Yarmouth - Chebeague - Long
We are a community.
We are so fortunate to live in communities as vibrant and robust as ours. However we still have residents that struggle. Food insecurity is a real issue here as well as the need for heating assistance. We need to all work together to help those in need. That is how we should define ourselves – a community that takes care of its own, no matter the need. Our citizens are engaged and generous, both with their time and their talent.
Other struggles are wending their way through Yarmouth and the islands and they do need to be addressed as well. A percentage of our aging population suffers from social isolation, health concerns, high taxes, and the inability to stay in their homes, particularly on our island communities. There are a limited number of adequate nursing facilities. Compounding this issue is the polarization of our political parties as well as the widening gulf between those that have and those that do not. This divide is eroding our ability to listen and share ideas with civility and compassion.
Maine is the oldest state in the country and there are programs around Maine and in Yarmouth to alleviate some of the financial stresses of aging in place. The STAY (Senior Tax Assistance Yarmouth) Program is a great starting point however with Augusta’s help, we should be able to do more. We need to recognize the the myriad of issues for those aging in our three communities and address them head on. It’s not only about taxes. It’s about access to healthcare and access to community. It’s about mobility and staying productive. It’s about being relevant. We need to make sure our vulnerable seniors do not become tragically invisible in our community. Specifically we need to expand our partnerships with the health care industry and providers to ensure that our older population is effectively and measurably served.
One of the greatest assets we have in our community is an abundance of people who care and who get involved. Thankfully we are not a community short on energy. However, lately we have been reflecting a national trend of politics becoming personal. And once it becomes personal, then it becomes polarized. We must to come back to our common ground of civility and put our personal partisan politics aside for all of Yarmouth and Chebeague and Long Island.