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Baltimore County Now - News You Can Use

Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: aging

Ethel Rasmussen, Manager, Office of Communications, Baltimore County Department of Aging

Over the last 27 years, Baby Boomer/Senior Expo has developed into a resource-filled, life-impacting, toe-tapping, two-day event to benefit boomers, persons with disabilities, veterans, older adults, caregivers, professionals and more. We, at the Baltimore County Department of Aging, strive each year to incorporate all of the guest suggestions, community needs and latest trends in the market into a fresh new show for our guests each year.

When our advertisement states “Discover the Power of Age at Baby Boomer/Senior Expo,” it truly means that regardless of your path in life, Expo holds features that will empower, engage and entertain you. Who couldn’t use a little of those three things in their life?

EMPOWER

Okay, EMPOWER is a strong word. How can coming to Expo for a few hours do that? Easy. Expo brings a multitude of resources to a one-stop shop. There is no travel time. Just pay the low admission of $2 or two canned food items and use your program book to chart your course through the show to find the vendors of interest. From housing to leisure to assistance, it is all in one building at the Timonium Fairgrounds.

Further, you can meet individually with many companies and agencies to EMPOWER yourself. For instance, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) will meet with you one-on-one to advise you on the best Medicare Part D Plan for your medication needs (appointments required, call 410-887-2059.) BGE, Verizon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch will talk with you on new opportunities available to you in the fields of energy, technology and money.  Also, there will be a special Veteran Muster area to provide information on resources to seasoned and newly returned veterans and their families.

Lastly and probably the most important, Expo EMPOWERs you through free health screenings. Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services and many other vendors will allow you to have health screening done and give you the results to share with your physician. Preventative health is the key to catching a condition or illness early before you go the doctor with symptoms. What could be better! Free! Plus Maxim and the Department of Aging are partnering to offer flu and pneumonia shots free of charge to those with Medicare Part B.

ENGAGE

ENGAGEment is key to life satisfaction and joy.  Baby Boomer/Senior Expo is all about it!  During the two-day show, you can find a variety of means to connect with the community.  No where is this connection stronger than within the County’s senior center exhibits.  We have a Power of Age Art Show that features local artists that are the champions from our 20 senior centers in seven different art categories ranging from woodwork to painting. Come vote for the Best In Show. Next energize your life by stepping into one of the fitness classes taking place on site and try a new exercise for free. If you like it, you can join a class in your community senior center.

Further, you can ENGAGE yourself by traveling through the Volunteer Fair and the Employment Fair. People of all ages are looking for means to supplement their income. The Employment Fair will bring local companies that are hiring as well as some region resources to help polish your employment search. If you are looking for a way to keep active and don’t want a job, then the Volunteer Fair is just the thing.  Here you can find rewarding ways to give back to your community and make a difference for generations to come!

ENTERTAIN

Let Expo ENTERTAIN you! From the moment is opens to the time it closes, Expo features a wide array of music to you. Do you like barbershop quartets, oldies, big bands? Then plan your day around the ENTERTAINment schedule. The not-to-miss favorite, who is back by popular demand, is the Original Drifters who will perform on Wednesday, October 22 from 4-6p.m. Who couldn’t groove to “Under the Boardwalk”, “This Magic Moment” and “Some Kind of Wonderful?”

Next, we have a Living Life to the Fullest Silent Auction that promises to offer many great baskets full of items to ENTERTAIN you.  From a weekend getaway in Washington DC or Ocean City to snowboarding lessons at Whitetail, the auction is a definite stop on your travels around Expo.

Also, you could win great prizes from the many vendor raffles that are ongoing in addition to the free gift that you get with paid admission. GBMC and BGE have sponsored a travel/medical document holder as our free gift this year.

EMPOWER, ENGAGE & ENTERTAIN

Are you ready for the experience? Baby Boomer/Senior Expo takes place on Wednesday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Timonium Fairgrounds. For more details, visit www.seniorexpoonline.com. 


Dave Sayler, Wellness Specialist, Baltimore County Department of Aging

Research has determined there is a direct link between the likelihood of healthy aging and the amount of exercise older people do. And it is never too early or too late to start! Even if you wait to begin being physically active around retirement age, you still will enjoy significantly better health later in life. Simply put, exercise is one of the best health boosters you can do for yourself. Just moving for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week boosts your health in eight impactful ways.

Every time you exercise, you…..

1.      Lower your stroke risk. Studies show walking is associated with reduced risk of stroke.

2.      Protect against osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, promotes the build-up of new bone reducing your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.

3.      Increase your metabolic rate. After exercising you still continue to burn calories, even if you are relaxing in a chair. But it won’t work unless you exercise first!

4.      Prevent, and even reduce, high blood pressure. Physical activity helps to lower the levels of stress hormones circulating in your blood. This helps to reduce your blood pressure.

5.      Alleviate depression. Exercise can directly affect your mood and increase your overall happiness and life satisfaction.

6.      Reduce your risk of developing cancer. Research has proven that as little as three hours of moderate exercise per week, such as walking, can reduce the risk of cancer.

7.      Lower your blood sugar. Walking can improve your body’s use of insulin and prevent insulin resistance and diabetes.

8.      Reduce your risk of falls. Exercise strengthens your core muscles which helps prevent falls.

Exercise Is Time Well Spent

Every moment spent exercising is time well spent.  If you don’t know how to get started exercising, and you are over 60 years of age, the Baltimore County Department of Aging provides wonderful opportunities to engage in fitness and wellness activities. To explore these options, visit http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/seniorcenters.

Help Seniors and Have Fun

Register you, your friends and your family members in Baltimore County Department of Aging’s eighth annual “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk / 1 Mile Walk” on Sunday, September 21, 2014. This family-friendly event will be held at the CCBC Essex campus, conveniently located near I95 and I695 off of Rossville Boulevard. Let yourself be caught up in the fun and enthusiasm for an event that promotes a great cause: older adult fitness and wellness.

Fitness Pays!

Participating in the Run/Walk can result in financial rewards too! Walgreens has generously sponsored the “Fitness Pays” Grand Door Prize Drawing of $500. To qualify to win the $500, or any of the other wonderful door prizes, simply register for the “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk / 1 Mile Walk” either at www.getreadygetsetgetfit5k.com or a Baltimore County senior center. Once registered, show up at the event (you must be present to win) and turn in your bib tab (the small square on the bottom of your bib number) at the “Fitness Pays” table.  The first 50 people to turn in their bib tab will receive a free SweatSTR towel.

So if you want a longer, healthier life remember to add exercise to your day!

For more information on the “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk/1 Mile Walk” or senior center fitness programming, call 410-887-2040 or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/seniorcenters.


County sealSue DeSantis
 Homeless Services Administrator
Baltimore County Department of Planning

To the average citizen the word “homeless” often conjures up the vision of person pan handling on the corner, living in a tent in the woods or in shelter.  One might think to themselves that folks who are experiencing homelessness should pick themselves up, improve their lives, and get a job.  We often don’t think about or see the larger scope, the complex problems these individuals face or the many services that already exist and how those services are delivered.    

Baltimore County is making a daily difference in the lives of homeless men, women and children and County Executive Kamenetz is committed to not only continuing to support these efforts but to improving and building a stronger system that shifts our focus from shelters to long-term solutions. 

There are more than 550 men, women and children living in homeless shelters across Baltimore County on any given night and hundreds living in places not meant for human habitation such as cars and encampments.  The County with significant community support has devised a 10-Year Plan to shift homeless service delivery and as a result, prevent and reduce homelessness.

The plan, called “A Home for All,” began with an unprecedented community input process in 2010 and grew from the work of the Baltimore County Homeless Roundtable with significant input from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  Subcommittees focused on Housing, Accessing Mainstream Resources, Homeless Prevention and Outreach, Coordinated Assessment and Data Management worked to create seven key strategies:

Strategy One:       Reconfigure the Crisis Response System:
Expand on the current coordinated assessment system and retool the emergency shelter system.

Strategy Two:       Targeted Prevention Assistance
Focus prevention services on those most at risk of homelessness through careful selection and connection to mainstream resources.

Strategy Three:     Rapid Re-Housing
Create a “housing first” approach that combines affordable and permanent housing with supportive services.

Strategy Four:      Accessing Mainstream and Community Resources
Increase connections to mainstream resources in order to create a means for housing and self-sufficiency.

Strategy Five:       Permanent and Supportive Housing
Create new permanent supportive housing units Countywide.

Strategy Six:         Improved Data and Outcome Measures
Build on the existing performance measurement structure through the creation of system-wide data standards and reporting requirements.

Strategy Seven:     Resource Allocation
Align funding sources around common outcomes including housing and supportive services.

Making it Happen:

The Homeless Roundtable, in coordination with these committees, is tasked with carrying out these action items and assuring that the County is moving forward to put in place systems which will result in the reduction and duration of homelessness for residents of Baltimore County.

Baltimore County is committed to realizing the goal of preventing and reducing homelessness, and as a result, has funding to begin to implement a number of the strategies shown above. Specifically, funds have been identified for the following programs:

1.     Pilot Shelter Diversion - The primary goal of the pilot diversion program will be to work with individuals and families seeking shelter to find alternatives to entering the shelter system.

2.     Rapid Re-housing Through this program, families receive housing counseling, assistance in securing housing; time limited rental assistance and case management in order to ensure housing stability. 

3.     Increased Outreach -  Prologue’s Street Outreach Team serves the most chronic and vulnerable homeless population in Baltimore County; those individuals and families living on the streets, in cars and in other places not meant for human habitation. Additional funds will allow for the addition of 1.5 outreach workers to provide outreach and case management, and for the Outreach Center to be open an additional day.

4.     Job Navigator -Perhaps the most significant barrier to obtaining and retaining permanent housing is the lack of adequate income.  To help address this root cause of homelessness, the County has provided funding for a Career Navigator, through the Department of Economic and Workforce Development.  The Career Navigator will work primarily at the shelters and focus solely on employment. 

Moving Forward:

The Homeless Roundtable is close to completing implementation plans for each strategy.  These plans include goals, action steps, planned partnerships, outcomes and performance measures and plans for resource allocation.  These plans will serve as the pathway to preventing and reducing homelessness.

For questions regarding the plan and future efforts, please contact Sue DeSantis, Homeless Services Administrator, Baltimore County Department of Planning, 410-887-2886.


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