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Lewiston Senior Advisory Seeks to Join AARP Network

LEWISTON, ME (April 25, 2023) – Lewiston joining the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities is the current focus of the Lewiston Senior Advisory Committee. The Network supports municipal efforts for people of all ages to thrive as they live, work, play, and do business. 

Committee Chair Donna Gallant and Vice-Chair Julie Colangelo presented many of the Network benefits to the Lewiston City Council at its April 18, 2023, workshop. AARP, which recently make a presentation to the Senior Advisory Committee, is the nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. There is no fee to join the Network.   

The Age-Friendly Network is vast in nature and advocates for all ages to remain active and engaged within their community. According to AARP, “In age-friendly, lifelong communities, residents can thrive at all ages, remaining active and engaged and enjoying the best possible health and well-being.” 

An informal consensus of the City Council at the April 18 workshop was extremely positive with favorable comments shared by many councilors to include the City Council representative to the Committee, Councilor Rick LaChapelle, who praised the work that’s been done so far. A resolution supporting the Lewiston Senior Advisory Committee’s application to join the Network will be considered at the May 2, 2023, City Council meeting. 

Chair Gallant also shared a plea for community stakeholders to join them in the age-friendly effort, stating that the multi-faceted work will need more support than just the Lewiston Senior Advisory Committee. 

The Lewiston Senior Advisory Committee is particularly interested in the Network’s process to evaluate the needs of Lewiston’s seniors based on eight aspects of community life that are vital for health and well-being.  The eight areas are:

 Outdoor Spaces and Buildings; Housing; Transportation; Community Support and Health Services; Communication and Information; Social Participation; Respect and Social Inclusion; and Civic Participation and Employment. 

The Network also includes a process to review and evaluate how well seniors’ needs are being met in each of the eight areas.  Chair Gallant said that this is done through the development of an asset inventory and local demographic profile to include engaging with seniors and senior organizations about senior residents’ needs. Information acquired can then be used to review and evaluate how well Lewiston’s policies and programs address those needs and ways to address areas of continuing need.

 Chair Gallant stated that joining the Network will provide the Lewiston Senior Advisory Committee with access to technical assistance and guidance; networking with other member communities—over 80 of which are in Maine—access to potential AARP grant funding; and promotional assistance.

Committee Members who attended presentation (left to right): Julie Colangelo (Vice Chair); Donna Gallant (Chair); Marcia Baxter; Roger Fuller; Susan Charle; and Lewiston Recreation Director Nicole Welch.

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