DEPARTMENT OF AGING


ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS

The Department of Aging protects the rights and quality of life of older persons in the State. To meet the needs of Maryland senior citizens, the Department administers programs throughout the State, primarily through local "area agencies" on aging. Area agencies are designated by each county and Baltimore City to administer State and federal funds for local senior citizen programs. These programs include advocacy services, health education, housing, information and referral, in-home services, and nutrition.

The Department originated in 1959 as the State Coordinating Commission on the Problems of the Aging (Chapter 1, Acts of 1959). It was renamed Commission on the Aging in 1971 (Chapter 595, Acts of 1971). The Governor, in 1974, established the Governor's Coordinating Office on Problems of the Aging. In 1975, the Commission and the Office merged to form the Office on Aging, a cabinet-level agency (Chapter 261, Acts of 1975). In July 1998, the Office was restructured as the Department of Aging, a principal executive department (Chapter 573, Acts of 1998).

The Department monitors and provides technical assistance to a network of nineteen area agencies on aging that serve all counties and Baltimore City. Grants of federal and State funds for local programs to serve the elderly are provided by the federal Older Americans Act (Title III), the federal Food and Agriculture Act (sec. 700), and State general funds. Area agencies also receive local funds, private donations, and contributions from program participants.

Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Secretary of Aging serves on the Governor's Executive Council and the Assisted Living Programs Board. To evaluate services needed by elderly persons and set priorities for meeting these needs, the Secretary chairs the Interagency Committee on Aging Services. The Secretary also serves as advocate for the elderly at all levels of government.

The Department of Aging works through four divisions: Client Services and Long-Term Care; Housing Services; Nutrition and Community Services; and Planning and Operations. The Department is aided by the Commission on Aging, and the Financial Review Committee (Code 1957, Art. 70B).

CLIENT SERVICES & LONG-TERM CARE DIVISION

The Client Services and Long-Term Care Division was organized in 1995 to direct the programs previously administered by the Nutrition and Community Services Division and the former Housing and Continuing Care Division.

The Senior Care Program helps arrange and fund services, such as home delivery of meals, personal care, assistance with purchasing medications, transportation, and adult day care. The Program thus enables seniors with medical disabilities to stay in their own homes.

Senior Advocacy Programs protect vulnerable or at-risk older persons living at home or in institutions through a system of coordinated services. Programs include Legal Assistance, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Public Guardianship, Elder Abuse Prevention, and Senior Health-Insurance Counseling and Advocacy.

HOUSING SERVICES DIVISION

The Housing Services Division began as the Housing and Continuing Care Division. When it was assigned functions of the former Long-Term Care Division in 1993, it was renamed the Housing and Long-Term Care Division. In 1995, it became the Housing Services Division.

The Division administers Senior Assisted-Housing and Congregate-Housing Services which combine housing with support services for frail residents of senior apartment projects and group homes. The Division also regulates continuing-care retirement communities which provide housing and health-related services for the payment of an entrance fee and a monthly service fee.

NUTRITION & COMMUNITY SERVICES DIVISION

The Nutrition and Community Services Division was renamed the Community Services and Nutrition Division in 1994. It resumed its original name in 1995. The Division directs the local administration of programs and services for the elderly. These include nutrition, transportation, senior information and assistance, health promotion, physical fitness, and senior center operations and construction.

SENIOR INFORMATION & ASSISTANCE OFFICES
Under the Nutrition and Community Services Division, Senior Information and Assistance Offices help older persons seeking services and benefits from public and private agencies. In each county and in Baltimore City, these offices assist the elderly in obtaining information about community services, health care, housing, income and financial aid, as well as transportation; employment and training; and legal services. The offices also refer senior citizens to these services.

PLANNING & OPERATIONS DIVISION

The Planning and Operations Division began as the Planning and Evaluation Division. It was reorganized as the Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs Division in 1993 and resumed its original name in 1995. The Management Division merged with the Planning and Evaluation Division to form the Planning and Operations Division in 1997.

The Division is responsible for financial management, procurement, general administration, program evaluation, review of the local area agency on aging plans, research, and staff development. The Division also administers the Senior Community-Service Employment Program. The Program arranges part-time paid employment for older persons who wish to improve their job skills or learn new skills.

Maryland Executive Departments


Maryland Manual On-Line

 Maryland Manual On-Line, 1998

July 10, 1998   
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