The view from the light tower at Two Lights or the steering cabin of a tugboat, a map showing the rum-running route from the Caribbean to New England to Africa and exhibits on all aspects of our maritime heritage brightened a winter day for Hodgdon and Wiscasset Green residents and friends. Before coming to ElderCareNetwork’s homes, residents lived in Friendship, Bath, Waldoboro, Five Islands, Damariscotta, Dresden and Gardiner. The models and exhibits brought back many memories of experiences living on the Maine coast. The museum was a great ‘escape’ from winter blues, and the staff was helpful and welcoming.

The excursion to Maine Maritime Museum in Bath was part of ElderCare Network’s Successful Aging Pilot Program to improve residents’ quality of daily life by adding more regular exercise and excursions to the weekly program of activities. The program is funded by a generous anonymous lead gift and supporting contributions from the Reny Foundation, the Quimby Family Foundation, a component fund of Maine Community Foundation, and donors to the annual campaign. 

In addition to Exercise and Excursions, the Successful Aging program adds daily activities focused on Healthy Eating and Music Memories.

An important aspect of the excursions, especially during winter months, is to increase the residents’ ‘life space.’ According to ECN’s Medical Director, Dr. Allan Teel, “Recent medical studies have identified a ‘frailty syndrome,’ where those who never leave their homes experience a significant increase in mortality. A state of frailty is believed to be preceded by behavioral changes made in response declining physiologic reserve and a person’s ability to adapt to environmental challenges. 

These changes are a result of environmental challenges, such as area deprivation, and individual physical changes. Research suggests that ‘frailty’ is not an irreversible process, and can be prevented or lessened by interventions such as the excursions out of the homes that are a critical part of the Successful Aging Program.”

ElderCare Network was founded in 1996 to improve the way we care for elders in Lincoln County. ECN now operates seven assisted living homes for 58 residents. The homes are located in seven Lincoln County villages, including the flagship home at 6 Hodgdon Street in Damariscotta. They focus on family-style, wellness-centered living for elders of all incomes, and incorporate recent findings on healthy aging into daily programs. ECN’s Adult Day Program participants join in all the events and activities during their stays at all seven homes.