Mainers are facing increasingly complex challenges, including a severe lack of affordable housing, rising food costs and difficulty accessing support to keep them healthy and safe.

For older adults, many of whom are on fixed incomes, these challenges have become especially dire, resulting in poor health outcomes. The negative effects of these issues on the mental and physical well-being of older Mainers are also being compounded by a rise in social isolation.

Research clearly shows that chronic loneliness is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, depression and cognitive decline. Nonprofit organizations like Maine’s Area Agencies on Aging are working to address these problems, but too many of our older neighbors are falling through the cracks as they try to navigate the complicated social safety net.

We know from observing the behavioral health care system that targeted case management services are incredibly successful in supporting people through these challenges. But despite having the oldest population in the country, Maine does not have the infrastructure to provide much-needed targeted case management services to older adults. Thankfully, we can solve this right now if the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee includes L.D. 1684 in the governor’s supplemental budget.

L.D. 1684, An Act to Invest in the Health and Wellness of Older Maine Residents by Expanding Coordinated Community Programming, has bipartisan support within the Legislature. This bill would provide funding for Maine’s agencies on aging to establish a sustainable case management system and be able to meet the needs of older adults before they end up facing homelessness or prolonged hospitalization because they could not access the help they need. Maine’s five Area Agencies on Aging (Aroostook Agency on Aging, Eastern Area Agency on Aging, SeniorsPlus, Southern Maine Agency on Aging and Spectrum Generations) and the Maine Council on Aging are united in asking the Appropriations Committee to fund this critical bill.

Right now, thousands of older Mainers rely on the many services and supports offered by these agencies. As Maine’s central resource for older adults, these agencies provide nutritious meals, family caregiver support, assistance for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, expert advice on insurance and drug benefits, classes to help folks age well, and information on critical community resources. Unfortunately, current funding only allows us to serve one quarter of the older adults in the state – many of whom need our support.


Each of the agencies has seen a dramatic increase in need in the last few years. If the agencies can build a targeted case management system with the funding from L.D. 1684, they could reach thousands more Mainers, preventing them from seeking higher-cost health care services such as ER visits, prolonged hospital stays or institutional care.

With 2024 marking the greatest surge of Americans turning 65 in history, now is the time to invest in supporting older adults in our state. AAAs are already known for helping individuals remain securely housed and active participants in their communities at a fraction of the cost of nursing home or similar alternatives. L.D. 1684 will allow them to expand their reach to ensure our most vulnerable older neighbors have the resources they need to thrive.

By connecting older adults to case management services, we can ensure they have a safe place to live, enough food on the table, access to the health care they need and relief from the stress of not knowing where to turn for help.

In turn, we will have a healthier population and a stronger state.

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