[photo, 301 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland] The Department of Aging protects the rights and quality of life of older persons in Maryland. To meet the needs of senior citizens, the Department administers programs throughout the State, primarily through local "area agencies" on aging. Area agencies are designated by each county and Baltimore City to administer State and federal funds for local senior citizen programs. These programs cover advocacy services, health education, housing, information and referral, in-home services, and nutrition (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-201 through 10-214).

301 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland, December 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

To a network of nineteen area agencies on aging that serve all Maryland counties and Baltimore City, the Department monitors and provides technical assistance. Grants of federal and State funds for local programs to serve the elderly are provided by the federal Older Americans Act (Title III), the federal Food and Agriculture Act (sec. 700), and State general funds. Area agencies also receive local funds, private donations, and contributions from program participants.


Heading the Department of Aging, the Secretary of Aging is appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. 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 Assisted-Living Facilities, and serves as advocate for the elderly at all levels of government. In addition, the Secretary serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the Interagency Disabilities Board; the Health and Human Services Referral Board; the Interagency Council on Homelessness; State Coordinating Committee for Human Services Transportation; the Maryland Commission on Suicide Prevention; the Maryland Veterans Trust; and the Governor's Workforce Investment Board.

The Secretary directly oversees Communications and three divisions: Information Technology; and Operations and Fiscal Services. The Office is aided by the Commission on Aging, and the Financial Review Committee.


In 1998, the Information Technology Division began as the Information Technology Unit under the Planning and Operations Division. The Unit was placed under the Deputy Secretary in October 2000, and transferred to the Office of Secretary as the Information Technology Division in July 2007.

Responsible for meeting standards set by the Department of Information Technology, the Division develops information technology policies and procedures for the Department of Aging, and provides for the information technology support and service needs of the Department. For networking functions, software development, and web page updates, the Division procures and maintains equipment and software to facilitate the Department's business processes.


The Operations and Fiscal Services 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. In July 2006, it was renamed the Budget and Fiscal Services Division, and in July 2014, combined with Operations and restructured under its current name.

For the Department, the Division provides fiscal services, grant management, general administration, and procurement and program evaluation. It conducts research and reviews plans of local agencies on aging.


The Deputy Secretary oversees three divisions: Client and Community Services; Continuing Care; and Long-Term Care Services and Supports. Further, the Deputy Secretary is responsible for Legislation and Federal Programs, the Office of Long-Term Ombudsman, and Medicaid Supports Planning.

Required by the federal Older Americans Act (originally enacted in 1965), the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman was established by statute in the Department of Aging in June 2010 (Chapter 155, Acts of 2010). The Office oversees the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The Program receives and resolves complaints made by or for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. To accomplish its goals, the Program works through nineteen local programs based in local area agencies on aging.


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 is responsible for the local agencies on aging, and five programs: Eldercare Affairs; Nutrition and Health Promotion; Senior Care; Senior Centers; and Senior Information and Assistance.

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

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

Established in January 2008, the Eldercare Affairs Unit directs the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and Caregivers Support and Elder Abuse Prevention.

In June 2010, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was established by statute in the Department to ensure compliance with the federal Older Americans Act. The Program receives and resolves complaints made by or for residents of long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes and assisted living facilities (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-901 through 10-911).

[photo, Senior Citizens' Center, 19 Frederick St., Cumberland, Maryland] LOCAL AGENCIES ON AGING
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.

Senior Citizens' Center, 19 Frederick St., Cumberland, Maryland, July 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

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.

Through wholesome meals, nutrition education, and social activities, Senior Nutrition Programs seek to improve the quality of life of older persons. Health Promotion Programs provide essential education and services to promote overall health, physical fitness, and mental ability.

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

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.


Within the Department of Aging, the Continuing Care Division formed in August 1999. Formerly, its functions had been carried out by the Housing Services Division.

The Continuing Care Division regulates continuing-care retirement communities. These communities may not offer continuing care, enter into or renew continuing care agreements, begin construction for a new facility, begin construction of an expansion to or renovation of an existing facility, or collect deposits for continuing care in Maryland unless certified by the Division (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-407 through 10-416).

Continuing-care retirement communities are specific types of retirement housing which offer a combination of housing and services, including access to medical and nursing services or other health-related benefits. These are offered to individuals who have paid a substantial entrance fee and signed contracts covering a period of more than one year (usually for life). Health-related benefits may include full coverage of nursing care in an on-site nursing center at no additional fee or may be limited to priority admission to a nursing home with additional fee for services. The substantial entrance fee and contracts covering a period of more than one year are the features that distinguish these communities from others. Services are offered to individuals, age 60 or older, who are not related to the provider.

The Division also regulates continuing care at home, which includes health services and assistance with the maintenance of a person's dwelling. Services are offered for the life of an individual, or for a period of more than one year where a written agreement has been executed between an individual and the provider, and the transfer of assets and/or a substantial entrance fee is required (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-453 through 10-460).


The Long-Term Care Services and Supports Division started 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, and in January 2011, reorganized under its present name.

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.

Under the Division is Maryland Access Point, which helps individuals and their caregivers plan and make decisions concerning their long-term care, as well as find the services they need.

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