Social Impact Internships: David Lewis (’24)
My name is David Lewis and I am a rising sophomore majoring in Course 6-9. I have been working for Maine’s Department of Health and Health Services (DHHS) this summer, specifically the Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS). I am working with Salvatore Lentine on a dashboard for OADS, which works with different data and resources to show how Maine is addressing their new Age-Friendly Plan.
One of the social issues motivating the work I am doing is providing older citizens in Maine with better services and opportunities. The Age Friendly Plan outlines Maine’s strategies to achieve that goal. The Plan separates these strategies by creating seven domains:
- Natural Resource Management, Outdoor Spaces and Recreation
- Respect, Equity, and Social Engagement
- Accessible Communication and Information
- Employment and Financial Security
- Health Coverage, Health Care, Healthy Aging and Support Services
Each of these domains contains 3 sections in the plan: “We Heard”, “We Have”, and “We Will”. “We Heard” is feedback that they, the Age-Friendly State Advisory Committee, the State Steering Committee, and community members, received. “We Have” goes over programs, services and reports that are already in place for each domain. “We Will” is where the Plan provides domain specific goals, or Strategic Objectives, that will help guide their actions moving forward.
As I have explored each of the domains, finding data and resources for each one to create our dashboard, it is striking to learn how unfairly older adults are treated. I already knew that they faced age-discrmination when applying for jobs, but in addition to that, some of the lower income elderly Mainers have to deal with difficulties when trying to find a home to stay in. They have difficulties getting their home repaired, and even managing their finances can be an ordeal. Fortunately, with this new plan Maine is starting to put our resources to help target these issues and inform the elderly of what is going on.