102 years old, ‘and we are resilient’

Camden Area District Nursing moves into second century of caring for community

‘Not every town has angels like these. Camden is so fortunate’ – Barbara F. Dyer
Mon, 09/25/2023 - 8:30pm

ROCKPORT — Camden Area District Nursing Association recognized its 100th-plus anniversary with a Celebration of a Century, Sept. 21, drawing together citizens who work to keep the backbone of the community strong and healthy. 

“We’re old-fashioned, hands-on nursing, and we are there when you need us,” said Judith Lydon, executive director of Camden Area District Nursing Association (CADNA), speaking to a room full of citizens who had gathered at the Megunticook Golf Club in Rockport to recognize the organization, and help propel it forward into its next 100 years.

“In the past, the Camden community has stood by Camden District Nursing, but the new people that have come here now may not know anything about us,” said Board President Elaine Davis. 

She appealed to those in attendance to help reinforce the efforts of CADNA.

“You are town managers, select board members, fire department representatives, police department, American Legion members,” she said. “Some of you belong to the three different rotaries in town, the Masonic Lodge, the Lions Club, the doctors, lawyers, ministers, therapists, members from different churches, hospice and palliative care people, people who have used our services, new community members, and past board members.”

The celebration took place on a golden September evening, with CADNA staff, board members and friends settling into chairs and tables in the main room, or spilling onto the porch, relaxing in rockers and enjoying the last of the warm summer air.

“Camden Area District Nursing Association is 102, and we are resilient,” said Lydon, who has been director for the past 14 years.

She gave a brief nod to the Covid pandemic, which disrupted the team of CADNA nurses – but not their work – when they were suddenly booted from their Quarry Hill Retirement Community offices in Camden as the shutdown occurred.

For a time, CADNA operated from the Quarry Hill parking lot before the team temporarily relocated to an office on Chestnut Street. Now, however, they are settled into a new office suite at 87 Elm Street in Camden.

“We are moving forward,” Lydon said, and in a place where the public can again be encouraged to drop in, whether they are patients, or family members seeking help to take care of their aging parents and grandparents.

“There are about 50 sets of grandparents I take care of,” laughed Lydon. “We love our work and we are passionate about it.”

That work includes helping chronically ill and elderly citizens of all income levels in the Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville and Hope area, as well as those who have been denied service because they are not homebound or classified as needing skilled care.

Home-care services ranges from help with bathing, to checking blood pressure and conducting wellness checks, giving injections, drawing blood for lab work, helping with medications, and foot care.

CADNA now has room at its new offices to store, and loan, walkers, wheelchairs, crutches and other medical equipment.

“I’m excited after three years to open the invitation back to the community to drop in for visiting hours,” said Lydon. 

Drop-in hours are scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays, from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Come and discuss health concerns, get blood pressure checked, or discuss elderly relatives,” she said.

Lisa Payson, CADNA office manager, initially toured the space last spring with Lydon, Board President Davis, and Treasurer Debra Orosz- Seibel. They all agreed it would be ideal.
“Our new accommodations are exactly the right fit for CADNA,” Payson said. “Easy access to the building, which has proven itself with more foot traffic, as well as prospective clients/patients. The need to borrow durable medical equipment has increased dramatically in the last six months due to access and insurance requirements/restrictions.”
Plus, there is plenty of parking, an elevator to the upstairs office, and room to help patients.
At the Sept. 21 celebration, board members urged the community to help support CADNA.

“These people who are on the board have been doing good work for so many years,” said board member Jesse Bifulco, of Camden.

He noted the strength of a community is illustrated by how caring people are of one another, especially the older generation.

It is a reciprocal partnership, between the caregivers and those who are keeping the community running — the town managers, select board members, lawyers, doctors, firefighters and police — all those mentioned earlier by Davis. 

“We’re here to serve and you are there to give us a helping hand,” said Lydon.

For more information about CADNA, visit camdendistrictnursing.org, or email distnursing@yahoo.com.