by Lori Parham
AARP Maine State Director
We have all been impacted in different ways this year as COVID-19 spread across Maine and the country. For me, living far away from family has been especially difficult. Despite the many challenges we’ve faced I’m proud that AARP Maine’s wonderful staff and volunteers continued their efforts on behalf of Mainers 50+ and their families in the legislature, through voter engagement, in support of local communities and organizations, and more.
If there is one thing that the pandemic has made clear, it is that personal connections are both immensely valuable and sorely missed. We miss seeing many of you at our local coffees and happy hours, out on the walking trails, and walking the halls in the State House. Even in the best of times, social isolation is a problem. In Maine, over 135,000 people 50-plus live alone and are at a higher risk of experiencing social isolation. We all know that winter brings additional challenges. With this in mind, we have compiled resources for managing through the winter months and have developed a free resource guide for caregivers who are facing additional challenges. Both guides are available on our website at www.aarp.org/me.
The problem of social isolation only magnifies the need to expand affordable high-speed internet access to all parts of Maine. Thousands of Mainers have limited or no access, and as a result, are left with little connection to family and friends. You can help! The Maine Broadband Coalition, in partnership with AARP Maine and others, has launched a statewide, crowdsourced speed test site. Take the speed test so we can start to address the areas most in need. The more tests that are completed, the more useful it will be for our efforts to expand high-speed internet access statewide. Spread the word by visiting www.mainebroadbandcoalition.org.
Looking ahead to the 2021 legislative season, we are excited to continue advocating on issues of concern to Mainers 50-plus. We will be working closely with our elected leaders as they try to address the economic and health impacts of COVID-19. Our wonderful legislative volunteers will continue to meet virtually each week and track bills of interest. We’d love to have you join us if you are looking for ways to stay busy during the deepest winter months. Send us a note here: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read our issue platform on our website, too. If you are interested in following our work, find us on Facebook/Twitter (@AARPMaine), Instagram (@aarpme), and on our website at www.aarp.org/me.
In 2021, we will offer virtual events as we continue to work remotely for at least the next few months. AARP Maine staff are working to offer events on everything from yoga to fraud educational sessions. We would love to hear your ideas for any Maine-focused events! All ideas are welcome, and you can send them to email@example.com anytime.
As we approach the end of 2020, I want to wish you and your family peace, joy, and good health in the year ahead. As always, I appreciate hearing your feedback and ideas so that we can better serve you and your family.
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