Age-Friendly Sullivan

Please join Age-Friendly Sullivan on the first Wednesday of every month 9a-10am in the Town Office for project updates and guest speakers —  all are welcome!  Social opportunity begins at 8:30am prior to meeting.

Age-Friendly Sullivan vision:  “A compassionate community of neighbors supporting / welcoming young and aging residents to thrive in a diverse and sustainable Sullivan.” adopted August 1st, 2018

How is Sullivan Friendly for all Ages?

“Welcome to Sullivan Tote Bags” were created to introduce new residents to the Town of Sullivan, our government, our municipal committees, our non-profit agencies, our schools, and our businesses.  You will find Resource Guides, brochures and business cards in a canvas tote designed by the Sullivan- Sorrento Historical Society to benefit the playground.

Our Resource Guide provides local information on Community Support and Health Services, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation & Education, Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Civic Participation and Employment, Respect & Social Inclusion, Communication and Information.  Printed copies are available at the Town Office and Frenchman’s Bay Library.  You may download a copy here: https://sullivanmaine.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Sullivan-Age-Friendly-Guide-FINAL.pdf

Bone Builders meets at 10:15am Tuesdays & Thursdays at the Town Office.  Designed to prevent osteoporosis and enhance strength and balance, participants are strengthening their bodies through balance exercises and weight training, progressing at their own pace.  Residents report improvements to balance and health, as well as a joyful social experience.  They carpool and check on each other when someone misses a session.  Medical release and applications are available for new participants.  FMI:  Contact the Town Office.

In partnership with Sullivan Fire & Rescue, and funded by AARP Challenge Grant, we now have a new AED (automated electronic defibrillator) in the Town Office building, accessible by the RSU24 Adult & Community Education Center, as well as staff and visitors to the Town Office.

Annual Flu Clinic and/or Health Fair — in October 2023, we partnered with Eastern Area Agency on Aging and Northern Light Health to offer new Flu and Covid vaccinations to 106 adult residents and visitors.

Our Sullivan Community Garden and Hoop House located behind the Town Office began in 2019 with the goal to provide fresh organic produce, increase food security and create healthy outdoor activities.  Our garden now includes 20 raised beds, 8 are available for rental by local residents with the remainder generating produce for the community.  In the Town Office, a “Take it or Leave it” table provides residents the opportunity to help themselves as needed/desired.  Prolific gardens in Sullivan often bring in excess produce to share as well.   Fresh produce is included with our monthly home delivery of senior commodity food boxes.  Excess produce is donated to the Food Pantry at the Sorrento-Sullivan Recreation Center.   In 2022, RSU24 donated their used hoop house and tools, as their garden site was incorporated into the construction of the new middle-high school facility.  FMI:  Contact the Town Office.

Each month, volunteers pick up Commodity Senior Food Program boxes in partnership with Eastern Area Agency on Aging and deliver to homebound residents in Sullivan, Sorrento, Hancock & Franklin.  Fresh produce from our Community Garden is added to these deliveries during harvest months.  FMI:  https://www.eaaa.org/commodities-supplemental-food-program/

Our Walking Trail is a wonderful collaboration between Age-Friendly Sullivan, our Town and the Sorrento-Sullivan Recreation Center, designed for all ages, all mobilities, and conveniently located next to the playground.  If you would like company while getting some fresh air and exercise, the walking group meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at 1pm.  Currently, we are partnering with the Frenchman’s Bay Library to provide a new story each month along the path April – November.

Our Sand Bucket brigade delivers sand to residents who are challenged to sand their walkways and steps.  At the start of the season, 3-5 gallon pails are refilled/delivered to older residents and those with physical challenges, and refilled throughout the winter.  These volunteers often shovel steps, decks and/or walkways to help keep our neighbors safe during slippery conditions.  Contact the Town Office FMI.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector distribution:  In 2018, the Sullivan Volunteer Fire Department donated 35 Kidde 10-year lithium battery combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to Age-Friendly Sullivan for distribution to those in need. Subsequently, AFS purchased 30 additional combination detectors for distribution to Sullivan residents.  Batteries are good for 10 years, which reduces the need for replacement.  Contact the Town Office FMI.

Comfortably Home: In 2021, MDI/Ellsworth Housing Authority reached out to expand their Comfortably Home services to eligible Sullivan & Sorrento residents.  After a community presentation, Age-Friendly distributed informational flyers to residents, and advocated through our communication outlets for eligible homeowners to seek assistance in small renovations.   Contact the Town Office FMI.

Window Dressers:  In 2019, Age-Friendly Sullivan held a program on participating with the WindowDresser program.   WindowDressers is a volunteer-driving non-profit dedicated to helping northern New England residents reduce heating costs, fossil fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions by lowering the amount of heat loss through windows.  Rather than create a separate build project in Sullivan, we opted to participate with the Ellsworth project at St. Joseph’s Church.    Age-Friendly continues to advocate for all Sullivan residents to participate as volunteers and order window inserts for their homes.  FMI:  https://windowdressers.org/

Transportation — In 2018, we partnered with Friends in Action to recruit additional volunteers for their volunteer transportation program with the intent that Sullivan volunteers would drive Sullivan residents.   Friends in Action provides training to anyone interested in becoming a volunteer driver, completes background checks, provides liability insurance, with administrative oversight and software.  The additional benefit to this partnership, is that Friends in Action allows Sullivan to use their wheelchair van when necessary.  This partnership continues today with ongoing recruitment for new volunteer drivers.  FMI:  https://friendsinactionellsworth.org/

Friendly Caller Program:  This project was identified as our initial 100-day Challenge Project in 2018.  Designed to check in on neighbor safety, inform residents of upcoming events and opportunities.  Our volunteers continue to advocate for other organizations to reach out to isolated populations, including older adults, veterans, newly bereaved neighbors and new residents.

Sullivan Circle of Friends:   In January 2020, many participants in our Bone Builders program decided to form the “Sullivan Circle of Friends”, to generate good-will and reach out to engage more adults in activities.  Their idea was to send a birthday card to every adult in Sullivan.  Because of the pandemic, the birthday card was the perfect response to engage and recognize everyone in isolation.  Tremendous 2022 news coverage by the Ellsworth American and NewsCenter Maine & NBC, continue to generate nationwide donations of cards, stamps and money.  FMI:  Contact the Town Office.

Monthly Family Movie: Our Summer Movie in the Park now includes a partnership with Frenchman’s Bay Library and the Sorrento-Sullivan Recreation Center — a monthly showing of family friendly movies, with additional movies during school vacation weeks.

Every year, Sullivan observes Memorial Day at the gazebo, and celebrates the Holiday Tree lighting at the gazebo, with music, refreshments, and Santa on the first Sunday of December.  Age-Friendly provides refreshments, and coordinates these events in partnership with all of our community.

Our latest project, Demential Inclusion Downeast, is a partnership with Frenchman’s Bay Library, to provide resource materials on healthy brain activities, along with resources for individuals and their caregivers experiencing various forms of dementia.  We have set up a separate webpage (see tab in the menu above) and daily FaceBook page of the same name, providing books, activity ideas, research and information from collaborative partners around Maine and nationwide.

In addition to those projects, we have had a few one and done projects, such as creating a special edition of the Town Crier, with matching webpage informing all real estate tax payers of relief programs available in 2022; which we hope to update in 2023.  We served as the fiscal agent for volunteers creating the “We 💙 Sumner” yard signs, which are available at the Town Office, and solicited “Socks for Sullivan” for last year’s Angel Tree gifts.

 

Resources for staying safe at HOME

NEW:  Download your own copy or read online:  AARP Disaster Resilience Tool Kit

Sullivan Age Friendly Guide FINAL  Open to see our 2022 Updated Age-Friendly Resource Guide for Sullivan — we are excited to share this info!!!  

📙  Handbook  Maine Legal Services for the Elderly – Elder Rights Handbook

HomeFit Guide  Smart ways to make a home comfortable, safe and a great fit for older adults — and people of all ages.

AARP Here To Stay Toolkit  AARP Foundation presents this 80 page Toolkit “Here to Stay: Home Upkeep for All” on how to keep your home safe, affordable & healthy of a lifetime.

 
Age-Friendly Sullivan in the NEWS:

News and Updates

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Minutes and Meeting notes:

 

  • Sullivan Business 3.2.22. List of Sullivan Businesses & Businesses owned by Sullivan residents for Welcome to Sullivan totes
  • 2018 – 2022 Age-Friendly Sullivan minutes are available upon request

 

 

WHY Sullivan joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities?

Between 2000 and 2010, the US Census reports that Sullivan’s population increased by 4.3%, yet our population of residents 65 or older increased by 12.2%.  In those 10 years, our median age went from 38.4 years old to 44.7 years old, an increase of 6.3 years!  In 2010, our seniors comprised 14.1% of Sullivan’s population.  It is projected that seniors will be 25% of our community by the year 2025.  How can we keep them safely thriving at home?

The purpose of the AARP Age-Friendly Communities is to serve as a catalyst to educate, encourage, promote, and recognize improvements that will make Sullivan more supportive not only of our older residents, but for residents of all ages.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified eight domains as influencing the health and quality of life of older adults (see details below).

The 8 Domains of Creating a Livable Community for all ages

  1. Outdoor spaces and buildings:  Outdoor spaces, such as parks and buildings affect the independence and quality of life of residents of all ages, but especially older adults.  Some Maine communities have made parks more accessible by increasing the width of paths and adding benches.  Others have increased the number of designated parking spaces near key services and added accessible features to municipally-owned buildings.
  2. Transportation:  Affordable and accessible public and volunteer transportation programs is key to aging in place safely and independently.  Some communities have created transportation resource guides that include information about public and private options.  Others have created volunteer programs that provide rides to where people need to go and may offer help with, for example, shopping or getting in and out of a building.
  3. Housing:  Safe and affordable housing promotes well-being and is key to older residents being able to age comfortably and safely in the house and community of their choice.  Communities can make regulatory changes to encourage additional housing options or to help create new housing.  Some initiatives have started their own “Handy Brigade”, others have partnered with existing services to increase awareness of home modification and home maintenance services.
  4. Social participation:  Socializing with friends and neighbors who don’t live in the same home as you is connected to physical and cognitive health.  Many communities have started a “senior” center or added to the opportunities available.  Others have partnered with local organizations such as lifelong learning programs, an art center, or a library to increase programming for adults.
  5. Respect and social inclusion:  A lack of contact between generations and lack of knowledge about aging are two reasons why stereotypes that exclude older people from full participation in the community continue.  Aging adults who feel welcomed and respected for their contribution are more likely to remain actively engaged in economic, social, and civic life than those who do not feel included.
  6. Civic participation and employment:  Older people do not stop contributing to their communities when they turn 65 or 85 or 105. An age-friendly community provides opportunities for residents who want to or need to work past traditional retirement age and encourages people of all ages to volunteer and participate in the political process.
  7. Communication and information:  Staying connected with activities, resources, and people is key to optimal aging.  Some communities have created information portals on their town website to increase access to information about local activities and resources making them easy to find.  Other communities have created resource manuals.
  8. Community support and health services:  Access to health care and services to support aging in place is key for the health and well-being of older residents.  Some communities have emphasized food security in this area.  Others have looked at elder abuse prevention or added disaster preparedness.

WHO checklist  Checklist of Essential Features of Age-friendly features is a tool for a community’s self-assessment and a map for charting progress.  In assessing a city’s strengths and deficiencies, older people will describe how their checklist of features matches their own experience of positive characteristics and barriers.  They should play a role in suggesting changes in implementing and monitoring improvements.

STEP 1:  ENTERING THE NETWORK:  We have been accepted!  Sullivan is the 46th community in Maine, and the 204th community in the United States to join the Network of Age-Friendly Communities!

  1. Certificate #204  Age-Friendly Sullivan Enrollment Certificate of membership through 2020
  2. Welcome Letter AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities Welcome Letter
  3. AFS AARP Maine Benefits  Single page summary of membership benefits

STEP 2:  PLANNING PHASE (years 1-2)

  1. A baseline assessment of the age-friendliness of Sullivan:  2018 Survey summary
  2. Development of a 3-year community-wide plan of action based on assessment findings:  AFS Action Plan 2020

STEP 3:  IMPLEMENTATION & EVALUATION (years 3-5):  On completion of the planning phase, and no later than two years after joining the AARP Network, Sullivan will submit our action plan to WHO for review and endorsement.  Upon endorsement by WHO, cities will then have a three-year period of implementation.  At the end of the period of implementation, Sullivan will be required to submit a progress report to WHO outlining progress against indicators developed in our Action Plan:  Age-Friendly Sullivan 5 year progress report 2023

 

Photo credits, this page. Bottom photo: © Paul Breeden;  All Rights Reserved.