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Bristol Area Lions Club Learns about Options for the Elderly in Lincoln County 10/19/2012

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Lion Michael Hope, board member of Eldercare Network, thanks Andrea Handel of Eldercare Network of Lincoln County for her recent presentation to the Bristol Area Lions Club.

With our county’s demographic reality of having the oldest population in the oldest state in the nation, it is critical that services be available to its most vulnerable seniors, according to Andrea Handel, executive director of ElderCare Network of Lincoln County.

Handel addressed the Bristol Area Lions Club recently and shared both her concerns and the plans her agency has in place to accommodate seniors in lower income levels. ElderCare Network’s goal is to keep seniors in their own homes and/or within Lincoln County, and to that end, since 1998, it has opened seven small communal homes for seniors in central locations on the Bristol peninsula.

These group homes are funded, but only partially, by Maine Care, and yet it is Handel’s admittedly lofty hope that these homey facilities become mini-community centers.

All care in ElderCare Network homes is very individualized and all staff are local certified caregivers. Those seven communal homes are a financial challenge to maintain, so fundraising and volunteer involvement are critical to keeping them open and up to a high standard.

Handel mentioned some of the new initiatives begun at the ElderCare Network group homes, such as an adult day program, which includes weekend and evening hours. Another new program sponsored by ElderCare Network, called Independence at Home, is an affordable homecare arrangement that combines volunteer support, paid home care professionals and in-home video technology to monitor an individual’s safety and whereabouts.

This new program is ready for more enrollees. Eldercare Network’s website, http://www.eldercarenetwork.org, explains these and other programs in more detail.

As a licensed social worker, Andrea Handel has worked in the field of human services for 30 years at Mobius, Cove’s Edge, ElderCare Network and Spectrum Generations. In 1998 she opened Hodgdon Green, the first assisted living home for low-income seniors in Lincoln County. When it became clear that Hodgdon Green with its 16 private rooms was inadequate to serve the local need for senior housing and services, Andrea and the ElderCare Network board of directors quickly developed six additional senior care homes located in the heart of six Lincoln County villages.

ElderCare Network now serves over 60 seniors while employing 50 local individuals and continuing to develop a dedicated ongoing volunteer pool.

In the business meeting that followed Handel’s talk, there was a discussion of membership goals as well as a report on upcoming improvements to the Club’s Willing Workers Hall. The next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions Club, on Monday, November 5, will feature Dana Moss of the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, who will speak about oyster farming on the Damariscotta River. To make dinner reservations for that meeting, please call 677-6191, and to learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, contact John Janell at 563-7402.

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