Programs will help seniors have better lives at home

Letters to the editor

August 29, 2011

Kudos to the Columbia Flier for recent articles (Aug. 17) on the Opting for Independence program and the impact of baby boomers in Howard County. They put a timely spotlight on the benefit of older adults wanting to stay in their local community and the challenges implicit in the aging process.

The Coordinating Center saw Howard County as a perfect place to pilot the Opting for Independence pilot. We are a statewide nonprofit organization providing care coordination for persons with complex medical needs in the community and developed a partnership with the Howard County Office on Aging for this local effort. Funding from the federal Administration on Aging's Community Innovations for Aging in Place program has given us the opportunity to learn effective and sustainable ways for older adults to live in familiar settings.

With changing health needs, we show the older adult and family learn how to use available resources and adopt new strategies as necessary. Most importantly, these strategies reflect the priorities of the older adult and strengthen the nature of family support.

To deepen the community's knowledge about how people are planning for their aging future, in November the Coordinating Center will release the findings of open-ended interviews done with Howard County older adults on their personal plans and what they perceive needing for the future. For more information on Opting for Independence services contact the Office on Aging's Maryland Access Point at (410) 313-5980 or map@howardcountygov.md.

Phyllis Madachy

Columbia

Phyllis Madachy is project director for Opting for Independence and was administrator for the Howard County Office on Aging from 1995 to 2007.

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