New Report: Maine’s Low-Income Seniors Struggle To Meet Basic Needs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Portland – A newly released report commissioned by the John T. Gorman Foundation sheds light on the challenges facing Maine’s seniors, and has led the Foundation to commit substantial resources to organizations supporting critical needs among older Mainers. The report, A Portrait of Wellbeing: The Status of Seniors in Maine, was authored by researchers at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy, who highlight economic, housing and social factors across 10 regions within the state.
Among the publication’s findings:
- Maine has a higher percentage of seniors with low incomes than neighboring states: 29% compared to 21.1% in New Hampshire and 23.5% in Vermont.
- Seniors living in southeast Cumberland County are more likely to be poor or low-income when compared to those living in other areas of the state.
- Seniors in Oxford, Somerset, Franklin, and Piscataquis counties, as well as southeast Cumberland County, are more likely to live alone.
- Half of Maine’s senior renters live in homes where more than 30 percent of total household income is spent on housing costs.
- Across the state, low-income seniors consistently fare worse than their higher-income peers on indicators of well-being: they are more likely be burdened by housing costs, whether they rent or own, are less likely to be married, and are three times more likely to live alone.
“This report includes important benchmarks related to the wellbeing of seniors in Maine,” said Beth Mattingly, Director of Research on Vulnerable Families at the Carsey School of Public Policy and a co-author of the report. “As the state’s population continues to age, these figures can be used to identify trends and to analyze policy implications.”
Maine has the highest median age of any state in the country, and the third highest percentage of people aged 65 and older.
To supplement their current senior-related investments, the John T. Gorman Foundation commissioned the research to help further inform its efforts and those of others who are working to help more Maine seniors age in place. In response to the report, the Foundation has dedicated $900,000 over two years to organizations providing critical programs and services to disadvantaged seniors across the state. The grant recipients provide services in four key areas that contribute to the wellbeing of Maine’s seniors: food insecurity, transportation, home repair and companionship.
“The data in this new report confirm what folks working on this issue have long believed: that far too many of Maine’s seniors face some very challenging issues,” explained Tony Cipollone, president and CEO of the John T. Gorman Foundation. “We wanted to respond appropriately to help address some of these issues, and believe that supporting nonprofits that have a deep understanding of seniors’ needs in our state is the best way to do so.”
The John T. Gorman Foundation advances and invests in innovative ideas and opportunities that improve the lives of Maine's most vulnerable people. The independent, statewide Foundation focuses on four key areas: Improving educational achievement for children, promoting successful transitions to adulthood for vulnerable older youth, helping struggling parents to support their families and enabling low-income seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible. The Foundation's work is guided by data, evaluation, national best practices and lessons from the initiatives in which we invest. We also seek to inform and influence practice and policy on issues affecting disadvantaged children, youth, families and seniors.