SeniorsPlus, the designated Agency on Aging for Western Maine, held its annual breakfast to benefit its Meals on Wheels nutrition program. The 2023 Fill the Plate Breakfast had a capacity audience on the morning of Friday, March 10 the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch in Auburn. The breakfast honored Auburn resident Eloise O’Neill with the 2023 Ikaria Award and featured a talk by former WGME-TV award-winning, longtime anchor Kim Block.
Kim Block, the five-time Emmy award winning journalist who was the anchor at CBS affiliate WGME-TV for 39 years, stepped down after suffering from a traumatic brain injury in 2019. Unexpected open heart surgery followed in 2020. At the breakfast, she shared how life can change in a moment and how she has brought meaning to her new life in a talk titled, “Becoming the Story: A Maine Broadcast Journalist Shares How Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury Changed Her Life.”
The event included the presentation of the 2023 Ikaria Award, which recognizes an individual or organization for singular and outstanding contributions toward improving the lives of older adults, to Eloise O’Neill, who was the Executive Director of SeniorsPlus from 1981-2003.
Ikaria is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It is considered one of the world’s five “Blue Zones” – places where an estimated one in three members of the population regularly lives an active life into their 90s.
The Fill the Plate Breakfast is presented in conjunction with March for Meals, a national campaign of the Meals on Wheels America.
Last year, SeniorsPlus delivered almost 175,000 meals to homebound older adults and adults with disabilities in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties through its Meals on Wheels program. Each meal provides one-third of the recommended daily allowance of nutrition, a safety check and a visit to these vulnerable adults. The majority of the clients of Meals on Wheels are lower income or on fixed income.
The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus is to assist older adults and adults with disabilities in our tri-county area to remain at home safely for as long as possible. The overwhelming majority of older adults (greater than 95% in an AARP survey) wish to remain at home until they die. The Meals on Wheels program provides nourishment, socialization and regular safety checks.