“Aging in place” is a common theme in senior services today, but how can Frederick County’s low-income seniors access the services they need to stay well and remain in their homes?
Whether renting or living in a home they own, seniors with limited financial resources often need help to maintain their independence. Frederick County does not have adequate congregate senior housing to meet the growing senior population need, especially given the higher cost of living, so it is imperative that seniors continue to be able to reside in single-unit housing throughout the county.
Advocates for the Aging, Frederick Health, and the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick developed a pilot program for Service Coordination in Single-Unit Housing in 2019 funded through a major grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission and additional funding from local foundations. The two-year project focused on serving one hundred low-income seniors holding Housing Choice Vouchers for rental housing through the Housing Authority with three important goals:
- Completed implementation of a service coordination model for participants in single-unit housing throughout the County
- Implementation of data collection/sharing resulting in a dashboard tracking measurable change in key data points
- With the program in place, a 50% reduction in the number of low acuity EMS calls by the study population and a 50% reduction in the number of low-acuity visits to the Frederick Health emergency room by participants within two years
- With those reduction goals, an anticipated improvement in physical, mental, and emotional health outcomes, fewer falls, lower scores on loneliness and depression scales, and improvements in chronic care management through expanded connections to and greater utilization of earlier and preventative care.
A full-time service coordinator and a Community Health Worker (CHW) employed through Frederick Health enrolled seniors in the program and developed service plans to meet the seniors’ needs. Additional medical evaluation services were provided through Frederick Health. A community advisory board provided professional oversight.
The 2020 COVID pandemic delayed the program’s initial enrollment of participants, but by the start of 2022 the program was well underway reaching 75% of enrollment goals and operational processes implemented. As the original grant funding ends in 2022, a $1.1 million grant from Frederick County Government through federal ARPA funding (American Rescue Plan Act) will now carry the program forward for another two years. The continuing project will expand the number of seniors served and will incorporate home-based care for eligible seniors through Frederick Health’s Support & Geriatric Care Program.
Original Project Funders:
- The Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (MCHRC)
- The Community Foundation of Frederick County
- The Delaplaine Foundation
- The William E. Cross Foundation
- The Lewis Endowment for Advocates for the Aging of Frederick County
Continuing/Expanded Project Funder:
- Frederick County, Maryland, through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding