Frederick County Government Services
In 2012, Frederick County conducted a federal grant-funded survey of seniors that resulted in a published “Needs Assessment of the Aging Population of Frederick County.” The survey listed 7 major areas of need:
- Accessible and affordable housing
- Transportation Options
- Long term services and support
- Opportunity for health
- Social and civic engagement
- Economic and workforce development
- Communications, outreach and collaboration
In 2014, newly-elected County Executive Jan Gardner appointed a Seniors Leadership Team, which included several Advocates’ volunteers, to review the Needs Assessment and make recommendations for implementing suggested action plans. That review resulted in 5 suggested goals:
- Reform and revitalize the Department on Aging to champion the needs of the growing senior population
- Ensure senior wellness and quality of life
- Provide resources for senior services
- Ensure seniors have adequate and affordable housing and health care
- Provide transportation options for use by seniors
As a follow-up, Executive Gardner created a Seniors First Committee charged with creating an action plan to meet the first goal. The committee included two members of the Advocates board of directors, and the yearlong effort resulted in a plan now being implemented by the County Executive in 2017. At its crux, the Seniors First Committee recommended:
The committee’s review of available financial and service data, along with consumer review of current services for older adults, brings us to the conclusion that a structural overhaul of county-run senior services is overdue. Simply adding some additional staff, moving individuals to different offices or even expanding financial resources will not change the current dynamic, nor will any such short-term measures create a management structure capable of addressing the needs of the rapidly growing older adult population. In order to make the best possible use of current taxpayer dollars, and ensure that future funding results in effective and response care and service, the County Executive is urged to retire the current structure, and rebuild from the ground up. We urge consideration of a new approach that champions the needs and gifts of older adults within a data-driven process that values innovation, a willingness to partner outside of county government, and exceptional customer service and data management. This new approach would elevate what has been the Department of Aging to a division level entity within the county government. It would move the “traditional aging services” from its current position in the Citizens Services Division to a division unto itself.
The Advocates for Aging of Frederick County will continue to perform periodic review of the progress being made in meeting the goals of the report.
Health Care for Elders
Advocates has partnered with Frederick Memorial Hospital, the Frederick County Health Department and other interested parties in seeking new ways to ensure person-centered care for the county’s older population. Discussions and activities underway include:
- The possible long-term development of a PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Program in Frederick County
- Near-term options for development of a geriatrics service line at FMH
- Support of continuing education in geriatric services for physicians, nurses and other caregivers
- Support of data collection and research to create a fuller picture of elder care needs and services in Frederick County
- Participation in the committee on senior health and transportation needs in the Local Health Improvement Plan (LHIP) process through the Health Department and the Health Care Coalition
Caregiving Support and Transportation
Advocates participates in the joint Commission on Aging/Chamber of Commerce Business Task Force on Senior Issues. The Business Task Force has:
- Raised awareness of the transportation issues facing seniors and held a first-ever panel discussion of those issues with transportation service providers from around the county
- Created an information campaign on caregiving for the business community in conjunction with the Department on Aging, Frederick City government and the Chamber
- Co-sponsored an event for human resource professionals and business leaders on caregiving
Assisted Living for Poor Seniors
Advocates is an outgrowth of a citizen-led campaign to maintain the county ownership and subsidy of Montevue Assisted Living, the only assisted living option in the county for individuals in need of services who cannot afford the option of private-pay care.
Advocates’ Role: We are closely tied to this particular county service, and have a commitment to watching its function, advocating for the best possible health care for residents, and providing a public eye on the function, financial well-being and provision of health services at Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center, the county-owned center whose profits pay for Montevue.
We are also committed to expanding affordable housing and care options for the many other seniors in need of services.