Survey data will help area residents thrive and feel good

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — Over the last several months the Feel Good Piscataquis! initiative, using grant funds awarded by the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF),  has worked to gather input from county residents on what they think would make their lives and the lives of others healthier. Information was collected through four community conversations as well as a survey through the University of Maine Center on Aging.

    The survey findings were shared during a stakeholder meeting on July 10 at the Piscataquis Regional YMCA, as well as another session in Greenville the evening before.
    “The reality of this project is we are on the verge of applying for implementation funds,” said Charlotte White Center Integrated Health and Senior Services Coordinator Meg Callaway. MeHAF awarded grants to both the Charlotte White Center and PRYMCA through the Thriving in Place (TIP) Across Continuum of Care and Healthy Communities programs respectively.
    The two grants awarded are planning grants, running from Nov. 1, 2013 to the end of October, and information gathered will then be used in the application process for larger grant funding to implement the resulting ideas and programs developed between the present time and the fall.
    Callaway said with the two grant programs, “We want to find things on a grassroots level that are small enough to do, but big enough to matter.” She said the TIP initiative is focused on helping those with chronic conditions stay in their homes and communities and use resources wisely, while Healthy Communities is aimed at boosting the health of all residents.
    “We are getting into the nitty gritty,” Callaway said, mentioning affordable housing as an example. “We are looking at the whole community but keeping a keen eye on those who don’t have traditional things in place,” to help them stay in their homes.
    Sue Mackey Andrews, who is working on the endeavor as a strategic planner, said the MeHAF is concerned with rural Maine and this is reflected in the two grants. “Our region is not Dover-Foxcroft alone, it’s the other four service center communities and those other 34 towns,” she said.
    “How do all of these parts of data come together to tell the story?,” Callaway said about the survey, which will be posted to the University of Maine Center on Aging website at
    “We organized things into six buckets,” Mackey Andrews said, including transportation and mobility, caregiver support, safe and affordable housing, home-based services and supports, managing your own health and community connections. “These are all part of a support system for people to live as independent as possible,” she said.
    Callaway said MeHAF would like to know about the various barriers residents encounter that prevent them from thriving in place, such as issues with transportation or heating their homes. One other scenario mentioned was the shortage of primary care physicians in the region, as doctors traveling to the area periodically may not be aware of the various services available elsewhere locally nor would a medical provider in Bangor or beyond if a resident travels for an appointment.
    A group of providers has been meeting, and will continue to do so to determine “what services are available and how do we help people access them?,” Callaway said. Mackey Andrews said an analysis will determine what services are interconnected and “how we as a caring community can bring all of this together to get a start and get on a roll.”
    “The next step is this gets boiled down to the priorities for the application,” Mackey Andrews said.
    Callaway said meetings will still be held for stakeholders and anyone else wishing to get involved. She reiterated how they would like to find ways to help area residents that are small enough to be accomplished and be sustainable but are also big enough to make a difference.
    For more information, contact Callaway at 270-2778 or or go to the Feel Good Piscataquis! Facebook page. The site includes information on the Healthy Communities program, which is being led by Erin Callaway (343-0171 or

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