Older Mainers thriving despite low levels of personal satisfaction, study shows

As noted in the Bangor Daily News on Saturday/Sunday, December 24-25

By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff

A recent state-by-state survey ranks Maine 20th in the nation in the overall well-being of its older residents, up from 33rd in last year’s report. But Maine falls short in some areas, including seniors’ sense of purpose and personal satisfaction in life, the report said.

Developed through a partnership between the Gallup research and polling organization and Healthways, a national healthcare and wellness improvement company, the 2015 State Well-being Rankings for Older Americans is one of six studies included in the annual State of American Well-Being report. It uses self-reported telephone polling data from 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 to measure respondents’ satisfaction in six broad areas.

These areas are: purpose, defined as “liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals;” social, or “having supportive relationships and love in your life;” financial, “managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security;” community, “liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community;” and physical, “Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.”

Mainers 55 and older ranked high — the the top quintile, nationally — in the Community category, and in the lowest quintile in the Purpose category, indicating a low level of personal satisfaction with daily life. Maine’s Physical, Financial and Social well-being scored in the second, third and fourth quintiles, respectively. Maine’s overall score of 63.8 points reflects an increase of 13 points over last year’s report.

Of the 50 states, Hawaii ranked highest in the overall well-being of its older citizens and West Virginia ranked lowest.

Len Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging, said the report raises concerns about older Mainers’ social and emotional health.

“Our low scores on the purpose and social dimensions suggest that too many older Mainers may be grappling with a real sense of social and psychological disequilibrium,” Kaye said. Especially in rural areas, older Mainers may be shut off from the stimulation of daily activities and from opportunities for meaningful social and civic exchangement, he said.

“It suggests that the risk of social isolation remains a perplexing and unresolved problem for older adults living in small towns and rural communities,” Kaye said.

The larger report on American well-being across all age groups also shows that Maine ranked poorly — 31st among the states — in having a high incidence of diabetes and obesity.

Repeated efforts to reach a spokesperson at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention for comment on the report from a public health perspective drew no response. But Dr. Dora Anne Mills, vice president for clinical affairs at the University of New England in Biddeford and the former director of the Maine CDC, said that while the report’s methodology may be flawed by an inadequate sample size — about 400 respondents from Maine — and other factors, health rankings like this reflect important realities for all Mainers, including seniors.

“Seniors … want to live in a healthy state, since if more people in our communities are healthy, then [seniors] are more likely to be healthy,” Mills said. Also, it’s important for older Mainers to feel that their children and grandchildren live in a state with “a higher chance of living and living healthy,” she said.

Generally, Americans over 55 seem to be in better shape than their younger counterparts, according to the report authors. They are more satisfied with their standard of living and less worried about money than younger adults. Older Americans are also more likely to have health insurance and access to health care, to eat a healthier diet, to smoke less and to report lower levels of stress and anxiety.

The report can be viewed online at healthways.com/populationhealth.

Setting A New Standard for 
Active Adult Living in the Mid-Coast


A Lifestyle You Can Afford!

Home Care Cost Vs. Bartlett Woods

(Based on US Census & Maine statewide average)

Property Tax & Insurance   $300

Utilities   $300

Meals & Food   $199

Home Repair   $175

Lawn Care/Plowing   $200

House Cleaning   $100

Auto Upkeep & Gas   $150

24 Hour Home Security   $135

Home Based Care   $3,000
(120 hours per month @ $25.00 per hour)

Monthly Cost   $4559.00


 Property Tax & Ins. - Included in the rent

Utilities - Included in the rent

Meals & Food - Included in the rent (2 meals per day)

Home Repair - Included in the rent

Lawn Care/Plowing - Included in the rent

House Cleaning - Included in the rent

Auto Upkeep & Gas - Transportation Within the Community

24 Hour Home Security - Included in the rent

      Monthly Cost   $3223.00 (Based on 1 BR, single occupancy with amenities)

For more information call Mary Eads, Executive Director 
(207) 594-1163


Embracing the Season

The crisp mornings and chilly evenings have me inventorying my supply of rugged socks and faithful sweaters.  It’s not quite time to rummage for the boots and mittens, but that will come shockingly soon.  Right now it is enough to add warm layers, an extra blanket on the bed, and to surrender to the awe that is a New England autumn.

Being a native Floridian, I have often felt the magnificence of brazen hardwoods and October sunsets, was more than my heart could bear.  Not only too beautiful, but a poignant farewell to summer and a bracing acceptance of the months ahead.  That said, I would never trade this astonishing display of nature’s pallet for continual warmth and southern comforts.

Even with the cozy, cloistered environs of Bartlett Woods we will feel the season shift.  Maneuverability out-of-door will soon become more challenging.  The briefer the hours of sunlight will have more difficulty penetrating our homes and our bones. In our psyches and our postures will be protecting ourselves, curling inward like a leaf.

It is a good time to remind ourselves to stand tall and to remain open.  It is a good time to create our winter reading list, acquire music that moves us, and to stay connected to friends and family.  It is also imperative that we keep our bodies loose and limber, our chest and lungs open and expansive. It is in this inbetween time, this change of seasons, that our immune systems are most vulnerable to disease.

The beloved Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, once said that if we could take five deep breathes a day we could change the world.  I have seldom been able to get past the second breath before my chattering squirrel mind has wondered off to the next task, the next thing.  It is only with serious effort that I am able to complete a circuit of five conscious breaths.

If you are able to accomplish this easily, then I invite you to go one step further.  With each inhalation imagine pure rich oxygen traveling to your brain, eyes, heart, toes… A lovely breathing exercise I use to imagine ocean waves swirling in around my ankles, than surging out again.  Slow breath in, pause, slow breath out, pause.

I would further suggest you try to bring moisture into the dry winter air of your surroundings.  House plants, a wet towel left to dry over the shower curtain rod, a humidifier with distilled water, will all serve to moisten the air and to keep your lungs moist and pliable. Breathe in the steam and aroma of a nice cup of tea with your neighbor while sharing stories about the seasons of your lives.

Wishing you robust health,  Karen Jackson RN

Giving Thanks

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with their loved ones.  It’s always been my favorite day to spend with family and friends.  For the first time in many years, all of our children live on the east coast, therefore my husband and myself were able to drive to Maryland to spend time with them and their families.  It was wonderful!

Our grandchildren were so much fun to hang out with! It was very heartwarming to not only learn of their interests but what they are thinking about at this time in their lives. When asked where they would like to go to grab some dinner one night, “SUSHI!” they all exclaimed at once.  What a different time we live in now, but I must admit I was very glad to hear the news and sushi it was.

During our drive back to Maine in all kinds of weather, I had time to reflect on all the things in this world that I am so, so thankful for and how important it is to not take any of our blessings for granted.  It is so easy to take a few minutes out of our busy day to say or think of all we have to be thankful for in our lives.  Simple, really and it feels so good and right, it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

So, before we run on to the next holiday with all of its hustle and bustle, please take a moment each day and say your thanksgivings quietly to yourself.  It will bring you great joy!


Mary Eads, Executive Director

Live Art

How lucky we are to have “live art” all around us……



Since the completion of our expansion and renovations in 2012, Bartlett Woods has partnered with local professional artists who are willing to display their visual art throughout our hallways, parlor, dining room and sun room. This collaboration would never have been possible without the guidance from one special person and friend; Pam Cabanas, a noted Friendship artist. Pam, acting as a curator for Bartlett Woods, has brought us reputable and acclaimed artists such as Sam Cady, Katharine Cartwright, Jane Herbert, Jean Kigel, Nat Lewis, Sally Louthridge, Kathleen Mack, Alan Magee, Dennis Pinette, Susan Van Campen, David Vickery, and photographer Jeremy Barnard who have all graced our facility with their wonderful creative works. This shared experience has enriched the lives of residents, families, visitors, and staff alike.

The relationship that I have witnessed between the people who live here and the artists has been one of genuine, mutual appreciation and respect. The art changes every January and it is very exciting around here. We celebrate the hanging of the new art on the last Saturday in February annually.

Currently on exhibit, we have a solo show by Maine painter Ronald Frontin. More than twenty major works by this extraordinary artist have graced our walls for close to a year. Frontin’s work carries on the tradition of American Realism stemming from the early nineteenth century.

If you have not yet come to view Frontin’s work, you still have time! Please stop by anytime between 9-5.

Mary Eads, Executive Director

Save the date:

Bartlett Woods Artist Reception

Saturday February 25, 2017   2PM-5PM

Open to the public and refreshments will be served.