Maine is the largest and most rural New England state. Traveling from Kittery to Madawaska takes six and a half hours by car on the interstate, or almost ten hours traveling coastal Route One, assuming ideal weather conditions. The average annual snowfall in Maine is 60 to 110 inches, and the shortest day is 8 hours and 51 minutes with the sun setting at 4:02 pm. These conditions present significant barriers to older Mainers establishing meaningful connections in their communities and accessing needed services that can support and maintain independence.

The Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) partnered with the Muskie School of Public Service to conduct a statewide assessment of community needs of older adults and care partners. The goal of the statewide assessment was to gather information directly from older Mainers living in diverse regions across the state, in both urban and rural settings, to inform the State and its community partners about the most pressing needs around Maine, and to shed light on how best to prioritize existing services - or develop new ones - to meet those needs.