Over 48,000 Marylanders 65 And Older Live In Poverty

BALTIMORE – When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. Today, over 38 million citizens are over 65 and over 9 percent of them live below the poverty line. In Maryland, a little over 8 percent of our 640 thousand older citizens are living in poverty.

Every May, people across the country celebrate the enormous contributions of older Americans. The theme of this year’s celebration—Older Americans: Connecting the Community—pays homage to the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of our communities. Their shared histories, diverse experiences, and wealth of knowledge have made our culture, economy, and local character what they are today. The theme also highlights the many ways technology is helping older Americans live longer, healthier, and more engaged lives.

The Department of Human Resources (DHR) focuses it’s services on the needs of the elderly, disabled, and vulnerable adults. It works with local departments of social services and community based organizations to coordinate services for the vulnerable adult population throughout Maryland to promote their safety, stability, and independence. “Despite their valued contributions and their fierce independence, many seniors struggle in silence everyday to meet their basic needs, said Carnitra White, executive director of DHR’s Social Services Administration. “We, as neighbors, and family members, must connect our seniors to the wide array of services and programs that are available to them.”

DHR delivers services with the principles of personal dignity, quality of life, privacy and the right to make choices. Services available to seniors include:

Home Energy Assistance– helps low-income Marylanders pay their utility and home heating bills, minimize heating crises, and makes energy costs more affordable.

Food Supplement program – helps low-income households buy nutritious food.

Medical Assistance – provides health benefits for needy families and low-income disabled individuals.

Adult Protective Service – provides professional services to protect the health, safety, and welfare of endangered, vulnerable adults.

In-Home- Aide Service – provide assistance in the home with chores, light cleaning, and personal care

The Maryland Department of Human Resources is the state’s social service provider. It collaborates with 24 local jurisdictions to: provide foster care, adoption, and protective services to children; collect and distribute child support payments; provide protective services, case- management, supportive housing, in-home aide services, and respite care to vulnerable adults; and provide temporary cash, food stamps, and medical assistance to families. It also funds programs for homeless persons, refugees, and migrant workers. Last year, DHR served over one million people in need. In terms of its annual budget, it is Maryland’s fifth largest state agency.

Help celebrate Older Americans Month! Join your neighbors not only to recognize what older citizens bring to our communities, but also to help our seniors access needed services.

For more information about DHR services and programs, www.dhr.maryland.gov , or call 1-800-332-6347. In addition to the services offered by DHR, the Departments of Aging and Health and Mental Hygiene also offer services to older Marylanders.

Filed in: DHS News, Economic Assistance, In the Press, Local News

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