Posted by Alan Nye

We were fortunate at our meeting to hear all about Portland Area Villages (PAV) from both the President and Executive Director, Elaine Mullin, and from the Vice President of Operations and Treasurer, Carol Colton. Elaine led the presentation by explaining that PAV supports greater Portland area seniors who want to stay in their homes for as long as possible by providing them with basic services like transportation to appointments, running errands and light household tasks. Elaine noted that Maine is the “oldest” state in the nation and that there were 35 million Americans nationwide over the age of 65 in 2000 -- but that number will balloon to 73 million by 2030.

Elaine told us that the Village movement started in Boston in 2002 as a way to help people live in their own homes longer by providing volunteer help with tasks that elders often find difficult. Villages are membership driven grass-roots organizations that are generally staffed mostly with volunteers and some paid staff. There are currently over 150 Villages in the US and throughout the world.

Carol then took over the presentation and let us now that PAV became a Maine nonprofit and an IRS 501(c)(3) organization in 2016. The pilot program was launched in 2017 with 7 members and 12 volunteers and they have grown to now serve 15 members and 3 households with 22 volunteers. The organization has received donations from AARP of Maine, Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital.

Carol stressed that the range of services, all non-medical, is great: transportation to the grocery store, the post office, or to doctor visits, picking up prescriptions, doing light gardening or household chores, socialization (jigsaw puzzles, playing cards), and providing assistance with computer issues. The list goes on and on.

Carol ended her presentation by reading several testimonials from both PAV members and volunteers who extolled the virtues of the organization. She let us know that the current challenges are to educate the community about the organization, expand the services offered and attract more volunteers to offer services as well as be members of the Board of Directors. If helping seniors stay in their own homes for as long as their health and safely allows sounds like a effort you’d like to support, you can contact either of our speakers directly to find out more about how you can volunteer at:

(Photo L-R: President John Curran, Carol Colton, Elaine Mullin and Matt Wolcott.)