May is Older Americans Month
We invite you to join us in celebrating Older Americans Month (OAM) - or as we like to call it "Older Marylanders Month" throughout the month of May - and all year long. This year, the Maryland Department of Aging and our dynamic network of 19 local Area Agencies on Aging are honored to celebrate Older Americans Month through activities, new website and social media content. We thank our local partners, providers, volunteers, and staff who help us accomplish the goals of serving older Marylanders.
Older adults in Maryland and throughout the nation play vital, positive roles in our communities as mentors, volunteers, civic leaders, members of the workforce, family members and trusted friends. Just as each person is unique, so too is the journey of how each person ages. There is no one way to age.
Every year, the month of May is designated as Older Americans Month. To acknowledge this time honored tradition, the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL) designates a national theme. This year’s theme, Age My Way, celebrates independence, choice, and person centered decisions to age in their communities.
While Age My Way recognizes and celebrates the differences in how each person ages, here are a few common strategies that everyone can consider:
Planning: MAP out a plan. Consider what you need and what you would like to have to improve your daily experience in the community. What will you need to maintain your happiness and safety in your home or apartment? Is it food, clothing, a different living arrangement? Do you have an Advanced Directive? Do you have a current list of all medications?
Engagement: Assess your engagement. Would you like to get involved for the first time, maintain your current status, or upgrade your level of involvement in the community? How do you define engagement with your community? Do you volunteer, work, or engage in civic/faith based communities? Are you a caregiver for someone else? Is there something your community lacks that you would like to start an effort to address? Would you like to attend a senior center?
Access: List ways to increase your access. Do you need to think about home improvements and modifications to help you get in and out? Do you need durable medical equipment for greater mobility? Do you need assistive technologies? Do you desire a computer? Can you benefit from computer classes? Do you want a daily telephone call to check on your safety? Could you benefit from daily recorded messages that provide tips on staying healthy, preventing falling prey to scams? Would you like to take a virtual senior center tour? Would you like to have a conversation with your local Area Agency on Aging to optimize your use of supports available to help you better age in your home or apartment? Do you have an emergency plan/bag packed if you had to leave your home in a hurry?
Connection: Make a Connection List. Think of ways to make a connection with others. Do you like to write letters? Would you enjoy getting together with others over lunch and activities? Do you have an interest for something you would like to share with others (reading, sewing, singing, walking, gardening). Do you have a routine to connect with family and friends? Do you like sharing your stories on Facebook with family and friends?
Maryland has over 1.3 million residents age 60 or older, who account for 22.6% of our total population based on 2020 data from the Maryland Department of Planning
. Older Marylanders are a key source of our state’s strength, drawing on lifetimes of experiences, successes, difficulties, and resilience.
When older Marylanders are empowered to stay in their homes and live independently in their communities for as long as possible, it benefits them and their families, friends, and neighbors. For Older Americans Month 2022, we are celebrating the many ways older adults contribute to, support, and benefit from their communities, as well as the many programs, advocates, and providers who help them do so.
It is our distinct honor to announce that Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed May 2022 as Older Marylanders Month. Please take a moment to read the signed proclamation.
Community for LifeSM
Community for LifeSM is a new and innovative program that can help you Age Your Way in your home or apartment.
Maryland Community for LifeSM supports adults, 60 years of age and older, as they age at home. It is a membership program providing a package of services including home maintenance, a service navigator, and transportation. The program’s services are designed to anticipate and prevent predictable challenges that come with aging, such as experiencing a fall while screwing in a lightbulb, the need for transportation to appointments, or locating social activities. Community for LifeSM can address unanticipated needs and prevent the need to seek a high level of care, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Join Community for LifeSM today to Age Your Way. Community for LifeSM is new and growing across the state. Check our listings to determine if a program is available in your area.
Don't Fall Victim to Scams
The Maryland Department of Aging maintains an up to date list of scams and resources to help prevent older adults from falling victim to Medicare Scams, Fraud, and Financial Exploitation. Protecting your identity and financial resources are how to Age Your Way. It is in everyone's best interest to be aware of and know how to avoid scam artists.
Each year, health care fraud, waste, abuse and errors result in the loss of billions of dollars.
Here are 4 webpages that have information on how to protect yourself:
Daily Check In
The key to Age Your Way is making sure you have safeguards in place. Maryland residents who are 65 and older are eligible to sign up for Senior Call Check. The Maryland Department of Aging offers this free, daily automated phone call. If you miss your call, then there is a system in place to ensure that an alternate person is contacted to check in on you. Each daily call shares a brief message to keep Senior Call Check participants aware of COVID-19 updates, health and nutrition tips, scams and fraud alerts, and so much more. Sign up today and invite your friends to sign up too!
Resources to Age Your Way
Maryland Access Point (MAP) is available to answer your questions. Trained information and assistance specialists and certified options counselors are on hand to speak with older adults, caregivers, service professionals, and individuals who seek to plan, identify, connect, and assist with accessing private and public resources for long term services and supports.
Reaching MAP is easy. Call or log onto the website and learn about community programs, transportation opportunities, senior centers, community clubs, nutrition and meals, caregiver resources, veteran services, Medicare options, housing options, volunteer opportunities, and more!
If you are caring for someone who is a resident in a nursing home or assisted living facility, then you can support them to Age Their Way through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP). This program advocates for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about changes at the local, state, and national levels that will improve residents' care and quality of life. Click here to learn more.