Stay up to date on Spectrum Generations and the latest news on aging in place. For all media inquiries, please contact the Community Engagement Officer Stephanie Hanner at [email protected]
Share Some Love With Spectrum Generations!
The 2017 Subaru Share the Love Event is officially underway and as a member of Meals on Wheels America, Spectrum Generations is excited to announce that we will be taking part in this year’s event!
Meals on Wheels programs all across the country deliver the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. But the holidays can be an especially difficult time for so many. FMI about how you can help Share the Love with local seniors, call Angela in the Waterville Area at 660-9263 or Lynda in the Hallowell area at 620-1187.
How does it work? Between now and January 2, 2018, Subaru of America, Inc. will donate $250 to a consumer’s choice of participating charities for every new Subaru vehicle leased or sold. Through this campaign, as a Member of Meals on Wheels America, Spectrum Generations will receive a share of the revenue earned in Maine. By purchasing or leasing a new Subaru during the Event and selecting Meals on Wheels America as your charity of choice, you can help deliver nutritious meals and other vital services to seniors’ right here in central or mid-coast Maine! Learn more at mealsonwheelsamerica.org/sharethelove
Not in the market for a new car but still want to help Share the Love?
The Cohen Community Center in Hallowell and the Muskie Community Center in Waterville have enlisted the help of several of Santa’s elves to create “Bags of Love” for our local Meals on Wheels consumers. The bags include items such as mittens, scarves, placemats, ornaments, lap quilts and candy canes, most items made by local organizations and groups that want to “share the love” and show that our homebound friends are thought and cared for. Special thanks to the Back Road
Quilters for the 230 + quilted place mats, Cohen’s own knitting and quilting group for the scarves, mittens, lap quilts, etc., local schools such as Manchester, Winthrop, Hallowell and Pittston Elementary for creating hand-made ornaments and for many Cohen volunteers that created bags to place the items in and to those that set up and donated items for our December Craft Fair in support of our Meals on Wheels program.
FMI about how you can help Share the Love with local seniors, call Angela in the Waterville Area at 660-9263 or Lynda in the Hallowell area at 620-1187.
September is National Falls Prevention Month
Most people are aware of the health risks associated with heart disease, stroke, and cancer. But often overlooked is another type of serious health risk especially affecting older adults—the risk of injury due to falling.
Falls can lead to injuries, such as bruising, bone fractures, and concussions. Any one of these injuries could require hospitalization, in-home nursing care, or other assisted living arrangements.
Many falls can be avoided. When we are out in public, we instinctively keep watch for uneven or slick surfaces that could catch our loved ones off guard. But the risk of falling can be even higher at home because it is easier to take for granted more familiar spaces. This means it is especially important to make our homes as safe as possible, and here are a few suggestions you may be able to implement in your home:
- Remove tripping hazards: Make all floor surfaces as even as possible: cover wooden door thresholds with aluminum; use a hammer to pound flat any metal that is sticking up. Make sure to remove clutter from the floors, especially before going to bed. Outside, patch or re-pour any cracked cement surfaces and don’t forget to put away the garden hose after watering plants.
- Increase lighting: Recessed lighting and track lighting are easy to install and fairly inexpensive. Nightlights in hallways and bathrooms are an even more affordable alternative to installing permanent lighting. Motion sensors are a great option if you’re worried about keeping energy costs down.
- Make stairs safe: If possible, make sure each step in your home is a uniform height. Check for any loose boards or missing screws and replace them as needed. Install lighting and slip-resistant tread, especially on outside steps. Never place objects like shoes or toys on stairs.
- Install grab bars in key areas: When it comes to falling risks, one of the most hazardous areas in the home is the bathroom. Along with making sure any spills are mopped up ASAP, it is smart to install grab bars in strategic areas, for example, in the shower or tub and near the toilet.
In addition to making structural improvements around the home, regular physical activity and exercise combining weight training, muscle strengthening, and balance improvement will help reduce the risk of falls for older adults. Take a look at what Spectrum Generations Health & Wellness offerings are, and take a Falls Prevention class.
Recently, at the National Adult Protective Services Association conference, ACL released the first consistently, systematically, and nationally collected data on the abuse of older adults and adults with disabilities.
This report is the first of a series based on data from the first year of the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS). NAMRS is a voluntary data reporting system collecting data from state and local Adult Protective Services systems.
Fifty-four of 56 states and territories contributed data to NAMRS in its first year. This high level of voluntary participation reflects the value that leaders in the field of adult maltreatment see in this data.
While NAMRS is still in its infancy, the information it will provide in the years to come will directly inform prevention and intervention practices at all levels of the adult maltreatment field. It will provide a better understanding of the characteristics of those experiencing, and perpetrating, abuse and identify system gaps for responding to maltreatment and preventing repeat maltreatment. As states and territories will continue to improve information systems, add data elements, train staff on new data collection methods, and report additional data, NAMRS data will become an extremely valuable tool.
Data collected by NAMRS includes APS staff and case-load, response and response time, intake and investigation practices, maltreatment type, victim characteristics, and perpetrator characteristics. For example, 44 states and territories reported opening investigations for over 877,000 clients.
Many in the adult maltreatment field, including the federal Elder Justice Coordinating Council, have recognized the need for national data on adult maltreatment. After the passage and funding of the Elder Justice Act, ACL awarded the first-ever federal grants to enhance Adult Protective Services. These grants were used by many states to build data systems and align them with NAMRS.
Spectrum Generations clients who receive services – particularly Meals on Wheels and participate in the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program – will not experience any delay or disruption in receiving those services. All Spectrum Generations locations will continue operating under normal business hours.
Meals on Wheels is funded primarily through the federal government, with additional assistance provided by generous individual donors, municipalities where we provide services, and through four United Way organizations (Kennebec Valley, Mid Coast Maine, Mid Maine, and Eastern Maine). We also have partnerships with businesses and local farms who supply food to make the meals.
Additional funding is provided through the State of Maine, however we have planned for this situation and are positioned to continue providing all services throughout a long-term state government shutdown, should that be the case.
All USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program recipients will also be able to continue picking up their 30-lb. free food packs at their usual pickup station. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program is offered through the USDA who distributes both food and administrative funds through participating states.
If you have any concerns or questions, please call us at 1-800-639-1553 or TTY 1-800-464-8703.
Spectrum Generations is offering a free training opportunity for those who are interested in becoming a coach for A Matter of Balance. The training will be held June 1-2, from
1:00—5:00 p.m. at People Plus, 35 Union Street, Brunswick.
A Matter of Balance is a nationally recognized program designed to encourage physical activity and reduce the fear of falling. Workshops are typically conducted in eight sessions over for weeks, meeting twice a week for two hours each, and led by experienced volunteer coaches, who can now be trained for free by Spectrum Generations.
A Matter of Balance coaches have good communication and interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, dependability, and a willingness to lead small groups of older adults. Coaches also need to be able to lead the low to moderate level exercises, facilitate group discussions and engage in problem-solving strategy sessions.
The eight-hour training for coaches is free and materials are provided. For more information or to register for the training, contact Lyn Neiz at 930-8082 or [email protected]
Spectrum Generations' COO, Kristin Overton to Senator Brakey, Representative Hymanson, the members of the Joint Committee on Health & Human Services, and Deputy Commissioner Porteus regarding proposed cuts to Targeted Case Management. .
Hello Senator Brakey, Representative Hymanson, and members of the Joint Committee on Health & Human Services and Deputy Commissioner Porteous,
Spectrum Generations attended the presentation by Burns & Associates Tuesday regarding the proposed rates on a number of services, including Targeted Case Management in Section 13. On several occasions we heard the committee ask for a recommendation regarding how to balance the cuts versus the increases without causing harm to current services; enabling capacity to remain in the community and quality TCM services available to consumers. I'd like to propose a solution, taking into account the 10% stop-loss which was recommended by the Department.
Solution: DHHS stated in their testimony that they would be reviewing rates annually; adjusting them as necessary so that the current unbalance is not experienced again. Our suggestion is not to cut the current TCM rate but have a rate freeze placed on it for the next 4 years.
Justification: The average rate of inflation is approximately 2%-3% per annum; freezing the rate at $21.52 for 4 years (through the end of 2022) would allow inflation to serve as the balancing mechanism, not a rate cut. The rate would slowly come into balance with the new model by the end of freeze period. After 2022, the model's suggested annual or bi-annual calculation would then apply to TCM as well. This compromise solves the concern that a rate cut would negatively impact services, threatening the ability for current providers to maintain the level of quality services to those individuals who need it most, including those who are being released from the State. It should also meet the DHHS needs to get all service rates in balance.
I believe this would be a strong compromise which would promote a consistent rate model while bringing the rate into alignment with the model in a manner which would promote continued availability of services for consumers receiving TCM services.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this proposal. As always, I am available for further discussion of questions at your convenience.
Today, April 21, our Nutrition Director Karen Wiswell testified before the Health and Human Services Committee. Below is her statement in full, asking for support of LD 692, increasing funding to Meals on Wheels throughout Maine.
Dear Senator Brakey and Representative Hymanson and other members of the Committee on Health and Human Services, my name is Karen Wiswell and I am the Director of Nutrition and Community Center Operations for Spectrum Generations, the Central Maine Area Agency on Aging. I am providing my testimony in support of LD 692, Resolve, To Provide Meals to Homebound Individuals.
For over 44 years, Spectrum Generations has provided Nutrition services such as Meals on Wheels and congregate dining. All meals are made fresh in our 2 commercial kitchens and delivered by volunteers. Our We Sustain Maine program, incorporates up to 32% Maine produced foods into the meals; all of which provide 1/3 of the Recommended Dietary Allowances in each meal. We utilized 410 volunteers who donated 27,703 hours in 2016 to serve and pack meals, to deliver to the local Spectrum Generations community center, and to pick up thermal bags containing all the meals for an entire route. Our programs run very lean and efficiently. Every Area Agency on Aging makes a strong effort to have the recipient pay for a portion of their meal. At Spectrum Generations, it is a recommended donation of $4.00 however our average donation amount is $0.46 per meal.
The meals we deliver to our consumers are a life line – a meal, a check-in, and a friendly visit. We’ve passed you personal notes written on plates from people on our program and in the communities you may represent, in order to show the impact that these meals make to our consumers. 10 years ago, Spectrum Generations delivered 184,394 meals. Since then, the need has continued to rise; by 40,099 meals to be exact. In 2016, 1,665 individuals received at total of 224,493 home delivered meals.
In those 10 years, state and federal funds for Meals on Wheels have remained fairly flat. The annual budget for Spectrum Generations Meals on Wheels program totaled $1.1 million in 2016. Of this, 32.6% was raised individually by Spectrum Generations and its supporters; a total of $362,243.
In order to deliver more meals to meet the surging need, all five of Maine’s Area Agencies on Aging have engaged in more and more fundraising opportunities. In 2016, the sum total was $1,060,263. These efforts include United Way campaigns, municipal funding requests, partnerships with for-profit businesses such as Darling’s Auto Group or Evergreen Subaru, large private fundraising events such as the Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees and the Celebrity Chef Dinner, and small events such as baked bean cook-off’s, bake sales, bottle drives, and awareness walks.
There is currently a waitlist for recipients of Meals on Wheels in more than half the state. In order to provide the necessary meals for this vulnerable population, I urge you to pass LD 692.
Thank you for your time,
Spectrum Generations’ Legacy Corps Program, which caters to the caregiving needs of veterans and their families, recently received two national awards. Bestowed by the University of Maryland, the awards are a direct reflection of the efforts made to grow the program and enhance people’s lives through the support it offers.
The Eisenhower Award was presented to Spectrum Generations as a symbol of our leadership in modeling how to retain members. The Startup Award was presented in recognition of demonstrated growth of the program through both volunteers and families seeking services, year over year. The two awards were out of only four presented, nationwide.
Legacy Corps is a national AmeriCorps project that operates in 9 states at 16 project sites. At Spectrum Generations, the Legacy Corps program provides companionship respite care for veteran and military families and their caregivers, throughout central and midcoast Maine. The volunteers are trained and carefully matched with each client they work with to help support the specific needs veterans and military families often face, as well as decrease feelings of burden and stress for caregivers when caring for a loved one.
Veterans of any age, and their families members are welcome to contact Spectrum Generations' Tricia Payson at 620-1670 for more information on how to begin services. Volunteers for the program are also needed and invited to contact Betty LaBua at 620-1662 for more information on upcoming training opportunities.
More information can be seen at spectrumgenerations.org/legacycorps
Spectrum Generations is participating in the 15th Annual March for Meals – a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meal on Wheels and the homebound and vulnerable seniors who rely on its vital safety net. This year’s Community Champion week will be celebrated at Spectrum Generations Community Centers during the week of March 20. During this time local celebrities and state officials will be invited to deliver and serve meals, attend our luncheons at Centers and to raise awareness of hunger for our homebound seniors and disabled.
“The Meals on Wheels program is more than just a meal! It addresses three of the biggest threats of aging: isolation, hunger and the loss of independence,” said the Meals on Wheels of America spokesperson.
”The services that we provide the seniors of Central Maine are critical and the need is rapidly increasing,” said Karen Wiswell, Director of Nutrition. “Together, we can keep seniors living independently, healthier at home and feeling more connected to their community as they age.”
Please join us at one of Spectrum Generations six community centers located in Waterville, Skowhegan, Hallowell, Belfast, Damariscotta and Brunswick to celebrate March for Meals.
Since 2002, Meals on Wheels America has led the annual awareness campaign in an effort to fill the gap between the seniors served and those in need that is widening due to increased demand with a rapidly aging population combined with declining public and private resources, and rising food, transportation and operational costs. This March, hundreds of local Meals on Wheels programs, like Spectrum Generations will reach out to our communities to build the support to deliver nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to America's seniors all year long.
For more information on how you can volunteer, contribute or speak out for the seniors in Central Maine and contact your local nutrition coordinator.
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
The theme for 2017 is "Put Your Best Fork Forward", which acts as a reminder that each bite counts. Making just small shifts in our food choices, can add up over time. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest starting with small changes in order to make healthier lasting changes you can enjoy. Next year's theme for National Nutrition Month® inspires us to start with small changes in our eating habits – one forkful at a time. So whether you are planning meals to prepare at home or making selections when eating out, Put Your Best Fork Forward to help find your healthy eating style.
The consumer market overflows with publications on nutrition, fitness and health. The publications listed here represent resources covering a broad range of nutrition and health topics and provide reliable, timely nutrition information for personal, school, library and community use. Most are available at local libraries and bookstores.
Learn how to attract pollinators to your garden
Spectrum Generations’ Coastal Community Center at 521 Main Street, Damariscotta, will be hosting a companion planting workshop led by master gardener Jean Vose on Thursday, March 9, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Program participants will learn how to plant different crops in proximity for pest control, pollination, creating a beneficial habitat, and improved garden productivity. They will also be given a list of new plant combinations to investigate and other related informational handouts.
Suggested donation is $5. For more information or to register, contact the Coastal Community Center at 207.563.1363.
Jean Vose is a master gardener from the Knox and Lincoln Counties Extension Association, with over 30 years of gardening experience who will lead the workshop and share information about her favorite companion plants for home-scale vegetable production as well as recommendations from the books Companion Planting for the Kitchen Gardener and Rodale’s Successful Organic Gardening® Companion Planting.
Meals on Wheels America today released Hunger in Older Adults – a report seeking to increase the understanding of a variety of food assistance programs that can work in combination to more effectively address the needs of the more than 10 million older Americans facing hunger each year. The need for this resource became apparent amidst a pilot project funded by AARP Foundation and Caesars Foundation that sought to use tablet technology as a means to increase enrollment of eligible individuals in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In doing this work, the need for additional information about the full range of federal food assistance programs emerged.
“Hunger in Older Adults is intended to help expand access by eligible homebound older adults to available food assistance programs,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “What we quickly uncovered was that there is limited guidance available for those seeking to assist both homebound and ambulatory older adults in accessing needed food assistance.”
While national, state and local assistance programs often operate independently, are administered by different agencies and/or lack both public and private funding, using these programs in a coordinated way can more effectively address the myriad of health, environmental, physical and economic barriers to food security that many older adults face. Through best practices and actionable strategies, this report seeks to engage Aging Network leaders and advocates as partners to increase use of food assistance programs by older adults as this vulnerable population is set to double by 2050.
For the first time in one place, the Hunger in Older Adults report:
- Examines national programs that address these issues, silos in these systems, and potential strategies;
- Synthesizes publicly available research and information from government, organizations, academic studies, aging services reports and technical assistance materials;
- Examines the multiple ways that State Units on Aging (SUAs) tackle food insecurity to better address senior hunger issues within their state;
- Illuminates some of the challenges and opportunities for the community-based nutrition services network in serving older adults; and
- Recommends actions for leaders and advocates to better communicate, coordinate or collaborate, and develop the most effective interventions.
“It is our hope that this report will help the aging services network strengthen their ability to serve vulnerable older adults in communities across the country,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of AARP Foundation.
"The Caesars Foundation is proud to support Meals on Wheels and the AARP Foundation in its work to address hunger among older adults," said Executive Director Thom Reilly. "Initiatives such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, are critical to our ability to help people meet their basic needs."
Click here to view the full report.
The Central Lincoln County (CLC) YMCA and Spectrum Generations Coastal Community Center (Damariscotta) today announced they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to form a community partnership effective mid-March, 2017.
Pending final business plan approval by the Spectrum Generations Board, their Coastal Community Center envisions relocating to the new CLC YMCA building in early 2018, where it will continue to support its mission to promote lifelong learning, health, wellness, nutrition, community engagement and the social well-being of all older and disabled adults.
Meagan Hamblett, CEO of CLC YMCA, said, “We’re excited about this collaborative opportunity with Spectrum, which could not have been made possible without the upcoming renovation and new construction of our YMCA facility. Timing is everything because now our architect can make office space adjustments to the facility design to accommodate Spectrum staff. Both organizations are committed to working together for the greater good, making a positive and healthier impact on our community.”
Spectrum Generations has been serving central and midcoast Maine’s older adults since 1972 and is a fixture in Lincoln County, providing services to 2200 people, including more than 15,000 Meals on Wheels in the most recent fiscal year. Spectrum Generations also provides caregiver support, education, and respite, Medicare counseling, and offers classes, workshops, social clubs, and weekly lunch-and-learn dining opportunities featuring local speakers focusing on a variety of topics. Their annual Aging in the Right Place Symposium continues to be a source for many in Lincoln County who are retired, nearing retirement, or looking for resources to support an elderly parent or loved one.
Gerard Queally, CEO of Spectrum Generations said, “We always look to collaborate with organizations and individuals and partnering with CLC YMCA makes sense. As with many community based non-profits, we strive to serve the needs of our neighbors and our ability to do that comes from these strong partnerships. Joining forces with the CLC YMCA allows us to share space and resources, opening up many avenues for us to increase the number of seniors we can serve while enhancing programs and service offerings. This is a big win for improving the health culture of our seniors in mid-coast Maine.”
Dennis Anderson, Board Chair, CLC YMCA, added, “Bringing Spectrum Generations on board opens new opportunities for this community, especially for our signature demographic seniors. At a time when social isolation and all its negative side effects are reaching epidemic levels, a partnership like this offers so many new prospects to help overcome these health and quality of life challenges in Lincoln County. We look forward to building upon the incredible work spectrum generations is already doing in our communities."
Spectrum Generations and the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) have recently been awarded $636,500 and $478,779 respectively, from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to build a sustainable network of evidence based health and wellness programs dedicated to older adults and disabled persons. The agencies received two of only 16 grants awarded throughout the country for these initiatives by the US HHS Administration for Community Living.
Gerard Queally, CEO of Spectrum Generations said, “The awarding of these two grants present an enormous opportunity for Maine to develop a sustainable, statewide Evidence Based Health and Wellness network. It speaks to the confidence the Administration on Community Living has in the Area Agencies on Aging in our state and to the collaborative nature in which both grant applications were written. All of Maine’s health systems and many other community-based organizations, like Somerset Public Health, fully supported the application and their older patients and members will now have an increased opportunity to attend classes in or close to the communities in which they live. This is a big win for improving the health culture of Maine.”
Spectrum Generations will focus its program on chronic disease self-management and education, chronic pain self-management, and diabetes self-management, while expanding the delivery infrastructure and geographic reach of educational offerings. Citing CDC statistics that 86% of healthcare costs are attributed to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, anticipated outcomes include increased participant confidence and self-efficacy, decreased emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and incorporation of healthy eating and exercise into daily routines.
The Southern Maine Agency on Aging will use the grant to develop an evidence-based falls prevention program network across the State of Maine. Statewide AAA’s will develop more systematic outreach strategies, build relationships with health providers including MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization, and ultimately embed and sustain falls prevention programs within regional healthcare systems.
Laurence W. Gross, SMAA’s Executive Director stated, “This grant will significantly increase the number of older adults across Maine who are referred to and participate in evidence-based falls prevention programs. SMAA has a strong history of partnership with ACL. In 2014, we were awarded a three-year, $954,457 grant, – The Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative: Specialized Support Services – to improve services for adults living with dementia. We are thrilled for this next opportunity to continue partnering with ACL as we now work to reduce the risk of falls for older Mainers.”
Spectrum Generations and the Southern Maine Agency on Aging expect that by collaborating with other Maine Agencies on Aging, as well as with health systems, state health departments and other community-based health organizations, that the quality of life for older adults and those disabled persons living in Maine will improve. By focusing on improving balance issues and chronic disease and pain management, the ideal outcomes will be increased capacity of targeted population to live healthier lives while maintaining their ability to age in place. In addition, results will show the efficacy of these programs and help determine the structure of future services within the healthcare arena.