Staying at home is the goal



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A group of residents here is working to establish a program to help older people stay in their homes as long as possible.

They’re calling it At Home Southwest Harbor.

“Currently, we are drafting core services that could be offered to older members of the community,” said Judith Cox, a member of the organizing committee.

She said services might include transportation to medical appointments, health care home visits, home safety and accessibility assessments and information on local resources. But she said the organizing group wants to hear from older community residents about the services that would be most helpful to them.

“We plan to continue reaching out to community organizations that serve the older population to learn from their experiences, support what they already do and avoid unnecessary duplication,” Cox said.

Local residents over a certain age would pay an annual income-based membership fee to receive At Home Southwest Harbor services. Cox said a similar program on the Blue Hill peninsula called At Home Downeast, which charges on a sliding scale based on household income, has not had to turn down any membership requests.

The At Home Southwest Harbor group is seeking program status under the Washington Hancock Community Agency (WHCA), which would allow them to operate as a tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization.

“We believe our work fits well with WHCA’s focus on the needs of the increasing population of older adults in the two counties,” Cox said. “Survey results show that most people who are able prefer to age in their own homes.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. dbroom@mdislander.com