Maine, GT Independence, Wellness Connection of Maine, Avesta Housing, HealthCentric Advisors, Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and SeniorsPlus.


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