AARP has designated the city of Bath an Age-Friendly community. DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO

AARP has designated the city of Bath an Age-Friendly community. DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO


Bath is now the 59th AARP-designated age friendly community in Maine.

“We’re thrilled that Bath has committed” to being an age friendly community, said AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham. “We’re here to offer support along the way.”

The designation was announced at the Bath City Council meeting Wednesday evening, and marks a growing interest in the community in addressing aging issues in Bath and the surrounding area.

As of 2016, about 17 percent of Bath’s population was older than 60. In the greater Bath area, that number rises to about 20 percent.

A group of Bath area residents calling itself the Bath area Age Friendly and Livable Communities Initiative applied for the designation over the summer following a series of meetings held earlier this year. Ruth Lawson- Stopps, a former city councilor, initiated the meetings to discuss how Bath could be more welcoming and convenient to aging residents and visitors.


Last month, the city council signed a letter expressing support for the effort.

City Councilor Phyllis Bailey, one of the organizers behind the application and an active member of the group, said they wanted to work with AARP because the national organization had resources to help guide the community in adopting age friendly initiatives. Instead of reinventing the wheel, they could look at and mimic what other communities have done and follow best practices.

“They’ve got the tools that we can take advantage of,” she said.

After presenting a certificate to the council Wednesday, Parham dropped off a small stack of materials related to age-friendly initiatives.

While the age friendly designation is specific to Bath, the group behind the effort is open to creating a regional effort to address aging issues with the neighboring communities of West Bath, Brunswick, Woolwich, Arrowsic and Phippsburg if residents of those municipalities are interested.

“Yes, we may be many individual municipalities in the Bath area, but really we operate together,” said Lawson Stopps. “Even though we’re being recognized individually as a community in Bath … we’re really working hard to try and look at how do we as the Bath area work together.”


What’s next for the grassroots initiative is a survey that will gauge what community members value most in making Bath an age friendly city. The survey will be sent out to residents later this fall.

The group also hopes to hold more forums and conversations in the future.

“We’re really hoping very much to collaborate with that,” said Bailey. “We want to cede what we learn to them, and we’re hoping to take advantage of what they learn.”

“It’s all about making Bath a place with a real high quality of life where we reduce barriers for people,” she added.

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