Federal grant to help aged more easily find government aid

May 19, 2004

With its fast-growing senior population, Howard County is one of two places in Maryland chosen to participate in a three-year, $800,000 federal grant program to make government help easier for older people to find.

The county is to receive $242,000 in federal funds though the state for the pilot effort at what county Office on Aging director Phyllis Madachy said will be a more centralized system to "get people connected with resources."

Madachy said the money will be used to create a computer Web site and a telephone system that will enhance the county's information systems for seniors. Eventually, she said, residents and professionals working with older adults "will be able to apply for public money online."

About 10 percent of Howard's population is ages 60 or older, Madachy said, but it is projected to grow to nearly 25 percent by 2030. "Howard County has one of the fastest-growing aging populations in the state," she said.

Worcester County, which also boasts a fast-growing number of retirees, was the other county chosen for the program, which was announced yesterday at Howard's annual Older Americans Day Celebration.

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