RANGELEY — In late winter of this year, a focus group comprised of residents representing Rangeley and the surrounding plantations met at The Church of the Good Shepherd. The meeting was convened and facilitated by Jim Baumer of Seniors Plus. Baumer is serving as project consultant for a Thriving in Place planning grant awarded by Maine Health Access Foundation. The purpose of the grant is to identify and target issues related to seniors in the region, as well as to assist elders who wish to “age in place.”

Focus group attendees were energetic and brought forth a number of issues specific to seniors in the Rangeley area. As a result, an ad hoc team has been meeting twice a month since the beginning of April.

In addition, Rangeley Health and Wellness conducted a Community Visioning night in April. This important convergence was attended by several members of the Rangeley Thriving in Place team. There were several issues identified that night, indicating areas of need concerning seniors that team members thought they could adopt as part of a larger project focused on seniors.

The team has adopted the name of “Helping Elders Live in Place,” with the acronym, HELP. Efforts have been undertaken to focus on specific issues and craft a mission for the group moving forward.

HELP sees its role in the Rangeley region as one of identifying and advocating for the needs of seniors. Additionally, the group recognizes the importance of creating a dialogue about aging, one that empowers, maintains quality of life, cultivates community support, and allows elder residents to remain active in the community and live in their homes.

Group meetings are held in Rangeley every other Thursday, at 1 p.m., at Rangeley Family Medicine. The next meeting will be held on August 7.

For additional information, email jbaumer@seniorsplus.org, or call 207-864-5383.

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