Seniors unit chief reaches out to aged

January 08, 1995|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Sun Staff Writer

The new director of the Baltimore County Department of Aging wants to get the word around that his department has a lot to offer senior citizens.

"Many of our seniors don't want to be associated with senior centers because they think they mean 'old,' but they're missing a valuable experience," said Charles L. Fisher Jr., a 27-year veteran of county government.

Mr. Fisher, 48, of Dundalk succeeds Dr. Phillip Pushkin, who has become the county's director of emergency management.

"The median age of the county is getting higher rapidly," he said, "and we want more seniors to take advantage of the social and physical services that we offer."

The 1990 census lists the county's population at 692,000, of which about 138,000 are 60 or older.

"We touch about 25 percent of that 138,000," Mr. Fisher said, "but we have the capacity to handle many more."

Mr. Fisher supervises a department that has 223 employees, 18 senior centers and an $8 million budget, $3.4 million of which comes from county taxpayers.

"I don't have any preconceived ideas," he said. "It is a good department, but these have been difficult times because of budget cuts. I want the employees to feel comfortable, and I want to maximize our services."

Mr. Fisher was an associate director of the Department of Aging from June 1979 to March 1982. He had been deputy director of the county Department of Recreation and Parks in charge of day-to-day operations for 12 years before his recent appointment.

Among services provided by the Department of Aging are adult day care, which provides medical and social support at three centers; CountyRide, which provides low-cost transportation for the elderly and disabled; employment assistance, for those who want to rejoin the work force; legal assistance; counseling; temporary in-home care; and various food programs.

The senior centers also have numerous social and self-improvement opportunities.

For information on services for senior citizens, call 887-2594.

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