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]
Monday, October 15, through Thursday, December 7, is the annual open enrollment period for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans. This is a time when you can compare plans for the upcoming 2019 calendar year and make a change if you find a plan with better coverage, higher quality, or a lower cost. If you do nothing, you will remain in your current plan for the year 2019.
State Health Insurance Assistance programs are free, confidential, and available to older people and people who have Medicare because of a disability. Our counselors provide information and answer client questions about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, MaineCare, Medigap, and other programs and benefits that supplement Medicare.
Some specific information provided through SHIP counselors also includes:
- Preventative health benefits paid by Medicare
- Comparison information about Medicare supplemental policies and Advantage plans to help you make a choice
- How to avoid costly penalties
If you need help with this process, please call Spectrum Generations for an appointment with one of our certified Senior Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) counselors, at 1-800-639-1553. Appointments fill up quickly, so call soon to find the SHIP counselor nearest to you. You can also compare plans and make changes yourself by using the Plan Finder tool on medicare.gov or by calling Medicare at (800) 633-4227.
On Saturday, September 8, three Maine chefs gathered to compete in Spectrum Generations’ 6th Annual Celebrity Chef Challenge, an annual fundraiser where they create an entrée following Meals on Wheels guidelines.
Michelle Lizotte, Executive Chef at Rusty Lantern Markets, Steve Dumas from Otto’s on the River and Aunt Gin’s, and Tim Lewis, Executive Chef at Parker Ridge, were this year’s competitors.
For the first time, the event was held at Spectrum Generations’ Cohen Community Center in Hallowell. Of the location change, President and CEO, Gerry Queally said, “We were able to invite guests into our home, and showcase all that we have to offer. The support we received from local businesses, friends, and neighbors, is a true testament to the communities we serve.”
Each competing chef was challenged to create a winning dish using provided ingredients: boneless chicken thigh, squash medley, onions, and peppers. All of the produce was donated from local sources: Merrymeeting Gleaners, Field of Greens farm in Albion, and Emery Farm in Wayne. The chefs were then required to follow Meals on Wheels guidelines, but could use their own spices, techniques, and flair.
Michelle Lizotte was named the People’s Choice Award winner, and the dish created by Steve Dumas, was named the Judges’ Choice.
Judges this year were Chris Ellis, Editor-in-Chief of Edible Maine Magazine, Chris Toole, Executive Chef at The Highlands and two-time Challenge winner, and John McGough, HHS Region One Director.
Funding will help support Sagadahoc seniors and keep them together with their companion animals
Brunswick, Maine – Spectrum Generations is proud to announce that it has recently received a $2500 grant from Meals on Wheels America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and funding. This funding is supported by a donation from the former Banfield Charitable Trust.
The funds will be used to support Spectrum Generations’ Animeals program in Sagadahoc County, Brunswick, and Harpswell, currently assisting 20 consumers with companion animals. The funding will also allow for the program to expand and meet consumer demand.
Spectrum Generations’ nutrition coordinator for the area, Casey Henson said, “This support will help ensure we are able to provide pet food to the consumers who already receive Meals on Wheels. We know the impact companion pets have for their owners – providing socialization and comfort, and it’s important that the people we serve continue to eat the nutritious food we give them and not share that with their pets. Providing appropriate pet food allows them to keep their beloved animals and both consumer and animal remain safe at home.”
Ellie Hollander, President & CEO for Meals on Wheels America said in a written statement, “While pets are invaluable companions to homebound seniors, positively impacting their health and well-being, they can also be a challenge to care for alone. The Meals on Wheels Loves Pets program enables organizations like Spectrum Generations to provide pet food and other necessary services to ease some of that burden and make it possible for local seniors and their beloved pets to stay together.”
In addition to wet and dry pet food, the funds will help purchase a commercial storage rack system and sturdy storage and delivery bags to ensure safe transport of the food.
About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
Also known as, ''An Act To Establish Universal Home Care for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities,'' Question One is a referendum that will be put to Maine voters in November of 2018.
This referendum claims to pay for "in-home and community support services to individuals and families" for individuals with no means test to qualify. In reality, it would create yet another wait list for services for our elderly and our people with disabilities.
- This initiated bill establishes the Universal Home Care Program to provide in-home and community support services for all people with disabilities living in Maine who require assistance with an activity of daily living and people 65 years of age or older who are living in Maine and who require assistance with an activity of daily living, without regard to income, to be funded by a new tax of 3.8% on income and wages that exceed the maximum wages subject to social security employment taxes. (See complete bill)
- LD 1864 did not receive enough votes in both chambers of the Legislature to pass
- However, a citizen’s initiative, backed by the Maine People’s Alliance and receiving a $350,000 boost from billionaire philanthropist George Soros, did receive enough citizen signatures to be put on the ballot in November as a referendum.
At Spectrum Generations, we know that Maine has the oldest population in the nation. As our loved ones age, many find it difficult to live independently at home without the support of in-home care.
- Money alone is not the issue. We need to address the shortage of home care workers – both professional clinicians and direct care workers – by creating more and better pathways to a career in long term care. We recognize from firsthand experience that there is a current shortage of direct care workers to provide in-home care to our growing elder population
- We share the concern that some older adults who are not eligible for MaineCare are forced to spend down their life savings to qualify for home-based care, or are placed into nursing facilities, often far away from families
- We have advocated tirelessly - and successfully - to support investments in our direct care workers. Over the past five years, we have secured an additional $12 million in reimbursement rates to attract and retain them
- We have advocated for better access to broadband to support the provision of telehealth and telemedicine services that older adults and others increasingly depend upon, especially in rural Maine
- We continually address food insecurity and housing shortages that also challenge Maine seniors
This Citizen’s Initiative Proposal does not appropriately address the important issues facing Home Based Care. Instead, it creates more problems. Spectrum Generations opposes this referendum for the following reasons:
- Unconstitutional Delegation of Power: The referendum, if passed, will result in nine privately elected persons from within the home health care industry controlling a $310 million project with no one being accountable to the citizens. The initiative proposes that collected tax money be placed in the hands of a private organization, with oversight by private citizens/organizations. This private organization would have autonomy to disperse funds at their discretion;
- Forced Unionization: All providers that wish to provide services to consumers under the Universal Home Care initiative must be unionized;
- This private group will have the power to create an additional bureaucracy to administer a program separate from MaineCare. This will result in unnecessary administrative costs and poorer services for Maine seniors;
- Privacy: All consumers' private medical information can and will be disseminated to private organizations for review with no oversight as to how that information will used or further disseminated. Our patients’ personal medical records and contact information would be distributed to multiple private groups with no repercussions if that information is misused;
- We believe working through the Legislative process will yield the best results for our patients, rather than changing policy and establishing new taxes through the referendum process;
For more information visit stopthescammaine.com.
Healthy Living for ME receives $840,000 in federal funding
3-year grant award supports the expansion and sustainability of statewide network of workshops addressing chronic health issues
Statewide (Maine) – Healthy Living for ME – a partnership between three Area Agencies on Aging: Spectrum Generations, Seniors Plus, and Aroostook Agency on Aging – has recently been awarded an $840,000, 3-year grant from the Administration on Community Living (ACL).
Healthy Living for ME currently provides a single-point of entry to a statewide network of workshops that empower adults to address and better manage their health issues. Workshops offered focus on improving balance and preventing falls and helping adults manage chronic conditions – including high blood pressure, chronic pain, heart disease, COPD, arthritis, and diabetes.
Healthy Living for ME will utilize these new grant funds over the next three years in developing, expanding, and coordinating the centralized hub for evidence-based chronic disease self-management programs including Living Well with Chronic Pain and Living Well with Diabetes. The funding of this project will also allow for the pursuit of Medicare reimbursement, for both programs, ultimately resulting in complete sustainability without additional grant support.
Lead organization Spectrum Generations’ President & CEO, Gerard Queally said, “We know that Healthy Living for ME works for Mainers; we’ve seen increased health outcomes in the two years since our last ACL grant. Having a statewide network of providers, community partners, and health systems only furthers that benefit and now presents a fortuitous opportunity for healthcare providers in Maine to work closely with community-based organizations to execute the Triple Aim. Healthy Living for ME workshops improve a person’s experience of care, the overall health of population, and reducing the per capita cost of health care, and provides lasting results.”
For more information on Healthy Living for ME services available in your area, visit www.healthylivingforme.org or call 1-800-620-6036 for more information about becoming a referral partner or host site.
About Healthy Living for ME
Healthy Living for ME brings together Spectrum Generations, Seniors Plus, and Aroostook Agency on Aging – three of Maine’s Area Agencies on Aging – in a partnership to deliver statewide chronic disease self-management and falls prevention classes. FMI or to find a class, visit: healthylivingforme.org
Maine – Spectrum Generations recently completed an accessibility and mobility project, through the generous support of a $98,000 grant from the Next Generation Foundation. The funds were used to purchase two vans for the Bridges Home Services Adult Day program and touchpad door systems at two community centers in Hallowell and Belfast.
Spectrum Generations’ President & CEO, Gerard Queally said, “This support has enabled us to make significant strides in ensuring access to our facilities by persons with limited mobility, and greatly enhanced the opportunity to bring our Adult Day participants out into their communities. It has been a thrilling project to be involved with and our clients are thrilled as well!”
Spectrum Generations purchased two vans with the funds, both offering wheelchair lift service, and modified seating arrangements so that a number of participants from the Adult Day program with varying spatial requirements can join in community outings. The vans will serve all four of the Adult Day programs offered through Bridges Home Services (a division of Spectrum Generations) at locations in Belfast, Hallowell, Skowhegan, and Waterville. They have also already been used to shuttle attendees to the Healthy Living Expo at Spectrum Generations’ Cohen Community Center to avoid crossing a busy road on foot.
The funding also allowed for the installation and wiring of touchpad door systems at Spectrum Generations’ Cohen Community Center in Hallowell and Waldo Community Center in Belfast.
Consumers and caregivers of the programs and visitors to centers are already echoing the praise of new additions. One Adult Day participant said, "I'm excited to have the new vans, being involved in the community is really important to me."
A representative for the Next Generation Foundation commented that, “funding these improvements fit perfectly with our mission to serve Maine’s most vulnerable people. We’re pleased the improvements have worked out so well.”
For more information on Spectrum Generations services available in central and midcoast Maine, visit spectrumgenerations.org or call 1-800-639-1553. For information on Bridges Home Services Adult Day programs, visit bridgeshomeservices.org/services/adultdayservices.
Spectrum Generations Cohen Community Center will host this annual event
Hallowell, ME – On Friday, June 1, Spectrum Generations’ Cohen Community Center will host their annual Healthy Aging Expo, from 10:00 a.m. — 3:00 p.m.
A free event, the Healthy Aging Expo offers attendees an opportunity to meet with exhibitors (including major sponsors, Senscio Systems and Bridges Home Care), learn about different ways food can affect health, sample products, get healthy cooking tips, qualify for door prizes and get resources to meet personal goals. Be sure to stop by the Beltone booth for your free hearing test.
Lunch will be catered by Cohen on the Meadows and available for a cost of $6.50 (sandwich wraps, salads, and vegetarian options).
For more information call 626-7777. Spectrum Generations’ Cohen Community Center is located at 22 Town Farm Road in Hallowell.
Spectrum Generations is pleased to announce the addition of six new members to the organization’s Volunteer Board of Directors.
“We are pleased that so many community leaders have chosen to give of their time and talents to support the mission of Spectrum Generations,” said Gerry Queally, President and CEO of Spectrum Generations. “Our organization and the population we serve will no doubt benefit greatly from the involvement of our new board members.”
Spectrum Generations serves older and disabled adults in Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Somerset, and Waldo Counties. Among the programs they offer and/or administrate are Meals on Wheels, health and wellness activities, Community Based Health Care, and Community Case Management. Spectrum also organizes and hosts a number of classes and events throughout the year.
The new board members, all of whom began their service in 2018, are as follows:
Robert Bremm, Sagadahoc County Member since 2018
Bob graduated from SUNY Maritime College with a BEME. Upon graduation he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and became a Navy pilot. He has been a Director of Facilities at Central Maine Medical Center, Maine Medical Center and Bates College. In 2012 he started his own company, Orion Maine Inc. He provides owner project management services for large design/construction projects, specializing in healthcare and higher education.
Stephanie Duncan, At Large Member since 2018
Stephanie Duncan has been involved in the greater Kennebec area for many years and is very proud to be part of a community that she grew up in and has proudly raised her family in. Stephanie started her long journey in social services with a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta. Over the years she has been employed as activities coordinator, a substitute teacher, a direct support specialist, personal caretaker among other positions. She has been entrenched in the Gardiner School System, Uplift, and Spectrum Generations. She is very excited to be part of Spectrum Generations at the board level to learn more about the range of services and helping other families best support their children through these services. Stephanie has held positions that have allowed her the flexibility to be the main caregiver and best advocate for her son Gabe, a client at Spectrum Generations. She resides in Randolph with Gabe and loves hearing the adventures of her two adult children Ross and Mariah.
Thomas B. George, Jr., At Large Member since 2018
Tom George currently works as a Program Manager at Senscio Systems. He also works part-time as a Facilities Manager for ElderCare Network of Lincoln County. Prior to joining Senscio and ElderCare, Tom owned and operated his own business for over eight years. Tom brings his sense of entrepreneurship, extensive amount of experience in customer relations, and broad knowledge of technology, construction, and healthcare industries. Tom is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University where he studied Business Administration, Organizational Leadership, and IT. In addition, he holds a Human Resource Management Certificate and is a Certified Residential Medication Aide within the State of Maine. Tom lives in Coastal Maine with his wife and son. He loves spending time with his family and enjoys outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, fishing, and snowmobiling.
MaryAnne Kinney, Waldo County Member since 2018
Representative Kinney is serving her second term in the Maine House of Representatives serving District 99 which includes nine towns in Waldo County. A 1990 graduate of Edward Little High School, Representative Kinney currently works as a maple syrup producer on her farm in Knox and has held a wide variety of jobs in the past. She has worked as a truck driver, pharmacy technician and a credit analyst in the past. She is a member of the Maine Farm Bureau, MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association), NRA and the Maple Producers Association.
Brett Seekins, At Large Member since 2018
Brett Seekins has served the healthcare industry the past 24 years. He started his career working for CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as a Medicare Auditor and Reimbursement Administrator specializing in Medicare certified long term care providers. He continued his service the last 20 years working for a large northern New England CPA firm as a Senior Manager leading the long term care/senior living practice. Brett’s primary focus and expertise center on healthcare reform at the federal and state level, regulatory, compliance, legal, reimbursement, annual reporting, legislative and financial matters impacting the industry. He is a graduate of Franklin Pierce College awarded a B.S. in Accounting with honors. Brett also serves on other healthcare Boards and is a frequent presenter on related topical matters. Brett is an at-large-Maine Board member who resides in Cape Elizabeth with his wife and two children.
Nancy Weingarten, At Large Member since 2018
Nancy grew up in New York City and has lived in Maine since graduating from college in 1973. She has a Masters in Health Care Administration from St. Joseph’s College of Maine and spent her career working in various health care settings. Prior to retirement, Nancy worked for 27 years as the Administrative Director of the Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in Augusta and Waterville. She serves on several local boards and as a volunteer for Spectrum Generations as a SHIP Medicare counselor.
Donation to Spectrum Generations will feed 15 people
Through a generous donation from Mid Coast Hospital’s Johnson Health, Hope & Innovation Fund, Spectrum Generations has eliminated the Meals on Wheels waitlist for Sagadahoc County, Brunswick, and Harpswell.
Meals on Wheels is primarily a federally funded program that is offered throughout six counties by Spectrum Generations. While the organization hosts fundraisers and seeks individual donations throughout the year to offset costs above the federal, state, and municipal-directed funds, each year the need grows. Meals on Wheels are provided to older and disabled adults who are homebound and unable to prepare their own meals. The program’s more than 400 volunteers help produce, pack, and deliver meals, and also provide a safety check on recipients.
“This is a perfect example of how another community-minded organization can help the people living in our service area. The administration of Mid Coast Hospital has seen the importance of Meals on Wheels – that is, the impact proper nutrition can offer homebound individuals – and has stepped forward to support Meals on Wheels throughout Sagadahoc County for the remainder of our fiscal year,” said Spectrum Generations President and CEO, Gerard Queally.
“Good nutrition is essential for healing to take place. Decreased access to food supply may compromise or prolong the healing process, and many individuals rely on Meals on Wheels to provide adequate nutrition in order to restore health and remain safe in their homes,” said Lois Skillings, President and CEO of Mid Coast–Parkview Health. “We truly value our community partners who help us further our mission of caring for the health of our patients, and are grateful to our gracious donors who allow us to support these efforts.”
Mid Coast Hospital is a not-for-profit hospital governed by a community Board of Directors. Charitable donations to Mid Coast Hospital help to provide new technology and healthcare services, while supporting the health of the community. Donations to Mid Coast Hospital can be made at www.midcoasthealth/giving, or by calling (207) 373-6064.
Spectrum Generations is the Central Maine Area Agency on Aging, a 501c(3) whose mission is to help older and disabled adults live healthy, independent lives in their own homes and communities. You can support Meals on Wheels at www.spectrumgenerations.org/donate.
Our President & CEO, Gerard Queally, has recently had an Op-Ed published on the topic and we are asking for support from our Advocacy Network to reach out to members of the legislator in support of this bill.
LD 692 – a Resolution to Provide Meals to Homebound Individuals will provide ongoing funding to provide meals to additional homebound individuals and to be used to leverage all federal funds available.
At Spectrum Generations, we believe food is preventative medicine, and access to it provides for better quality health outcomes, reduced health care costs, and improved quality of life. A more sustainable and dependable solution is needed. LD 692 will add $500,000 annually to the State of Maine’s contribution to Meals on Wheels. This would result in more than 65,000 meals delivered to approximately 520 (or more) older and disabled homebound adults having access to healthy food each year.
Please contact your state representative or senator, and urge them to vote yes on LD 692 to help increase access to healthy food for older and disabled adults.
The Greater August AARP chapter 511 donated a check for $1,2000 to Cohen Center's Meals on Wheels program. The money was raised through donations, food sales, a plant sale and an auction.
(Left to right) AARP board member Johan Brown, Cohen Community Center’s Lynda Johnson and Diane Epperly, and Susan Hynson, Augusta AARP President.
Spectrum Generations will be offering free Medicare 101 workshops, twice a week.
In Belfast, workshops will be held on the fourth Monday of every month from 2—4:00 pm, at our 18 Merriam Road location.
In Camden, workshops will be held on the fourth Tuesday of every month from 2—4:00 pm, at our 87 Elm Street, location.
Choosing a Medicare drug and or health plan can be difficult and confusing. Medicare 101 will provide information regarding Medicare, Medicare drug coverage, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements and tips on how participants may save money and avoid penalties. Both Medicare 101 workshops will be led by Brooke Jansen, LSW; please call Brooke at 930-8081 to register.
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.