The Bar Harbor Task Force on Aging includes, seated from left, Martha Searchfield and Doreen Willet, and standing from left, Anne Greenlee, Jan Varnum, Bonnie Lundquist and Barbara MacPike. Not pictured is Dean Booher. PHOTO COURTESY OF BH TASK FORCE ON AGING

Bar Harbor certified age-friendly

BAR HARBOR — Bar Harbor is now officially an Age-Friendly Community according to AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons). This designation allows the town’s Task Force on Aging access to the AARP Age-Friendly Network, including grant funding for projects to improve planning and services for older residents.

The task force was organized following a May 2016 Town Council decision at the request of resident Bonnie Lundquist. That made an informal group of residents working on these issues, “Aging in Place Bar Harbor,” into an official town entity, which they said would help them qualify for grants and other support.

Half of the population of the town is 55 and older, Lundquist told the council last year. A growing number are over 70. “11 percent of Bar Harbor seniors over 65 are below the poverty level. The other 89 percent of us can pay for what we want and need, but it needs to be made available.”

The task force is charged with identifying needs of seniors in the community and recommending action to the Town Council to address those needs.

The task force plans a community survey based on a model from AARP of residents aged 55 and over about quality of life issues facing seniors in Bar Harbor and then work with the town on improving the community.

The survey will assess the eight areas identified by AARP that influence the health and quality of life for older adults and for all citizens. These “livability domains” address outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services.

Task force members are appointed by the council for three-year terms. Current members are Doreen Willet (chair), Dean Booher, Martha Searchfield, Jan Varnum, Bonnie Lundquist, Barbara MacPike and Anne Greenlee (council representative).


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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