Click HERE for a high-resolution photo of Senator Collins with Chris Vachon, a Meals on Wheels volunteer
Click HERE for a high-resolution photo of Senator Collins delivering remarks
Auburn, ME – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, delivered keynote remarks at the SeniorsPlus Fill the Plate Breakfast to benefit Meals on Wheels, where she was honored with the Ikaria Award in recognition of her work to improve the lives of older Americans. The breakfast was attended by nearly 200 people including Meals on Wheels volunteers, SeniorsPlus leadership, and members of local government.
“SeniorsPlus truly makes a difference throughout Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford counties. Staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters are dedicated to empowering our seniors to stay in the homes and communities they love, whenever possible, in safety and security. There truly is no place like home, and your commitment, energy, and compassion make it possible,” said Senator Collins. “I am honored to be this year’s recipient of the Ikaria Award, and I will continue to work to better the lives of our nation’s aging population.”
“I was particularly inspired by Chris Vachon, a Meals on Wheels volunteer who cooks and delivers delicious meals to seniors all across Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford counties every week,” Senator Collins continued. “Chris said that his favorite part about his work is giving back to his community.”
As the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, one of Senator Collins’ top priorities for the Committee is to address senior isolation – one of the unseen enemies of healthy living for seniors. This year, Senator Collins is leading the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, foundational legislation that funds critical services in communities across the country, like Meals on Wheels and caregiver support programs, which help to address isolation and keep older adults healthy and independent.
Last year, the SeniorsPlus Meals on Wheels program served 109,000 meals to nearly 900 older adults and people with disabilities. In addition to delivering meals, drivers are trained to detect any changes in the health and well-being of those they serve, and they provide important social contact to those who are homebound.
Incorporated as the Western Maine Older Citizens Council, SeniorsPlus, located in Lewiston, has been serving the needs of seniors since 1972.
Recent Census data confirm that Maine is the oldest state in the nation by median age. New data also show that Maine will reach an aging milestone faster than any other state: the number of Americans 65 and older is projected to outnumber those under age 18 by 2035, while Maine will reach this aging milestone by 2020 – 15 years ahead of the national average.