Age-Friendly Community Innitiative

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March 8

There’s lots of energy in the AFCI task forces! One of our valued contributors is Bob Oickle, who serves on the Exercise and Recreation Task Force. Bob and his wife Marilyn moved to Greenwood 2½ years ago, looking for an old house to preserve and attracted to the natural beauty of the area and its outdoor recreation opportunities. Bob had a long history with the YMCA – as CEO in Connecticut and, since retirement, interim CEO in Maine, and his personal interest in physical activities and helping others reach their health goals makes him a perfect fit for this task force! Join Bob on Wednesdays at !0 a.m. to walk the gym at Gould.

Bob and many others of our volunteers enjoyed a special volunteer recognition event last week. See article elsewhere in this newspaper.

Looks like a fun event! On Friday, March 9 there will be a coloring book and wine-tasting gathering at the Gem Theater. Details in this newspaper’s Community Calendar – as well as: Thursday, March 8-April 26, a Bereavement Support Group; Saturday the 10th – 2 dance opportunities in the area: contra and square dances; Tuesday the 13th – Easter egg decorating; Wednesday the 14th – Bethel Senior Citizens luncheon meeting.

A recent AARP bulletin suggests “The 7 Worst Things You Can Do to Your Heart” ( They are: “You sneak a smoke… you skip your walk … you snarf an extra cookie … you eat dinner out of a box… you shun your veggies … you lose your cool … you overdrink.”

Contact the AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @
agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

March 1

One of the newest AFCI Council members is Charlie Reiss, owner since 1996 of Bethel Kitchen Designs on Main St., Bethel. Not yet retired and jealous of his available time, Charlie had to be convinced that his 25-year career as a local contractor would lend a unique set of skills to our AFCI work. His experience will prove valuable as he leads a task force on Home Repair. Already, he and local Occupational Therapist Brie Wiesman have spearheaded an important component of our AARP-grant-funded Home Safety project. Soon Charlie will begin some home safety improvements as identified in Brie’s 12 home assessments that were grant-funded.

We were reminded recently that the Bethel Family Health Center has a lending closet for mobility aids that are needed on a short-term basis – such as wheelchairs and walkers.

Two articles caught our eye recently in the Western Maine Foothills publication ( Community Concepts has received significant funding to expand the capacity of its Central Heating Improvement Program, which provides state- funded grants to repair or replace central heating systems for low-income households. FMI:

Also, SeniorsPlus is now accepting referrals for Meals on Wheels. See the newspaper for a helpful description of the values this program offers to eligible seniors; FMI: 800-427-1241.

From the Community Calendar: Friday, March 2 - Martian film and lecture; Wednesday the 7th - Growing and Arranging Flowers; Thursday the 8th - Soups, Stews and Chowders demonstration.

From AARP: beware of impostors who, in the guise of being from a government agency, call to inform people they have won a huge sweepstakes from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, (

Contact the AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

February 22

From a recent comic strip: Dennis the Menace comments to his mother’s guest (“of a certain age”): “Mom says you’re ‘elderly.’ That’s just a NICE way of sayin’ ‘old.’” Cute and funny – but what do you think? What is the best way to refer to my age group: ‘seniors’ … ‘elderly’ … ‘old’ … ‘mature adults’? Let us know your opinion.

In recent weeks the AFCI Council has enjoyed visits and substantive conversations with both state and federal legislators or aides. A small group met over coffee recently with Maine Representative Fran Head, who is a long-time supporter of the AFCI. Carlene Tremblay, State Office Representative for U.S. Senator Susan Collins, and Ben Tucker, Regional Representative for U.S. Senator Angus King, traveled to be with us; our discussion was wide-ranging and informative, elaborating on the Senators’ interests and initiatives and noting valuable resources for AFCI efforts.

The AFCI has developed our Advisory Council to include a diverse group of people with valuable skill sets and unique perspectives. One such member is Valerie Cole, who is an Elder Services Specialist with SeniorsPlus, Oxford County’s Area Agency on Aging. How lucky we are for her help in understanding the myriad of services available in our community and the opportunity to promote those services! In Seniors Plus and on the AFCI Council Valerie fights for the right of individuals to age in place within their own communities.

From the Community Calendar: Friday, 23: lecture on opioid addiction; Monday 24th: Books-2-Film; Tuesday 27th: Bethelite poet Richard Taylor; Wednesday 28th: “Natural Solutions for Wellness,” “My Loved One has Dementia,” Greek Night cooking, Friday March 2: Science on Screen.

Contact the AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

February 15
“Who are the community members volunteering for the AFCI?” you may wonder. Rosabelle Tifft, who was part of the original Bethel Area Age-Friendly Community Project almost 3 years ago, has contributed a valuable service to our community through her 15-year leadership of the To Your Health program, a public offering of the Western Mountains Senior College. In spring 2015 Rosabelle‘s planning team, with the help of Jackie Cressy, formulated a presentation featuring Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal. Shortly thereafter Rosabelle and Jackie presented a second public discussion based on their participation in a meeting that introduced the AARP’s Age-Friendly Community work.

Do you get frustrated with your smart phone or tablet? Would you like to use more of the features? Telstar students volunteer every Tuesday for FREE Drop-In Tech Help - 2:30-4:30pm in the Adult Ed Office. FMI: 824-2136 ext. 1340.

The second of the Gem Theater’s science film series will be on March 2. A pre-film lecture by Dr. Henning Haack from the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum - Meteorites and the Origin of the Solar System – will be followed by the screening of The Martian. FMI: or Wade Kavanaugh at

Don’t forget the concert on Saturday, February 17, 7:30 at the West Parish Congregational Church: three new poems of Richard Blanco set to music by Tom Davis. Beforehand – 6:00 at the church – the public is invited to a reception sponsored by BAMM (Bethel Area Arts and Music).
Pen Pals for Seniors is an interesting program that seeks to create “communities free of senior isolation and loneliness.” FMI:

Contact the AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

February 8

The AFCI is proud of the programs we’ve been able to put in place to help our community’s aging population. It takes many volunteers to make these projects happen, and we are grateful to all those who perform a number of AFCI functions. Here’s one of our faithful volunteers (and we will follow with others). Jane and Jim Chandler have been an integral part of the Woodstock community for 42 years. They have both been supporters of the AFCI since its inception, and Jane is the Woodstock representative to the AFCI Council and serves as the Council’s secretary. Contributing her skills from employment at the Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, Jane also serves on the Communications and Outreach task forces and manages the adaptive toolkit the AFCI purchased through an AARP Community Challenge grant.

Remember the October 2016 concert of Tom Davis’s musical setting of Richard Blanco’s inaugural “One Today” poem? Blanco has some new poems, which Davis has set to music; those and “One Today” will be performed on Saturday, February 17, 7:30pm at the West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel. The event will feature Mr. Blanco and chorus, strings and collaborating musicians in various musical styles. (See article elsewhere in this newspaper.)

Also in this newspaper read the Community Calendar for information on the following events (and more) - Friday, February 9: annual Lincoln Day dinner; Saturday, February 10: Texas Hold’em; Sunday, February 11: Great Maine Outdoor Weekend with the Mahoosuc Land Trust; Wednesday, February 14: Bethel Senior Citizens meeting.

The AFCI always needs help! Got an hour? Have some ideas? Want to help implement a project? Please contact us: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

February 1
The AFCI provides several programs of service to people over 60 years old in our 6-town community – all free of charge. You may have a loved one or a friend who would benefit from one or more of these services; please refer them to the appropriate program. You may also want to assure that the service is there for you yourself at some point in the future. We always need volunteers! You may contact AFCI by email: or from our website: Or contact the person noted below.

For transportation: 824-4444. Rides to local commitments and events - often for a medical appointment, but also for something as simple as a class, shopping or socializing. Rides are dependent on the availability of drivers. Want to be a volunteer driver? FMI: Al Cressy ( 824-0508).

To arrange for a daily phone-call service to someone in need OR to volunteer to be a caller: Brooks Morton (, 207-381-5991) or Kay Rector (, 207-824-3333).

Community activities: AFCI Walk the Gym Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00, Wednesdays, 10:00-11:00, Thursdays, 1:30-2:30. Check the Gem Theater for a host of interesting entertainment options. From the To Your Health Program of the Western Mountains Senior College: Heart Disease in Women - Thursday, February 8 (snow date February 15), 4:30-6:00 pm, West Parish Congregational Church, Bethel.

The SAD 44 Adult Ed. program “My Loved One Has Dementia - Where Do I Start?” has been rescheduled to Wednesday, February 7. Also (as noted in the Community Calendar) Saturday, February 3: benefit dance at the Locke Mills Legion Hall; Tuesday, February 6: wind power presentation, Greenwood; Wednesday, February 7: Greek Night cooking class.

 Contact AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

January 25

From the Community Calendar: Sunday, January 28: Richard Blanco at the W. Paris Unitarian Universalist Church; Tuesday, January 30: Heart & Soul Newcomers’ Night; Wednesday, January 31: Community Supper; Snowshoe Under the Light of the Super Moon; Thursday, February 1: Woodstock-Greenwood Senior Citizens Meeting. And Walk the Gym Tuesday the 30th, 1:30-3:00, Wednesday, 10:00-11:00, Thursday, 1:30-2:30.

You probably have ideas on how you want to be cared for at the end of life or when you can no longer communicate or make decisions for yourself. You may already have completed a health care advance directive, which includes a living will and health care power of attorney. In it you have listed your preferences for end-of-life care, such as whether you want a machine to breathe for you or simply relief from pain. Even naming someone close to you as a health care agent to convey your wishes may not be enough. Make sure that your loved ones and doctors fully understand your wishes, regularly review and update your directive, and make the directive easily accessible. If you have not already begun this process, you may get help through your healthcare provider or these websites: or

Imagine that! Betty White just turned 96. She says the secret to her longevity is vodka and hotdogs – in that order. In addition, though, she says "I know it sounds corny, but I try to see the funny side and the upside, not the downside. I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It's such a waste of time."

Contact AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

January 18

The AFCI Advisory Council enjoyed a recent visit from Maine State Senator Lisa Kiem. It was a good opportunity to let the Senator know about the work we are doing in our six communities, as well as to learn what legislative issues she thinks might impact our work in the future. 

Here’s a wonderful opportunity for these “invigorating” winter months: Many people associate Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation with alpine skiing at Sunday River, but did you know that Maine Adaptive also sponsors an adaptive Nordic skiing and snowshoeing program for people of all ages with disabilities? With trained volunteer guides, the skiing and snowshoe group meets on Friday mornings and explores a variety of trails in the Bethel area. It’s free, and no equipment is necessary! FMI: or 207 824-2440. 

A sincere thank-you to those who have generously donated to support our volunteer driver transportation program. We welcome donations to our general AFCI program or, if you wish, to a specific program. Donations may be sent to “Town of Bethel, ATTN: AFCI, PO Box 1660, Bethel, ME 04217." 

The Maine Council on Aging is sponsoring a week-long free online class on care-giving. Details are at If you are taking time out of your life to care for someone you love, you probably already know that care-giving can leave you feeling overwhelmed, burned out, stressed, and depressed. Consider the information, advocacy, self-care and inspiration that this class will provide.

More support – specific to dementia – will be offered by SAD44 Adult Ed and is presented by Amy Boivin from Memory Care at Market Square. It will be held at Telstar High School, Wednesday, January 24, 3:00-4:00. Free, but registration required; call WMSC: 824-2136-3141.

Contact AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

January 11

Have you gone to the AFCI website recently? www. Our Resource Directory is on the site; other new items include the AFCI 2017 Annual Report and the most recent information on our projects and programs.

One of these current enterprises is facilitating, in cooperation with Bethel Rescue, the distribution of plastic sand buckets with selected medical information and a pill organizer. In this potentially dangerous weather, this is an important resource! Pick up your free bucket at Bethel Rescue on Walkers Mills Road and your sand at the kiosk located on the left side of the road just beyond, and around the corner from, the Maine Energy Systems building at the Airport. As a value-added N2N rides service, several volunteer drivers have begun to provide buckets with sand to their clients.

Also described is the AFCI Winter Walk the Gym program - a great way to fend off this horribly frigid weather!

From the Community Calendar in this newspaper - Sunday, January 14: “When You Knew, Grampa, What Did You Do?” Classical guitar concert in Berlin; Wednesday, January 17: “A Day in the Life of Adaptive Athletes.” Also find information on the many interesting health-related activities (including for cancer patients) in Norway. 

The latest AARP bulletin features “Guard Your Memory: New research reveals what works and what doesn’t.” Item 3 notes the most recent research into the effect of aluminum on the development of Alzheimers Disease: we do not need to worry about the miniscule amounts in antiperspirants and cookware.

The AFCI always needs help! Got an hour? Have some ideas? Want to help implement a project? Please contact us: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)

January 4

Happy New Year from the Bethel Area Age-Friendly Community Initiative!  We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish since June ’15, but we know there’s lots more we could put into place to make life safer and more interesting for the eldest segment of the community.  There are ideas for projects just waiting for the right people to help us implement them.  Maybe you have ideas too!  If so, let us know through the contact information below.  You may also donate money to our cause. 

Bethel Rescue has plastic sand buckets that can be picked up for free at the Rescue barn on Walkers Mills Road.  In the bucket are several “goodies” that should prove useful: a refrigerator magnet  with “Warning Signs of a Stroke,” a refrigerator note with Emergency Contacts and Medical Data that would be useful to rescue personnel responding to an emergency call, an easy-to-use reference card showing the signs and symptoms for heart attacks and strokes.  Once you have your bucket, go fetch your free sand that is available for Bethel residents at a sand kiosk located on the left hand side of the road just beyond Maine Energy Systems building on 9 Airport Road at the Airport.

The Bethel Senior Citizens Club meets Wednesday, January 10. 

AARP offers useful information on controlling an overactive bladder, beginning with the simplest: take note of what you drink, change your diet, manage your medications.  For more:
Contact AFCI: by email,; our website,; our Facebook page, @agefriendlybethel. (Nancy Davis)