Age Friendly South Portland – Heating assistance and other thoughts

As spring began, I felt euphoric as I watched the days grow longer and the leaves full and flowers bloom. I felt that the summer would be endless. Still, now winter is coming very soon and I am watching very busy squirrels. Like the rest of Maine’s creatures, we are preparing.

Can we worry about whether we will have enough wood or how we will pay for heat, taxes, food and gas for the car?

For information on income-based programs to help with heating costs, call the South Portland Department of Human Services at 767-7617, Toby Talbot file photo/AP

The costs are staggering for many reasons, all troubling, all with no quick or easy fixes. In the meantime, I believe we need to help each other. I believe that each of us has something to give to the other and exchanges have nothing to do with monetary value, the value is caring for each other.

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Margaret Mead claimed that the earliest sign of civilization she ever found was a human skeleton with a healed femur fracture. She said it was a sign of human civilization because such a break would mean death unless the individuals were helped by others.

Mutual aid is a basic attribute of human society. Now is the time we need each other. In addition to the pandemic, which we all need to help with in one way or another, there is social, political, climate and financial stress. What each person needs and can give is rich in variation.

Older adults have wisdom, skills, and stories to tell that are vital to today’s world and the future. It is also a gift for the young to have them give to others, older adults can benefit from their strength, knowledge and skills. We need each other. Young and old, we can help each other.

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Senior residents who have paid taxes and helped build our city for years, who now have fixed incomes that have been hit hard by rising prices, should feel comfortable seeking help from programs to help with the costs of heating, food, transportation and taxes.

During the pandemic businesses were able to seek help, there are many programs to help many people. People on fixed incomes also need help getting through these times. That is right and proper. So please don’t be too shy, too proud or too stubborn to seek help. You can call the South Portland Department of Social Services at 767-7617 to learn more about income-based programs to help with heating costs.

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You’ll have and hear more about tax credits, transportation and food assistance from Age Friendly South Portland. Contact us; there’s a lot going on! Age Friendly South Portland is a group dedicated to helping senior citizens age safely in place, and your input is valued. If you would like to work with Age Friendly South Portland, please feel free to call me at 799-6350.

Susan Henderson, Secretary of Age Friendly South Portland. She can be reached at [email protected]


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