The Carroll County Commission on Aging will continue to offer enthusiastic support to the county Bureau of Aging during the coming year, said the commission's new chairwoman, Vivian Nusbaum.
"People do not realize the help they can get from Jan [Bureau of Aging Chief Janet B. Flora] and all of her workers," Mrs. Nusbaum said. "They're super."
The commission members elected Mrs. Nusbaum to the post Jan. 11.
Her term as chairwoman will expire in January 1995.
Mrs. Nusbaum, 69, has been a member of the Commission on Aging since 1989.
Her second three-year term as a commission member will expire in December 1995.
She said one of her goals for the commission this year is to inform more Carroll seniors about how much help the county can provide.
She said she learned firsthand three years ago how helpful the Bureau of Aging staff can be, when her son's mother-in-law became ill.
Bureau of Aging staff were able to help, including giving assistance in the preparation of a living will.
The Commission on Aging's purpose, according to its bylaws, is to advise the Bureau of Aging on all matters relating to its plan to meet the needs of older residents.
Its 15 members are appointed by the county commissioners.
Asked if Commission on Aging members would be able to maintain enough independence from the Bureau of Aging to allow them to act as the bureau's advisory board, Mrs. Nusbaum said they would.
"I think they would speak out" if they disagreed with a Bureau of Aging policy, she said. "We have outspoken people, and they will say it's wrong."
But Mrs. Nusbaum was realistic about the commission's powers.
"We are not the people who are in the middle working, and know all the ins and outs," she said, although some commission members, such as former chairman Richard Warehime and Peg Sheeler, head of the commission's legislative committee, have expertise in health issues and other matters.
The commission's strength, Mrs. Nusbaum said, is that "we know what's happening with the older people in the communities."
Mrs. Nusbaum said she would like the commission to be able to tackle transportation issues, which are critical to many older Carroll countians.
But money is a constraint, she said, and the commission has no control over purse strings.
"We're not a great big powerful group," she said.
This year, Mrs. Nusbaum said, she hopes the commission will continue to work for community-based care programs to help older residents stay out of nursing homes as long as possible.
She said she will also seek the county commissioners' approval to change the rule prohibiting a Commission on Aging member from serving more than two consecutive three-year terms unless the county commissioners grant an exception.
"If you get someone good, you hate to see them go off [the commission]," she said, adding that when you join the commission, "It takes you a while until you really know what's happening."
Also, she said, "It's sometimes hard getting people to fill the positions."
Mrs. Nusbaum said she likes meeting new people.
"I guess I'm just one of those people who stick their nose out," she said.
Zel,.5l She serves as liaison between the Commission on Aging and the State Nutrition Advisory Council, a group of senior center site managers from around the state that meets quarterly in Baltimore to discuss issues of interest to seniors.
She is a member of the Carroll County cable television committee, a former member of the Union Bridge Town Council and chairwoman of the board of directors of the Union Bridge community center.
She has been organist at Union Bridge United Methodist Church for about 35 years, she said.
Mrs. Nusbaum also works at the Hartzler Funeral Home in Union Bridge.
She and her husband, Frances "Bud" Nusbaum, have two sons and four grandchildren.
Yesterday, Mrs. Nusbaum was helping her neighbors chip their cars out of the ice.
"Never a dull moment," she said. "We have a busy life."