Maine has a little more than 200,000 seniors living within its borders, but that relatively low number translates into 16.3% of the total population. That is the second largest percentage in the nation, trailing only Florida, so it is clear that the graying sector is an important one in Maine.
The Maine Office of Aging & Disability Services (OADS) is tasked with the sometimes difficult job of providing programs and services to meet the needs of the growing senior population. They include:
-- Adult Day Care: Structured services for seniors when their caretakers are off at work during the day.
-- Assisted Living: The OADS runs 12 assisted living centers, seven of them for seniors who do not need medication management and five for those who do need that service.
-- Community Dining Sites: Some 100 locations throughout the state where seniors can enjoy a mid-day meal.
-- EnhanceFitness: An exercise program for seniors, ranging from the frailest to those seniors who have kept themselves in good shape.
-- Family Caregiver Program: Training, support and assistance for the selfless family members taking care of a frail senior.
-- Home Delivered Meals: Delivering hot and ready-to-eat meals to homebound seniors.
-- Homemaker Services: Services in the home, including help with personal hygiene, dressing, chores and household management.
-- Legal Services for the Elderly: A special Medicare Part D Appeals Unit to help elderly and disabled Maine residents with Medicare Part D. This is a free service.
-- Living Well/Chronic Disease Self-Management: Workshops dealing with healthy living as well as dealing with chronic issues such as fatigue and pain.
-- Senior Medicare Patrol: Educating seniors about Medicare and MaineCare and how to help identify fraud and abuse of the system.
-- Women, Work and Community: Helping women after the death or disability of their spouses or family members with such services as support groups and job training.
It is advisable that all seniors who are living on their own at least consider getting a medical alert system. Such a system means that you are never really alone – there is always someone watching over you.
For seniors who value their independence, this is a must. You probably would do anything to stay out of a long-term care facility. That is the end of your independence. But with a medical alert system, you can live on your and do what you want and still have an unobtrusive backup system in place.
All medical alert companies operate in Maine. To compare the services of more than a dozen top companies, click on this link for some very helpful information.
Maine recognizes how serious falls are to seniors; after all, a third of all seniors will suffer a serious fall each year. The state wants to lower that figure by developing a program called A Matter of Balance/Volunteer Lay Leader (MOB/VLL).
The program is designed to reduce fear of falling and improve activity levels among seniors. In two eight-hour classes seniors learn that falls are controllable; there is no reason to fear them as inevitable.
Knowing how important exercise and having a sound body is to avoiding falls, the classes promote exercise to increase strength and balance, as well as teach people to set realistic goals for increasing activity. They also demonstrate how to improve the physical condition of their homes to reduce the risk factors of falling.