Maine communities face a formidable challenge: How to meet the needs of their aging residents. As our state grows ever older (and Maine is already the oldest state), the need to make our towns and communities more age-friendly becomes more and more important. AARP national surveys indicate that a vast majority of people want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. Here in Maine, surveys show that nine out of ten residents 50 and older want to stay in their own homes and local communities as long as possible. The question is how our towns and cities can work together to help residents remain engaged, active, healthy and safe as possible.
The AARP’s Age-Friendly Community initiative envisions an inclusive and accessible urban or suburban environment that encourages active and healthy aging. Join MEREDA on December 11 at the Portland Regency Hotel as Lori Parham, AARP Maine state director, and Peter Morelli, AARP Maine Age Friendly Community manager, discuss Maine’s changing demographics and the age friendly community approach. In addition, Speaker of the House, Mark Eves, will share with us details of his Senior Housing Bond Initiative to address the fundamental mismatch between Maine’s housing supply and Maine’s housing needs.
Meet our Panelists:
Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick was sworn in as the 101st Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives on Dec. 5, 2012 after Democrats won 89 seats in the House and regained the majority on Election Day. Speaker Eves is serving his third term in the Maine House. He has dedicated his time in the Legislature and his professional career to improving the lives of children, seniors, veterans and working families.
As Speaker, he has worked to create more economic opportunity for the people of Maine. He pushed to expand access to health care for adults and children in Maine, and for Maine’s anti-poverty programs to focus on job training, while also increasing property tax credits for Maine families and seniors. He has brought together hundreds of stakeholders to put a spotlight on Maine’s aging population and launched a statewide initiative to build aging-friendly communities across Maine.
Lori K. Parham, Ph.D., is AARP Maine’s State Director, leading the states advocacy and education efforts statewide. Prior to joining AARP Maine she worked as senior advisor to AARP’s Executive Vice President for the State and National Group in Washington, DC, overseeing the reorganization of the Association’s Government Affairs unit and the creation of a new Office of Volunteerism & Service. She began her career at AARP in Florida. Before becoming State Director in early 2007, she served as Manager of Advocacy and was responsible for policy and legislative advocacy.
Peter Morelli manages the Age Friendly Community program for AARP Maine, which engages communities in efforts to promote aging in place and livable communities. He serves as co-chair of the Building Age Friendly Communities committee of the Maine Council on Aging’s Aging Initiative.
Previously, Peter was the director of development and previously city planner for the City of Saco, where he was responsible for planning, economic development, housing and historic preservation for 27 years.