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Mobile Workshops: Thursday, June 20, and Friday, June 21

2019 AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop, Portland, Maine

View of Maine beach

View of a beach in Saco, Maine, where participants traveled to see a walkway that gives those with mobility challenges access to the ocean.

Guided Tours: Thursday, June 20, 2:15 - 5:15 pm

Senior Affordable Housing in Rural Communities

Many rural communities find it difficult to provide housing that's affordable and safe for older residents. Learn how Avesta Housing, a nonprofit housing provider in Maine and New Hampshire, works with municipalities to create smaller-scale affordable housing projects for older adults. Workshop participants will travel by charter bus to Avesta Housing properties outside of Portland and learn about other rural properties as well as financing and development strategies.

Community Walking Assessment With App Technology

Use a new smartphone app to conduct a walking audit of Freeport, Maine. Traveling from Portland by charter bus, attendees will visit the Freeport Community Center to learn about the town's age-friendly work and then explore and rate Freeport's walkability and pedestrian safety. (You might want to use the app to test the route to L.L. Bean's flagship store, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.)


Beach mats in Saco, Maine

Attendees visited Saco, Maine, to see beach mats that allow wheelchair users and others to access the ocean.

Guided Tours: Friday, June 21, 9:00 am - Noon

Explore the Trails of Portland

Multi-use trails are an important community feature. Portland Trails has facilitated the creation and maintenance of a more than 70-mile trail network in Greater Portland. These recreation and transportation trails span four municipalities and reach within a halfmile of every residence in Portland. The trails are used daily by all sorts of people for commuting to work or school, for midday mental health breaks, afternoon walks with friends, and vigorous mountain bike rides. Portland Trails staff will explain their collaborative approach for working with government, businesses and residents to transform Greater Portland into a healthier community.

Accessibility and Pedestrian-Safety Tour of Coastal Maine Communities

Visit two of southern Maine's most active age-friendly communities and learn how local needs were addressed through partnerships and grant funding. Participants will travel by charter bus to see a walkway that enables wheelchair users and others with mobility challenges to have full access to the beach and ocean — some for the first time in their lives. The partners who worked with Age-Friendly Saco to move the "beach mat" from a dream to reality will be present to answer questions. After a trolley ride to Old Orchard Beach, the tour will visit a traffic roundabout that turned a dangerous rotary into a welcoming and safe space for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Local leaders, transportation officials and representatives from the Bike Coalition of Maine will explain the work and answer questions.


Crosswalk in Old Orchard Beach, Maine

In Old Orchard Beach, attendees toured a revitalized city block that the local community transformed into a safe space for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Self-Guided Tour

Visit Portland's Age-Friendly Businesses

An age-friendly community is good for local residents and local businesses. Pick up an information packet about Portland's Age-Friendly Business program — and then explore the city's historic downtown to enjoy the sites, tastes and sounds of the Old Port and see which businesses have signed on as being age-friendly.

Visit the "Smart Home on Wheels"

Smart technology can be used to dramatically increase the independence and quality of life of older adults and people with disabilities. Part of Oak Hill Assistive Technology's New England Assistive Technology Center, the Smart Home on Wheels is a mobile demonstration center where individuals and groups can learn how technology can support independent living.  


2019 AARP Rural Livability Workshop 

To return to the main conference page, visit or bookmark: AARP.org/RuralLivability

Route 424 South, Maryland

Illustration by 123rf