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Nellie's Story

“Nellie” worked hard her whole live, and even put money aside for retirement. Now, like so many older Mainers, she struggles, living on a fixed income with growing health concerns and a dwindling support system.

More than 18,000 Mainers turn 65 each year – a trend that is exposing Maine’s inadequate transportation, housing, caregiver, and healthcare systems. I wanted to share Nellie’s story which demonstrates the many ways that the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) helps Maine’s aging population as their needs grow in magnitude and complexity.

Nellie is in her 90’s and lives in a small, coastal Maine town. At one time, she knew all of her neighbors, but now these homes are seasonal, have been passed down to children and grandchildren, and her sense of community has faded.

Nellie stopped driving due to macular degeneration. Despite a lack of sidewalks, and a history of falls, she walked into town – up to a mile each way. When Nellie first came to SMAA, a Resource Specialist connected her to volunteer ride services in her community, and enrolled her in Matter of Balance – a course to improve balance and reduce her risk of falls. The ride services also helped her keep appointments with her doctors, which she was canceling due to lack of transportation.

When we met Nellie she was contemplating selling her home out of concern that her health might further decline. Staff helped Nellie identify several options that addressed her needs and preferences, and helped her with the application process.

As part of a routine benefits screening, we found Nellie’s Medicare drug plan had not been reviewed in several years. Staff scheduled a meeting for her during open enrollment where they updated her coverage based on changing health and
economic needs.

Nellie’s is not a unique story. SMAA Resource Specialists assist roughly 100 cases just like this each day. As the needs of older adults become more complex, SMAA relies on the generosity of friends like you to provide critical services for our Maine seniors.

Another fiscal year is coming to a close, and people like Nellie need you. I am asking you to renew your support for SMAA’s programs by making a donation to the Annual Fund before October 1st.

I promise you – your gift, of any size, will make a difference and help improve the quality of life for an older adult in your community.

Sincerely,

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Laurence W. Gross
Chief Executive Officer