Oh receives inaugural award named in her honor, recognition from Legislature and Gov. Mills for service to older adults

Patricia Oh, senior project manager for the University of Maine Center on Aging, received an award created in her honor, and recognition from the Maine Legislature and Gov. Janet Mills for her service to older adults and communities that support them.  

The Lifelong Communities Fellows, experienced lifelong community leaders who mentor groups starting or expanding a program to make their municipality more livable, especially for older residents, created and gave her the inaugural Patricia Oh Lifelong Communities Award June 3 for her “exceptional contributions to the Age-Friendly, Livable and Lifelong Communities of Maine and Throughout the United States.” Oh also is an adviser to AARP Maine/Livable, and director of the Lifelong Maine AmeriCorps Program.

The annual award will recognize an individual or community that has shown exemplary work in making Maine a better place for all ages to live. 

The Maine Legislature in a joint resolution and Gov. Mills in a letter celebrated Oh’s more than 20 years of service and achievements in the aging field — particularly those accomplishments that improved the lives and well-being of older adults.

Since 2012, Oh has helped foster age-friendly communities across the state and nation, particularly in rural areas. She works with other professionals to develop resources that municipalities can use to enhance their physical, social and service environments to help maintain older residents’ health, well-being and ability to engage in community life.   

During Oh’s tenure, 84 communities in Maine have been designated age-friendly by AARP. Gov. Mills noted in her letter that “in October 2019, the state earned the designation as well, the sixth in the nation to do so.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Lifelong Communities Fellows, the Maine State Legislature, Governor Mills, and Representative Seth Berry,” Oh says. “However, the real heroes of the lifelong, age-friendly movement in Maine are the local volunteer leaders spearheading change in their community and municipal officials and partner organizations who support their work. Thanks to all of them, Maine is becoming an even better place to grow up and to grow old.” 

In addition to working for the UMaine Center on Aging, Oh has served with the Maine Gerontological Society, the Gerontological Society of America, the Sagadahoc County Board of Health, the board of the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative and the Maine Age-Friendly State Advisory Committee. She also has written articles and book chapters about age-friendly community development, is a contributing author to the award-winning AARP Roadmap Livability Series and Rural Livability report, and has presented at state, regional, national and international events.  

“You can be sure that we will display the Patricia Oh Lifelong Communities Award plaque with great pride at the Center on Aging. And, it is only fitting for Patricia to be the inaugural honoree,” says Lenard Kaye, director of the Center on Aging and UMaine professor of social work. “Her expertise and commitment to the age-friendly and life-long community movement in Maine and throughout the United States is, in my opinion, without equal. She has gained a national reputation through her pioneering hands-on work with older adult advocates as well as her scholarship in this area and enabled the University of Maine to assume an increasingly important role in advancing the highly desirable principles of livable communities.” 

The Center on Aging and Maine Community Foundation established the Lifelong Communities Fellows Program to provide training, stipends and other support to volunteers seeking to help communities improve the quality of life for older residents by improving accessibility, developing community gardens, implementing volunteer transportation programs and conducting a host of other initiatives that make the community livable for all ages. These fellows who created the new, annual award in honor of Oh will work with her to further develop the criteria for it and future nominees. 

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721; marcus.wolf@maine.edu