May is Older Americans Month and this is certainly something to celebrate. Enacted in 1965, The Older Americans Act was the first federal government initiative to provide broad-based assistance to older adults that would help them stay in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. If you have ever been a caregiver for an aging loved one, you probably know how much they cherish their independence and how much they appreciate their connection to familiar surroundings.
The Older Americans Act supports many programs that enable seniors to maintain that level of independence. Meals on Wheels, for example, is supported by this landmark law. Through Meals on Wheels, hundreds of volunteers deliver nutritious meals to older adults (60+) who can no longer do their own grocery shopping or who can no longer easily prepare their own balanced meals. If you would like to learn more about eligibility requirements or if you would like to become a volunteer with this extraordinary program, contact your local Area Agency on Aging: 1-877-353-3771.
Celebrating National Older Americans Month each May is a strong tradition that demonstrates our nation’s commitment to recognizing the achievements and contributions of older Americans. Further, this annual recognition month also gives us the opportunity to showcase available programs and services in Maine that can make a tremendous difference in our communities. For example, in addition to Meals on Wheels, another program that helps thousands of older Mainers every year is the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP. SNAP helps those who qualify with the cost of groceries, a much needed benefit during these tough economic times. SNAP participants use an electronic benefits card to purchase their groceries. Eligibility is based on a number of factors including: citizenship, the size of the household, any mobility issues, monthly household income and expenses including medical expenses, and then total assets. Applications are available at www.maine.gov/mymaineconnection
The Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is another important resource when searching for information about local services and programs for those who may be in need of extra assistance. The Program advocates for quality of life and care for long-term care consumers in Maine. You can find out much more by going to www.maineombudsman.org or by calling 1-800-499-0229.
Perhaps the best way we can acknowledge Older Americans Month is by helping our friends, family and loved-ones remain independent and in their own homes and communities for years to come. As always, AARP is connecting you to people with shared interests. We continue to work with community and partner organizations to raise awareness around issues that affect older residents, and we certainly hope that you find information about these programs useful.
Here is a video to illustrate what comes with an AARP membership: