Students from the University of New England observe while a cleaning is performed at Westbrook Housing Authority. Contributed / University of New England

UNE offers free dental cleanings at housing authority

Dental hygiene students from the University of New England are offering free cleanings for Westbrook Housing Authority residents age 55 and up through a partnership between the housing authority and UNE’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health.

Cleanings are offered every Thursday to those who live at any of the Housing Authority’s 15 properties. Students work from the UNE Wellness Center, located at the housing authority’s Larrabee campus.

The oral health treatments are part of a long-term, multi-phase student placement and research partnership serving seniors aging in place in affordable housing. Students from UNE’s physical therapy, occupational therapy, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and social work programs will soon conduct faculty-supervised visits with senior residents at the Wellness Center.

Tom Meuser, director of the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health, said dental care was already difficult for older adults to find and afford before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic only worsened the problem, he said.

“This partnership is a marriage of needs: the need for accessible care and the need for student training and education,” Meuser said. “This is a tremendous example of service learning in action.”

More than 50 students are involved in multiple capacities at the Wellness Center, according to Meuser, and more than 100 residents are receiving services or on waiting lists.

The oral health space — where students perform two dental consultations each week — is booked through the end of November.

Marji Harmer-Beem, director of the dental hygiene program at UNE, said collaborations offer added value for students in the program because of the focus on experiential learning.

“Many older adults do not have access to a dental home. UNE Dental Hygiene, in collaboration with WHA and other health professions, are providing preventive services to bring awareness to the needs of this very special population,” Harmer-Beem said. “The University is committed to partnerships that serve the community and offer our students real-life experiences.”

Basket raffle, book and card sale

Friends of Walker Memorial Library has announced a new book sale, card sale and raffle at the library.

Books and cards are available by donation; holiday, thank-you and birthday cards are among the offerings. Raffle tickets for themed baskets are at the lending desk.

“Currently, we have a fall raffle basket for adults with an apple corer, homemade pumpkin pillowcases, 50 hikes book and various apple and fall items,” Friends member Kelly Day said. “We also have a lovely teen basket filled with books and sparkly, horse-related items for someone who enjoys that.”

The suggested donation for raffle tickets is $1 each. The winner will be drawn Nov. 13.

The library, located at 800 Main St., opens at 10 a.m. six days a week. It closes at 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 2 p.m. Saturday.

The friends group will meet next from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, on the second floor.

Rotary bag benefit

The Rotary Club of Westbrook-Gorham is selling custom-designed, made-in-Maine Sea Bags to benefit Through These Doors, a domestic violence resource center for residents of Cumberland County. The cost is $225.

The fundraiser recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The deadline to order is Nov. 1 at

60 years ago

The Westbrook American reported Oct. 18, 1961, that Mr. and Mrs. John Grovo of Saco Street had entertained his niece and nephew, Cheryl and James Grovo of Madison.

Comments are not available on this story.