Older adults are assets, with plenty to give to help build Baltimore’s future. Anywhere I’ve been in life, God has placed older adults around me as my dearest friends and confidants, as mentors, and as people to serve. Our attention and duty to this wonderful population, full of wisdom and grace, should be ever vigilant and ever engaging. There is a dire need for better funding, stronger leadership and more inclusive services for older adults. This is especially true in a pandemic era. We have realized now that we are missing crucial inroads for connecting with this important and growing population.
- Action Item 1: Require age-friendly communities. Hold agencies and the private partners receiving state funds accountable for addressing how their work addresses the eight AARP-recognized aspects of building a livable community.
- Action Item 2: Ensure every Maryland agency has a funded plan to get their services to older adults, particularly in ways that do not rely on email or internet. Use fierce oversight to ensure agencies are making that connection in ways that meet the needs of older adults.
- Action Item 3: Fund new and more robust programming at Baltimore’s senior centers. This includes ensuring that each Senior Center is open in times of emergency to help seniors get information and help.
- Action Item 4: Ensure stronger oversight of senior residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities in Maryland. Regardless of financial means, older adults should have ways to raise concerns and get help from an advocate without fear of retribution.
- Action Item 5: End pharmacy deserts. An accessible pharmacy should be in every neighborhood.
- Action Item 6: Review and improve adequacy and wait times for Maryland Transportation assistance.
- Action Item 7: Review and improve availability and adequacy of housing vouchers for older adults.
- Action Item 8: Many older adults have too much income to qualify for means-tested assistance, but not enough income to pay for the services and help they need. In Maryland, we need a new understanding of who is getting left out and action plan for how to include them. We can and must expand the safety net to ensure every older adult can live with dignity, participate fully in all that life has to offer, and maximize their full potential.