The First Three Years FROM THE DIRECTOR CENTER ON AGING STAFF
Maine Center on Aging Service and Consultation
The first three years of Center life have passed amidst a whirlwind of activity. Our efforts have been driven by an undeniable imperative-a demographic revolution sweeping through the state of Maine and the nation. The aging of Maine's citizenry is dramatically changing the state's economic, social, and political landscape. Maine has one of the oldest populations in the United States. This reality creates both wonderful opportunities and complex challenges that will confront us as our parents,
... us as our parents, our children, and ourselves, enjoy longer lives. At the Center on Aging you will find neither an attitude of gloom and doom nor a naive fixation on the positive consequences of an aging society. Staff and students are, however, exceedingly enthusiastic and hardworking, collaborative-minded, and optimistic about the role the Center can play in impacting state aging policy, planning, and programming. Early on in our evolution a programmatic theme has emerged for the Center on Aging. It has become apparent that we are in the business of maximizing the overall well-being of older adults and their families and promoting the active engagement of older citizens in their local communities. That mandate is a broad one but appropriate given that we are part of the University of Maine System's flagship campus. We engage in this work through the conduct of research, the education of students of all ages as well as community professionals, and the delivery of consultative and community services to the public. We are so very grateful to the many organizations and individuals on campus and off, at the federal, state, and local levels, public and private, that have provided critical resources and partnered with us in the various aspects of our work. Without their support our efforts could not be accomplished. The changing population landscape in Maine provides us with a unique opportunity to create a national model of how a public university in concert with community organizations, state government, and its citizens can give back to and benefit from its elders. The Center on Aging will continue to mobilize resources in service to the state's older citizens and their families. The first three years of Center activity have been extremely productive and satisfying-but clearly, our work has just begun. The first half of 2005 will include a strategic planning retreat of Center staff, board, and students. We expect to emerge with a vision of the future and a set of goals and objectives that will lead us there, ready to respond to the diverse constituencies we serve.