Age Friendly South Portland – Heating assistance and other thoughts

When spring began, I felt euphoric to see the days grow longer and leaves fill and flowers bloom. I could feel that the summer would be endless. However, now winter is coming very soon and I am watching the very busy squirrels. Like other Maine creatures, we too are gearing up.

We may worry if we will have enough wood and how will we pay for heat, taxes, food and gas in the car?

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

Costs are staggering for many reasons, all unsettling, all without quick or easy solutions. In the meantime, I believe what we need to do is help each other. I believe that each of us has something to give to the other and the exchange has nothing to do with monetary value, the value is caring for each other.

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Margaret Mead has been quoted as saying that the earliest sign of civilization she ever found was a skeleton of a person with a healed broken femur. She said it was an indication of human civilization because such a break would have meant death unless others helped the individual.

Helping each other is a core feature of human society. Now is a time we need each other. There is social, political, climate and financial stress in addition to the pandemic that we all need a hand with in one way or another. What each person needs and can give is rich in variation.

Older adults have wisdom, skills and a history to tell that is essential for today’s world and for the future. It is also a gift to the young to let 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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Older residents, who have paid taxes and helped build our city for years, who are now on fixed incomes 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 could seek help, there were many programs to assist many people. People on fixed incomes also need help getting through these times. It is the right and just thing to do. So please don’t be too shy or too proud or too stubborn to seek help. You can call the South Portland Social Service Department, 767-7617, to find out more about income-based programs to help with heating costs.

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You have and will hear more from Age Friendly South Portland about tax relief, transportation and help with food. Please contact us; there is a lot going on! Age Friendly South Portland is a group whose goal is to help older citizens get settled safely and your input is valuable. If you would like to work with Age Friendly South Portland, feel free to call me at 799-6350.

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


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