Maine Islands Have Figured Out How to Do Elder Care

BAR HARBOR, ME — Thank you, Down East magazine, and contributing editor Jesse Ellison for your excellent May 2019 piece, “No Elder an Island.” The Mission’s Island Health Director, Sharon Daley, RN, is a pioneer in Maine unbridged island adult family care homes. Among Director Daley’s work with island communities aboard the ‘Sunbeam,’ she also hosts the Mission’s annual Elder Care Conference made up of many people mentioned in Ms. Ellison’s story. // Learn more about Sharon Daley’s work here.

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[Maine Seacoast Mission Island Health Director Sharon] Daley argues, there’s something to be said for the islands’ scaled-down, community-driven approach. “I feel like the islands have figured out how to do eldercare, and the rest of the country needs to follow,” she says.

“Almost all of the eldercare homes on the mainland are really large, and I think even though they try hard, it becomes more institutionalized. Everyone is lined up in wheelchairs. Staff is usually overworked, and it’s heavy work.

“People don’t like to visit. My father was in a place like that, and I had to brace myself every time I walked in. These places are not like that.”

Excerpt: No Elder an Island, by Jesse Ellison, Down East, May 2019