Montgomery County Releases 2022 ‘Age Friendly Initiative Progress Report’ That Highlights Innovative Growth to Service Delivery for Older Residents

by Patrick Herron

Montgomery County first enrolled in the World Health Organization/AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities in December 2015. It now joins more than 700 Age-Friendly communities across the country and more than 20 other nations around the world. By 2030, Montgomery County’s population is projected to be 1,124,790 and more than 25 percent residents will be age 60 or over (281,198).

“The COVID pandemic may have changed how local governments deliver services to older residents, but our commitment has remained the same – Montgomery County will continue to be a community for a lifetime,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.  “This report has shown that our Age-Friendly team has consistently demonstrated innovation, flexibility, and a collaborative spirit in addressing needs of the older population and our wider community. With our older adult  population expected to continue to grow in the coming years, this report will serve as an important marker of progress, but also as a roadmap for the work that lies ahead.”

The Age Friendly Initiative addresses issues through areas of focus (“domains”), such as civic and social involvement; communication and outreach; elder abuse prevention; employment; health and wellness; home and community-based services; housing; planning; outdoor spaces; buildings; senior public safety; and transportation and mobility.

The 2022 report highlights work and plans of the 10 domains. Examples of recent innovative programs include:

  • The Senior Nutrition Program (SNP), which serves meals to eligible residents at more than three dozen locations.  During the early days of the COVID-19 health crisis, the Food Security Task Force expanded the SNP’s reach and efforts. The task force is comprised of partners from government, public schools, food services, transportation and others to promote and coordinate delivery of food.
  •  Senior Planet Montgomery. For the past six years, Senior Planet from AARP has been helping older adults locally (and across the country) learn new skills, adopt financial literacy, increase physical activity and make new connections. Online courses have enabled Senior Planet Montgomery to expand from 800 local in-person participants to 10,000 online. Courses are offered in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
  •  The Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force. Composed of representatives from the Police Department, State’s Attorney’s Office and DHHS, the group regularly discusses difficult cases of abuse/neglect/financial exploitation involving vulnerable adults. Members problem-solve and share information to advance individual and public safety. Virtual platforms have made it possible for even greater participation.
  •  Mobile Integrated Health Program to Reduce Impact of Users of 911. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program connects residents with safety net services to ultimately reduce their interactions with emergency medical services (EMS) and hospitals. MIH works closely with DHHS’ Adult Protective Services (APS) team that includes a nurse and a social worker.

In addition to releasing the progress report, staff members are currently planning the third Summit on Aging that will take place later in 2023. Previous summits were held in 2008 and 2015. Representatives from local government, private, pubic, nonprofit, educational, faith-based, health care organizations and residents will examine progress, address challenges and identify opportunities for new collaborative efforts.

For more information on the Age Friendly Initiative and to read the full 2022 Age Friendly Initiative progress report, visit the County’s senior website.  For more information on AARP’s Age-Friendly initiative, visit AARP’s website.


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