Healthful Services

Healthy Acadia and our partners are engaged in multiple initiatives to increase access to healthful services, including:

Graceful Aging Program
Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Program
Transportation Access
Healthy Aging
neighbor4neighbor Fund
On-line Health Information
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Addressing Depression and Chronic Disease
Dental Care Access
Diabetes Prevention Program
Taking Action for Health
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Healthy Acadia's Graceful Aging Program provides opportunities for seniors to maintain active lifestyles. The program, coordinated by Susan Sassaman, will feature a variety of free weekly exercise classes for older adults at any fitness level.  “Low-impact, low-stress exercise classes enhance senior health and overall quality of life, said Graceful Aging Program Coordinator Susan Sassaman. Participating in regular physical activity offers many health benefits for both mind and body, and regular class meetings also provide an opportunity for seniors to build and maintain social connections.
All classes are free, with funding support provided by grants from The Stroud Fund of St Mary’s and St Jude’s and the Parkinson’s Wellness Fund. Donations will be accepted. For more information about the Graceful Aging program, contact Susan Sassaman at 288-8103 or 


See class descriptions below. View/print class schedule here.


Graceful Aging Movement Classes for Seniors

Chair Yoga.
Get all the benefits of Yoga supported in a chair. Strength, flexibility and alignment coupled with deep breathing and release.
Practice Mindful Meditation sitting in a chair. Focusing on the breath brings health benefits, wellbeing and peace of mind.                                        

Fitness for Parkinson’s                                           
 An exercise routine to improve strength, endurance, and sense of wellbeing. Specifically for Parkinson’s Disease, but open to anyone looking for a well rounded moderate workout. 

Tai Chi for Health 
This evidence-based class improves strength and balance through slow and gentle movement, integrates mind and body, increases flexibility, and coordination.

Yoga for Cancer
Yoga for Cancer (y4c) is a specialized yoga methodology tailored to address the specific physical and emotional needs left by the cancer and its treatments. This unique approach focuses on how to stimulate the immune system through movement. It improves flexibility, strength, reduces anxiety and boosts overall wellbeing. 

The Graceful Aging program is generously supported by grants from The Stroud Fund of St. Mary's and St. Jude's and The Parkinson’s Wellness Fund. All classes are free; donations will be accepted.

For more information about the Graceful Aging program, contact Susan Sassaman at 288-8103 or

Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Project - Washington County

In 2017, Healthy Acadia and Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center, with funding support from the Maine Cancer Foundation (MCF)* and the Jean T. Cummings Fund of Maine Community Foundation, contracted two Cancer Patient Navigators help patients navigate the healthcare and social service systems and community resources to access appropriate diagnostic, treatment, recovery, support, and financial services. 

Our cancer patient navigators bring extensive experience in navigating complex healthcare management systems and can guide cancer patients and their families through every step of the cancer journey. They work with directly patients and healthcare providers throughout Washington County, offering a compassionate and dependable system of support to help facilitate timely access to quality healthcare, empowering patients to be in control of their healthcare and other aspects of their lives, thereby improving patient outcomes and reducing mortality. 

Cancer patient navigators connect patients and families to a variety of resources including:  

  • support groups, 
  • social workers
  • financial assistance
  • transportation assistance
  • home health care / hospice
  • palliative care
  • pastoral support 
  • healthy diet and lifestyle habits to complement individual treatment and recovery protocols.
  • facilitate communications between you and your providers
  • answer questions about what to expect throughout your care
  • coordinate appointments and treatments 
  • provide appointment reminders
  • arrange care between healthcare providers
  • provide emotional support for you and your loved ones  
  • offer tobacco cessation classses and counseling

For more information:

email Angela Fochesato or call 255-3741 


*Maine Cancer Foundation’s grant is offered as part of their ongoing Challenge Cancer 2020 initiative, aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality 20% by 2020. They have awarded nearly million since 2015 in support of this initiative, focused on prevention, early detection and screening, and access to care for all Mainers. To learn more about Maine Cancer Foundation, visit, or contact Kristen Smith,, 207.773.2533. 

Transportation Access

Access to Transportation is a significant challenge for many in our rural communities. Lack of transportation can be a obstacle to reaching needed health and social service appointments as well as employment and other services.

Healthy Acadia is helping to convene the Downeast Acadia Transportation Access Team, a collaborative group of regional organizations and volunteers working to increase access to transportation for all people in Hancock and Washington Counties.

The Downeast Acadia Transportation Access Team has developed several resources to support transportation access:

  • Transportation Brochure - A Brochure with transportation resources across Washington and Hancock Counties. This brochure is available online or in print.
  • Transportation Access Script for Providers - A script for health and social service providers to ask clients if transportation may be a challenge and to provide resources to help.

Call 667-7171 for more information, to get involved, or to receive printed copies of the Transportation Brochure and/or script.

Healthy Aging

Healthy Acadia is committed to making it possible for all of us to age well with dignity, comfort, and choice. Our staff and partners support healthy aging across our communities in a variety of ways.

We currently offer several classes for seniors that teach exercise, balance, and strengthening for healthy living:

  • Matter of Balance - This free, award winning eight-week course is designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. In addition to practicing low-impact exercises, participants learn practical strategies to reduce the risk of falling in their home and in the community. As a result of taking this course, participants will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, and make changes to reduce falls.
  • Tai Chi for Better Balance - This six-month evidence-based course is offered free of charge to seniors who are interested in improving strength and balance through slow and gentle exercises. Throughout the course, participants are introduced to exercises that promote movement control through the integration of mind and body. Research indicates that practicing these mind-body exercises increases flexibility, muscle strength and coordination, thus reducing the risk and fear of falling. In addition, practicing Tai Chi for Better Balance increases confidence, further helping to promote health.

Healthy Acadia teaches the "Matter of Balance" and "Tai Chi for Better Balance" classes through a partnership with Eastern Area Agency on Aging. To find out more about Healthy Acadia's current offerings for these courses, contact Nina by email:, or call 667-7171. We offer these courses throughout Hancock County, and if there is interest in an area currently without a class, we may be able to create a class for you!

Through our Nutrition Education Initiative, Healthy Acadia also offers nutrition and activity classes for seniors:

  • Eat Smart, Live Strong - This 4-class series offers seniors an opportunity to learn about easy ways to integrate healthy eating and physical activity into their lives in a fun and lively environment. In the classes, participants learn how to set and reach personal goals around fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity, how to healthfully adapt favorite recipes, and how to use cost-saving techniques to extend their food budget.

Click here to find out more about Healthy Acadia's current offerings for this and other nutrition education courses.  

We offer nutrition education courses throughout Hancock and Washington counties, and if there is interest in an area currently without a class, we may be able to create a class to meet your interests. For more information, to schedule a class or register for upcoming sessions in Hancock County, contact Jada by email:, or call 667-7171. In Washington County, contact Sara by email: or call 255-3741. 

The neighbor4neighbor Fund provides mini-grants for seniors in need across Hancock and Washington counties.  

The neighbor4neighbor Fund, a program of Healthy Acadia, is now accepting applications from seniors who are facing any one of many life crises which arise unexpectedly and for which a senior may not have adequate funds. The neighbor4neighbor Fund’s mini-grants, capped at 500.00, cover such things as new eyeglasses, dentures, medical equipment, household repairs, or other one-time challenges which can arise and undermine a senior’s ability to live independently and have a high quality of life. 

The philosophy of the neighbor4neighbor Fund is that small grants can make a big difference in a senior’s life and the fund works to provide this kind of financial assistance. The goal is to help people to be healthy, stay in their homes and be able to function independently. Many seniors are struggling just to meet their most basic needs, so unexpected expenses are not part of their budget. 

The neighbor4neighbor Fund is open to seniors in both Hancock and Washington Counties and is administered by Healthy Acadia.  

For more information email Nina Zeldin at or click here. For an application, click here.

On-line Health Information

On-line health resources can provide excellent information to help us improve our health and the health of our loved ones. However, it is critical to know which on-line resources are accurate and relevant. Healthy Acadia strongly recommends several high-quality health information resources, listed below. We also provide trainings for community members and providers on how to most effectively utilize these tools. For more information about trainings, contact Nina Zeldin,

Keep Me Well is easy to use and helps Maine residents assess their risk for chronic diseases, improve their health through education, and learn more about local resources and supports.

Medline Plus provides a wide variety of health resources and enables visitors to search health topics, cross-reference their medicines, review educational videos, and more. An online service of the National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus brings scientifically validated health information to patients, their families, caregivers and learners of all ages.

2-1-1 Maine is a comprehensive statewide directory of over 8,000 health and human services available in Maine. The toll free 2-1-1 hotline connects callers to trained call specialists who can help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Finding the answers to health and human services questions and locating resources is as quick and easy as dialing 2-1-1 or visiting helps people assess their own alcohol consumption patterns to determine if their drinking is likely to be harming their health or increasing their risk for future harm. Through education and referral, the site urges those whose drinking is harmful or hazardous to take positive action, and informs all adults who consume alcohol about guidelines and caveats for lower-risk drinking.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cancer killer among men and women in Maine. Having regular screening tests, beginning at age 50, can save your life. Screening tests can find cancer early, increasing the chance for a full recovery. What is colorectal cancer? Cancers are diseases caused by rapid growth of damaged cells. Colorectal cancer starts as a polyp, or small collection of abnormal cells. Polyps do not cause any symptoms, and can often be removed right when they are found during a colonoscopy.

Top 5 reasons to get screened for colorectal cancer NOW:
  • Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Maine.
  • Screening can find and remove any damaged cells before they turn into cancer.
  • There are no symptoms of colon cancer in its early stages, so getting screened is the only way to know if you are healthy.
  • Colorectal cancer is the easiest to treat when found early.
  • Getting screened can save your life!

For more information about colorectal cancer screening, including opportunities for financial help please call the Colon Screening Hotline at (877) 320-6800 or visit

For more information, contact:
Elsie Flemings at or 667-7171.

Addressing Depression and Chronic Disease

Did you know that depression is one of the most common medical conditions? Often overlooked as a “normal reaction” to illness, depression aggravates symptoms that are already difficult for many to manage. Understanding the links between depression and chronic disease can greatly improve our health and happiness.

Facts: One in five people in Maine will experience depression at some point in their lives. Depression rates are high among patients with chronic conditions. Some 50% of asthma patients and approximately one in six people who have suffered a stroke suffer from major depression (Chapman, Strine 2005, The Vital Link between Chronic Disease and Depressive Disorders).

Tip: Learn the signs!
  • Do you have little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • Do you feel down or hopeless?
  • Do you experience difficulty in sleeping?
  • Are there changes in appetite?
  • Do you feel tired or have little energy?
  • Feel bad about yourself?
  • Are you having trouble concentrating?
  • Have you had thoughts of hurting yourself?

If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, relief may be a phone call away. Contact your primary care physician to start the conversation. Exercise, nutrition, therapy and medications can all play a role in alleviating depression.

Resources: for regional counseling services
Mount Desert Island Behavior Health Center, (207) 288-8604
The Acadia Hospital, (800) 640-1211
Community Health and Counseling, (207) 667-5357
Aroostook/Atlantic Mental Health Center, (207) 498-6431

For more information, contact:
Nina Zeldin, at or 667-7171.

Dental Care Access

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums through preventive dental care is a critical component of overall wellbeing. Good oral health improves our ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, chew, and express ourselves through facial expressions. On the other hand, oral diseases, ranging from cavities to oral cancer, cause pain and disability for millions of Americans each year. Even minor oral problems can impact overall health significantly. Mouth pain can prevent sleep at night, leading to fatigue and increased susceptibility to other illnesses. Recent studies have also linked gum disease with other conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature, low-weight births.

Check out this brochure on "Pregnancy, Infants & Dental Health," created by the Downeast Dental Access Team.

Tips to maintaining oral health:

  • Brush and floss every day to take care of your mouth and your overall health.
  • Visit a dentist on a regular basis to identify potential problems before they become severe, and to take action to address any issues that arise.
  • Maintain good eating habits – limit sugary snacks and brush your teeth immediately after sugary foods are consumed.
  • Apply dental sealants to children’s teeth. The thin coatings protect chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where most tooth decay in children occurs. A systematic review found that sealants provided in school-based programs can prevent up to 60% of tooth decay for 5 years.


CDC, Oral Health At a Glance

Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Change Program

Healthy Acadia lifestyle coaches offer the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based lifestyle change program for preventing type 2 diabetes.

  • The year-long program helps participants make real lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, including physical activity into their daily lives, and improving problem-solving and coping skills.

  • Participants meet with a trained lifestyle coach and a small group of people who are making lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Sessions are weekly for 6 months and then monthly for 6 months.

  • This proven program can help people with prediabetes and/or at risk for type 2 diabetes make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes and cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

Over 625 organizations offer the program nationally. CDC recognized programs, including Healthy Acadia's, are listed on the CDC website at

By improving food choices and increasing physical activity, you can lose 5 to 7 percent of your body weight — that is 10-14 pounds for a person weighing 200 pounds. If you have prediabetes, these lifestyle changes can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half. 

If you have prediabetes or other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, now is the time to take charge of your health and make a change. 

Healthy Acadia offers the Diabetes Prevention and Lifestyle Change Program free of charge for those diagnosed with prediabetes or are who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. 

For program schedules and enrollment information, contact:
Nina Zeldin (Hancock County) at 667-7171 or email
Angela Fochesato (Washington County) at 255-3741 or email

Healthy Acadia's Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Change Program is supported by Grant Number D04RH28404 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Taking Action for Health

Healthy Acadia's "Taking Action for Health" program is the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program developed by the Stanford School of Medicine. "Taking Action for Health" is an an evidence-based program to help those living with a chronic disease discover new tools for managing their chronic condition and maintain an active and fulfilling life.  

“Taking Action for Health” is a free, interactive 18-hour workshop series that is open to anyone living with a chronic health condition, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, arthritis, migraines, asthma, eating disorders, depression and more. Caregivers are also welcome.  Classes meet once weekly for six weeks, for 2.5 hours per session. Participants will learn appropriate use of medications; how to evaluate new treatment options; appropriate exercise for maintaining/improving strength, flexibility and endurance; nutrition information; how to communicate effectively with family, friends and health professionals; techniques to manage frustration, pain, fatigue and isolation; and decision making processes.

The process in which “Taking Action for Health” is facilitated makes it effective, even for those living with multiple chronic conditions. "Taking Action for Health" sessions facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of which are living with chronic conditions themselves. Classes are highly interactive - participants share their progress and successes and provide mutual support and encouragement. This helps increase participants’ self-assurance in their ability to manage their health and maintain active, fulfilling lives. Workshop participants will each receive a copy of the companion book, Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Conditions, and an audio relaxation CD, “Relaxation for Mind and Body.”

"Taking Action for Health" does not conflict with existing programs or treatment. It is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education such as Better Breathers, cardiac rehabilitation, or diabetes instruction. In addition, many people have more than one chronic condition. The program is especially helpful for these people, as it gives them the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.

For program schedules and enrollment information, contact:
Nina Zeldin (Hancock County) at 667-7171 or email
Angela Fochesato (Washington County) at 255-3741 or email

Visit to learn more about "Taking Action for Health." 

“Taking Action for Health” is supported by Grant Number D04RH28404 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

We connect people of all ages with quality, affordable health and social services regardless of income. We age well with dignity, comfort and choice.
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