Meeting Minutes - Washington County

May 23, 2012

Washington County Friends and Neighbors Meeting

Woodland (Baileyville), Maine

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. at the agency’s Community Café located at People’s United Methodist Church in Woodland. In attendance were staff Penny Cross, Lori Diadone, Karen Quirk, Carol Higgins Taylor, Rob Crone and Deb Poulton. Community members, many of whom were either patrons of the meal site or volunteers, in attendance were: Pauline Bires; Rita McLaughlin; Marjorie Drotar; Ann Riddell, Mike and Marilyn Trafton, Janice Floyd, Susan McCraly; Marion Hunnewell; Avis McInteyre.

Deb introduced the concept and history of the Friends and Neighbors and how the agency has integrated these meetings to gather information and needs of elders and caregivers throughout our regions. Attendees were asked to introduce themselves and speak to their roles, interests and issues.

Agency staff provided information about each of their areas and discussed current projects. Karen promoted the caregiver program and upcoming SAVVY training for caregiver s as well as support groups, Carol inquired as to where people this area obtained their information and news and receive plenty of feedback. Rob gave an overview of the nutrition program as well as the newly developing Elder Buddies, which led to a discussion about the need for housekeeping services. Most seemed interested in obtaining the service rather than volunteering, but many took the brochures/materials to read more.

The discussion about staying in one’s own home and need for handyman, housekeeping, chore services and the lack thereof in this area led to whether people would pay for the service and at what level. Most seemed willing to pay a fair cost of between $10-$25 for such and were interested in having a known and trusted source such as EAAA to hire from.

Transportation was also discussed and it was apparent that, at least within this group, there are neighbors helping neighbors get to places and to services, but the price of gas to do so was a concern. Even those who were reimbursed through other programs such as Senior Companion did not feel adequately reimbursed for gas costs. Members were encouraged to call our agency to access medical rides. There was also the suggestion that the Sunrise rides does not meet the needs of people needing to get to appointments as needed.

Carol queried the group about whether a Senior Expo modeled after the recent Bangor event would be welcomed and attended in this county and how far people would be willing to travel. Although all seemed to like the idea and initially stated that they would travel to Calais or Machias, in the end, there was more interest in there being two such events in two separate locations, as people would not travel 45 minutes to go to Machias. The group also offered that there were a number of other events such as Octoberfest and Blueberry Days which draws people out and should not conflict with another Expo.

The group was also queried about computer use, but only two attendees said that they had access and use of a computer. We shared information about the 110carsforgood and that this could greatly help out their transportation needs in this county. More information to come closer to voting day.

Most attendees already received the EAAA Just For You and only two asked to be added to mailing list. They seem to utilize the public access station and get their news from the Calais Advertiser and various local and Canadian radio stations. One gentleman added that the Uncle Henry’s has now added a services section to their magazine. Most clearly, they receive much of their service information from Penny Cross who is well known to them all.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned for lunch at the Café.

Respectfully submitted,

Deborah Poulton

Deputy Director, EAAA

April 25, 2012

Washington County Friends and Neighbors Meeting

Calais, Maine

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. at the Calais Community Café located at Palmer Estates in Calais. In attendance were staff Penny Cross, Lori Diadone, Karen Quirk and Noëlle Merrill. EAAA Board members attending were Ruth Leubecker, David Burns and David Sousa. Community members attending were Betty Tenters, Catherine Haines, Marion Price, Marvelle Pottle, John Brooks, Virginia Burke, Winnie Demmons, Kelly Lindquist, Marie Broome, Bob and Alyce Butler, Mildred Burgess, Virginia Hill and Harry Tyler.

Noëlle asked everyone to introduce themselves. Staff around the table talked about their role and the services they provide to the community. Attendees asked many questions about services and how people might find out more about them.

Because the agency four year area plan draft was now available, Noëlle talked about the effort and how it fit into the work being performed in Washington County. She also described a lot of the services offered by EAAA. Several people in the group reported that they did not receive the newsletter, Just for You. It was explained that once signed into this meeting, their name and address was taken back to EAAA’s database and double checked to make sure they are on the mailing list for the newsletter.

Noëlle talked about the “100 Cars for Good” contest. She explained that she wrote an essay in hopes of winning a wheelchair van for Washington County due to the regularly expressed need for transit in the area whenever she held meetings. She explained that the agency was one of 500 finalists and that voting for the agency would be held on June 26, 2012 on Facebook. Attendees were quite excited about the idea and asked that she share the link with EAAA staff and the café volunteers and any housing managers. It was also explained that anyone over the age of 13 was eligible to vote on Facebook and that EAAA was only in competition for one day with four other social service agencies. The agency needed to make a video and post information about what it would use the van for on Facebook. Noëlle assured everyone that EAAA would do its best to solicit votes and ultimately win the van. If the agency doesn’t win, there will still be a $1,000 cash prize given to EAAA. But of course, the agency would prefer winning the vehicle. Noëlle also explained that she would look for partners in the county for planning the use of the van if it is won.

Noëlle also talked about how many older Mainers don’t apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps. She explained that part of the problem is that they don’t think they would qualify, yet many would. And that it no longer is recognizable as a handout because the supplement is loaded on debit cards each month that are used just like any other credit or debit card. Seniors on fixed incomes trying to buy nutritious food are struggling because of the high price of food and even a few dollars of the SNAP program a month could help them eat better or fee up their resources to be able to help pay for fuel or other important expenses. Another reason many seniors don’t sign up for SNAP is because the application is the same one for Medicaid (Mainecare). It clearly says that there is estate recovery for funds expended in Mainecare, and seniors think this applies to the SNAP benefit, yet it does not. Noëlle wants seniors to share with their friends that they should look into this benefit because it could make a big difference in quality of life.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned for lunch at the Café.

Respectfully submitted,

Noëlle Merrill

Executive Director

July 27, 2011

Washington County Regional Advisory Council Meeting


Palmer Lane Estates, Calais

July 27, 2011

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. in the Palmer Lane Estates Dining Room in Calais. In attendance were area residents Gail Wahl, Susan Harvey, Brenda Donaghy,

State Representative Joyce Maker and Barbara Kendall. EAAA board members Virginia Fortier and State Representative David Burns, Advisory Council members Phyllis Siebert and Rob Green and EAAA staff Noelle Merrill, Karen Quirk, Lisa King and Penny Cross also attended.

Noëlle explained the concept of the Regional Advisory Councils. She also suggested that anyone who wished could stay for lunch after the meeting.

The discussion then turned to issues facing seniors in Washington County. Noëlle opened the discussion by talking about the collaboration between the Washington Hancock Community Agency and EAAA to provide fixed schedule route transit from Lubec to Calais, Machias and Bangor once a month each. Rob Green explained that it was just catching on when it ended. Noëlle explained that she had communicated with the WHCA staff to let them know that she didn’t want to end the demonstration yet, but needed to receive a bill so she could determine how much money was left for the rides. Rob Green who is the bus driver for those rides for WHCA said he looked forward to starting up the program again. The new ferry service from Lubec to Eastport and back was discussed. It was said that it was unfortunate that the cost was so high and that seniors cannot afford to use it. Karen Quirk of EAAA said she would check into it to see if a discount could be provided for seniors.

The next issue brought up was the discontinuation of the chemo treatments at the Rose Room at the Calais Regional Hospital. This change was causing people to have to go to Brewer for treatment, which was very difficult. It was also mentioned that there were a lot of people in Washington County who need dialysis and because the regional hospital doesn’t offer the service, Calais residents have to travel to Eastport for treatment. This is also very difficult.

Another issue discussed what that veterans are being transported to Togus and where once they were able to spend the night in a decent setting, they are now being taken to and from Togus in the same day. Lisa King, EAAA staff, said she would check into why that has changed because it’s a long trip for frail veterans to make from Washington County and back in one day.

There was some discussion about health care workers and how there need to be more of them throughout the region. The legislators present said that if there were rules that could be modified to make it easier to care for people in their homes, they would certainly be willing to submit legislation to that effect.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.

Washington County Regional Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

January 25, 2011

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. in the Sunrise Apartments Community Café in Lubec.

Advisory members in attendance were Phyllis Siebert and Rob Green. Staff present were Deb Poulton, Josephine Cirrinone and Noëlle Merrill. Virginia Fortier, President of the Board of Directors was also present. There was also a large group of regular diners and the café volunteers who attended and provided some thoughts on the topics.

Noëlle explained the purpose of the Regional Advisory Meetings. Rob and Noëlle described the transportation project that WHCA and Eastern Area Agency on Aging are working on for Lubec. Rob explained that he has a videographer that will film residents being and getting on the Sunrides Bus to be shown on a local access station. It was decided that if all the diners of the community café were to participate in the filming, it would be well accepted by the community watching the commercial. They explained that the proposed project is one where there would be monthly rides from Lubec to Calais, Lubec to Machias and Lubec to Bangor. There would be no need to call in advance and there would be no fees for the moment.

Rob explained that he has only had two riders for the around Lubec run. The cost is $2.00 and the bus will take people wherever they need to go . It was hoped that the community café diners would spread the word about this service.

Deb Poulton talked about the Weinberg Foundation grant and its expansion into Washington County and what that meant. She explained that the initial strategy for working in Washington County was to perform a needs assessment through a survey for caregivers.

Deb was able to provide many copies of the survey at the meeting and they were avidly taken by diners and advisory council members. She explained that the survey will help prioritize the work plans for the expansion into Washington County. Phyllis Siebert said that there was a captive audience at the Sunrise Dialysis Center in Eastport because caregivers bring their care recipients there and have to wait for four hours prior for dialysis to be over. Phyllis explained that she runs a thrift shop that, among other things, raises funds for gas cards for the dialysis caregiver drivers.

Rob shared the poster for the monthly rides with Noëlle who said she would have their community education person revise it for easy reading and distribution.

There being no further business and because the diners were so talkative, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Noëlle Merrill