When the ad hoc Senior Advisory Committee surveyed older South Portland residents, results indicated that the internet was not the primary way of accessing information for many individuals. When the ad hoc Senior Steering Implementation Committee (now referred to as Age Friendly South Portland), was tasked by the city council with addressing the recommendations of the survey, a priority of the committee was improving communication with all elder residents.

In addition, expanding information shared through the printed word, a decision was made to work with South Portland Community TV (SPCTV) to provide information relevant to older adults via community television.

When the pandemic required social events and visits to be halted, SPCTV provided a format for sharing information, particularly, for those who did not go online. When the city published its COVID-19 resource page on the city website, Age Friendly South Portland presented this material both as an article in the Sentry and as recurring information on SPCTV’s public access station SPPA-TV (Channel 3 with Spectrum Cable access).

Additionally, SPPA-TV is a potential mechanism to help decrease social isolation by providing programs including familiar community faces geared to community members. Age Friendly South Portland chairwoman and former city councilor Maxine Beecher coined the title “Did You Know?” for Age Friendly’s 20-30 minute informative chats likely to be of interest to residents. So far, three chats have been broadcast and several more are planned.

The staff at SPCTV has worked with Age Friendly South Portland to schedule blocks of time so that people can know when they can expect to see these programs without looking up a schedule on the city website. Usually, Age Friendly South Portland will be allotted 1 to 1.5 hours at a time.

Age Friendly South Portland programming is scheduled on SPPA-TV Channel 3 on the following days and times:

  • Mondays, 9 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, 3 a.m., 3 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
  • Wednesdays,  9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Thursdays, 3 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Friday, 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Susan Henderson is a South Portland city councilor. She can be reached at [email protected]

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