The Exchange: Southern Maine Alliance for Older Adults

Quarterly Networking Event

The Exchange: Southern Maine Alliance for Older Adults is a networking event open to any non-profit, business, volunteer organization, community partner, or a member of the community working on behalf of the older adult population in York and Cumberland counties.

The Exchange is an opportunity for people to connect, collaborate, and share resources as we aim to improve the health and well-being of older adults in Maine.

Click on the arrow below to watch previous recordings of The Exchange

Key takeaways

The community conversation aimed to understand what lessons and key takeaways the CDC, organizations, and healthcare providers have from the past few years about getting older adults and adults with disabilities vaccinated in Maine. This conversation will be used to inform our strategy for getting more older folks and folks with disabilities across Maine current on their vaccinations. Here are the key takeaways from the conversation:

1. What works

  • Collaboration among community-based organizations, healthcare agencies, and governmental agencies has been key to Maine’s successful vaccination efforts thus far
  • Meet people where they are at
  • Bring the vaccines to where individuals and communities are
  • Make it simple and easy for people to access vaccinations
  • Offer different types of events that address the unique needs of different groups and communities
  • Provide printed materials about vaccinations and clinics in multiple languages
  • Clear and consistent messaging about vaccinations is critical to building trust
  • Host events and clinics in partnership with community leaders and providers who have established relationships with individuals already

2. Barriers to vaccination efforts

  • Transportation is a key barrier to individuals accessing vaccinations, so coordinating and providing rides and offering drive-through services is important
  • Online appointment registration and inaccessible websites are barriers, which makes supportive services critical to vaccination efforts
  • There is currently confusion about COVID boosters and if people are “up to date” - normalizing the COVID vaccine as part of overall wellness and providing clear and consistent messaging will be critical to building understanding and trust
  • More investigation is needed to understand the impact of the end of the Public Health Emergency on vaccine access for COVID-19

Share feedback, information, and resources at

The October 2022 included a presentation from Deqa Dhalac, the first Somali-American mayor, who discussed building cultural connections with diverse communities and learning to listen and ask questions when we do not know much about a culture. Her presentation was followed by an exciting Q&A about the immigrant communities in Maine. Deqa’s presentation was followed by two breakout rooms where attendees discussed topics on social isolation and loneliness, housing, transportation, local resources, and winter response to the needs of older adults. The video below is an opportunity for those who could not attend to hear Deqa Dhalac and the follow-up discussions.