Heading the Department of Aging, the Secretary of Aging is appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. The Secretary of Aging serves on the Governor's Executive Council; and the Subcabinet for Children, Youth, Families. To evaluate services needed by elderly persons and set priorities for meeting these needs, the Secretary chairs the Interagency Committee on Aging Services. The Secretary also chairs the Oversight Committee on Quality of Care in Nursing Homes and serves as advocate for the elderly at all levels of government.

The Department of Aging works through four divisions: Client and Community Services; Housing Services; Planning and Operations; and Program Development. The Department is aided by the Commission on Aging, and the Financial Review Committee (Code 1957, Art. 70B).


In 1998, the Client and Community Services Division formed from the consolidation of the Client Services and Long-Term Care Division with the Nutrition and Community Services Division. The Client Services and Long-Term Care Division organized in 1995 to direct programs previously administered by the Nutrition and Community Services Division and the former Housing and Continuing Care Division. The Nutrition and Community Services Division was renamed the Community Services and Nutrition Division in 1994 and resumed its original name in 1995.

The Client and Community Services Division oversees six programs: Health Promotion; Senior Advocacy; Senior Care; Senior Information and Assistance; Senior Nutrition; and Senior-Center Capital Improvement.

Health Promotion Programs provide essential education and services to promote overall health, physical fitness, and mental ability.

Senior Advocacy Programs protect vulnerable or at-risk older persons living at home or in institutions through a system of coordinated services. Programs include Curb Abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, Legal Assistance, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Public Guardianship, Elder Abuse Prevention, and Senior Health-Insurance Assistance.

The Senior Care Program helps arrange and fund services, such as home delivery of meals, personal care, assistance with purchasing medications, transportation, and adult day care. The Program thus enables seniors with medical disabilities to stay in their own homes.

Senior Nutrition Programs seek to improve the quality of life of older persons through wholesome meals, nutrition education, and social activities.

The Senior-Center Capital Improvement Program makes grants to local governments to supplement the costs of new construction, conversions, renovations, acquisitions, and/or capital equipment to develop senior centers.

Maryland's local agencies on aging were created in 1975 as required by federal guidelines. To administer programs and services tailored to the needs of its elderly citizens, each local governing body designates an agency on aging. The agency may be a unit of local government or a private, nonprofit corporation. The agencies either provide services directly to older persons or contract with public or private units to administer programs.

Local agencies on aging are affiliated with but not subordinate to the Department of Aging. They receive federal and State funds through the Department but also receive support from local government and private sources.

Formerly under the Nutrition and Community Services Division, Senior Information and Assistance became part of the Client and Community Services Division in October 1998.

Senior Information and Assistance directs older persons and their families to services and benefits available through their local agency on aging or private agencies. In each county and in Baltimore City, these offices assist the elderly in obtaining information about community services, health care, housing, income and financial aid, as well as transportation; employment and training; and legal services. The offices also refer senior citizens to these services.


The Housing Services Division began as the Housing and Continuing Care Division. When it was assigned functions of the former Long-Term Care Division in 1993, it was renamed the Housing and Long-Term Care Division. In 1995, it became the Housing Services Division.

The Senior Assisted-Living Group-Home Subsidy Program which subsidizes eligible residents in assisted-living group homes is overseen by the Division. The Division also is responsible for Congregate Housing Services which combines housing with support services for frail residents of senior apartment projects. Through the Division, a Medicaid waiver may allow community care for elderly persons who otherwise would require nursing homes. In addition, continuing-care retirement communities which provide housing and health-related services (for the payment of an entrance fee and a monthly service fee) are regulated by the Division.


The Planning and Operations Division began as the Planning and Evaluation Division. It reorganized as the Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs Division in 1993 and resumed its original name in 1995. The Management Division merged with the Planning and Evaluation Division to form the Planning and Operations Division in 1997.

For the Department, the Division provides financial management, general administration, and procurement and program evaluation. It reviews local agency on aging plans, conducts research, and oversees staff development.


In 1998, the Program Development Division was created. The Division oversees new projects and services administered by the Department and identifies new funding sources for them.

To enhance aging services, the Division establishes partnerships with public and private agencies. It also creates new aging services and products, and helps local agencies on aging identify and obtain grants and other sources of support.

The Senior Employment Program is administered by the Division. The Program arranges on-the-job training for older persons with limited incomes who wish to improve their job skills or learn new skills. These part-time, paid training assignments are coordinated with nonprofit or government agencies and may last up to two years.

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