SOUTH PORTLAND — The ad hoc Senior Citizen Advisory Committee is seeking $15,000 to fill gaps in services for the city’s elderly population.
The committee was formed in August 2017 to “ensure … services and infrastructure (to enable senior citizens) to live safely and with dignity as they age,” first by conducting a needs assessment of residents 65 and older, at a cost of $6,000. The panel formed focus groups and sent a survey to nearly 4,200 residents, about 1,100 of whom responded.
On Tuesday night, Jan. 22, members presented their findings to the City Council and requested formation of an ad hoc Senior Steering Implementation Committee and allocation of $15,000 for implementation of the advisory committee’s recommendations.
The council is expected to vote on the proposal Feb. 5.
During his inaugural address in December, Mayor Claude Morgan said he hopes 2019 is the city’s “year of the senior citizen.” Other councilors Tuesday spoke in favor of the request, and some said they would support allocating more than $15,000.
Councilor Maxine Beecher, who served on the committee, on Tuesday said she hopes the council will support their efforts and “put their money where their mouth is.”
Recommendations, as outlined in the committee’s report, were made for each of the World Health Organization’s Eight Domains of Livability, as adapted by AARP, to measure age-friendly communities: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community and health services.
The report recommends forming subcommittees to focus on each domain. For instance, a transportation subcommittee that would expand services, identify desired destinations focusing on medical care, drug stores and food shopping, and meet with transit providers to compare services and develop a city-wide network of free and low-cost rides.
“This is a sound investment for the city going forward,” Morgan said Wednesday. “… We should have no problem finding the funding.”