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[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 include advocacy services, health education, housing, information and referral, in-home services, and nutrition (Code 1957, Art. 70B, secs. 1-44).

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

The Department monitors and provides technical assistance to a network of nineteen area agencies on aging that serve all counties and Baltimore City. 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. The Secretary of Aging serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the CommunityChoice Advisory Group; the Interagency Disabilities Board; the Governor's Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Mental Health Transformation Working Group. 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.

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

The Information Technology Unit was established in 1998 under the Planning and Operations Division. It was placed directly under the Deputy Secretary in October 2000.


The Budget Management 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 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.


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. These programs provide essential education and services to promote overall health, physical fitness, and mental ability.

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 Care Program. 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.

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

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.

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.


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 1957, Art. 70B, secs. 9-11).

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 1957, Art. 70B, sec. 22A).


The Housing Services 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.

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 Division also is responsible for the Senior Assisted-Living Group-Home Subsidy Program, and Congregate Housing Services.

Senior Assisted-Living Group-Home Subsidy Program. This program subsidizes eligible residents in assisted-living group homes.

Congregate Housing Services. The Program combines housing with support services for frail residents of senior apartment projects.


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.

Senior Employment Program. Directed by the Division, the Program arranges on-the-job training for persons aged 55 and above with limited incomes who wish to improve their job skills or learn new skills. These part-time, paid training assignments in community service are coordinated with nonprofit or government agencies and may last up to two years. The Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, as authorized by Title V of the federal Older Americans Act.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2007

July 6, 2007   
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