By 2030, nearly 40 percent of Talbot County residents will be over the age of 60. To help address the growing concerns for services for this age group, Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot hosted a presentation, “Innovations in Aging” by Rona E. Kramer, Secretary for the Maryland Department of Aging to a full house at the Brookletts Place – Talbot Senior Center.
Kramer spoke of the Department of Aging’s role to “keep Maryland residents living at home or in the community – wherever they want to age.”
She commented, “Within two years of entering an assisted living or nursing home, the average citizen spends down all of their resources. With this huge population aging, we can’t afford not to find better ways to serve everyone.”
Kramer explained that this means backing up services earlier in life and offering them at a reasonable cost to everyone who can afford them. Her recent trip to Israel to learn how they handle services for their aging population was enlightening. She said that in Israel there are no nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The country brings non-medical services to people in their homes as they age.
Photo: From L-R – Rona E. Kramer, Secretary for the Maryland Department of Aging; Frank Divilio, Talbot County Council; Delegate Johnny Mautz, Senator Addie Eckardt, Gary Gunther, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging; Mayor Robert Willey; Chuck Callahan, Talbot County Council; Ron Engle, Easton Town Council; Pete Lesher, Talbot County Council; and Michael Bibb, St. Michaels Commissioner.
Maryland’s Department of Aging researched the “Community for Life” concept and helped communities implement this model locally. To date, there are five “Community for Life” communities in Maryland, including Broadmead in Cockeysville, Keswick in Baltimore, Ocean Pines, Allegany, and Talbot County. This creative and unique program provides a package of services for homeowners and renters. Developed for older adults living independently in their own homes, the Maryland Community for Life program delivers key services in a cost-effective and supportive manner. Specifically, for a monthly fee, members receive basic home repair and maintenance by a community “Handyman,” a list of vetted contractors and contract review, transportation trips, as well as regular contact with a “Service Navigator” to help coordinate access to services and to assist with any needs that may arise.
Before introducing Lee Newcomb, President of the Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot Board, to present how the program works in Talbot County, Kramer highlighted a few other innovations being rolled out by the Maryland Department of Aging. These include a statewide Durable Medical Re-Use Program and a Senior Call Check Pilot Program.
Newcomb introduced Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot program, explaining that currently there are 21 members of the community, with 24 vetted volunteers serving them. She stated, “A Service Navigator, Stacey Woodworth, is now on board to serve members. She works with members to create a program that fits needs now and can be adapted as needs and circumstances change.”
Membership in Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot is open to individuals or households up to three people aged 65 and older who live in Talbot County. Core services are personalized to individual needs. Membership to the program costs $80 a month. While the program does not provide medical services, the Service Navigator can connect members to medical services.
Newcomb clarified that members can receive eight round trips per household per month for their transportation benefits and up to four hours of “handyman” services a month. Social and educational programs are also being offered to members and the public to address social isolation. The first program on preventing fraud will be offered on January 18 from 1 to 2:30 at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton.
She added, “We also hope to offer supportive memberships for people who can’t afford the membership fee.”
Maryland Community for Life℠ – Talbot is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization operating as a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. MD Community for Life℠—Talbot is located at 10 S. Hanson Street, Ste 18, in Easton, Maryland. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To become a member or volunteer, email email@example.com or call 410-443-0760. For further information, visit mdcommunityforlifetalbot.org. Contributions are tax deductible.