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Keyword: seniors

Food Insecurity Growing Risk for Seniors During COVID-19 Pandemic

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that, beginning next week, the Baltimore County Department of Aging will be expanding its food distribution efforts by providing boxes of food to the County’s older adults. The program will be supported by $590,000 in funding provided through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to specifically target individuals age 60 and older.

“We’re taking another important step to ensure older adults in Baltimore County will not go hungry through this crisis,” Olszewski said. “Promoting food security is a top priority of my administration and we will continue to use all resources available to us to support our residents.”

“We’re pleased to be able to provide this new support for older adults in the County who may have difficultly preparing nutritionally-balanced meals during this uncertain time,” said Laura D. Riley, Director of the Department of Aging. “Before this pandemic, over 600 senior citizens relied on our Eating Together programs each day for nutritionally-balanced meals and we hope that this newly expanded meal distribution will help those in most need.”

Under this new program, each box of food will include three meals and a snack for six days.

“When combined according to the directions, each meal meets the nutritional requirements for adults age 60 and older,” said Jill Hall, Chief of the Division of Senior Centers and Community Services.

Boxes will be distributed by appointment only at three senior center locations in three different regions of the County:

Baltimore County residents over 60 years of age should call 410-887-2040 to schedule their pick-up date, time and location. Only individuals with appointments will receive a box of food. During the appointment, individuals will be asked to show proof of age through their BCDA Senior Center Membership Card or other identification.

Anyone unable to travel to these locations should contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) at 410-887-2594 to discuss other food options with the MAP staff.

The Department of Aging plans to continue to provide meals through the end of June, or until the senior centers reopen to the public, whichever comes first.

This is the latest effort from Baltimore County to combat food insecurity among older adults.

Since March 16, the Department of Aging has served over 8,300 meals for seniors—a 33 percent increase in the number of participants since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, through a partnership with Meals on Wheels, a home delivered meal service, Baltimore County is helping provide shelf stable meals or grocery box deliveries for nearly 200 senior citizens in urgent need of food. Department of Aging staff are also assisting with Baltimore County’s Saturday food distribution sites at the Hereford and Reisterstown Senior Centers.

Additional Food Resources

For younger residents, Baltimore County continues to offer other resources for grocery and produce. Find more information.


Baltimore County Department of Aging’s Call to Action to Combat Social Isolation

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and the Baltimore County Department of Aging (BCDA) today announced the first ever No Senior Eats Alone Day to be held on September 12, 2019. The initiative aims to encourage County residents to connect with seniors in their communities in order to combat social isolation in older adults.

“Our seniors are treasures in our communities, and as they age, we all have an obligation to help protect them from the detrimental effects of social isolation, which is regrettably all too common among older adults,” Olszewski said. “I look forward to sharing a meal with seniors on No Senior Eats Alone Day, and I hope all county residents will look for opportunities to do so as well.”

What is No Senior Eats Alone Day?

Photo of Nusrat and a group of people standing outside"The meal allows people to eat together and improve their
lives and health."
- Nusrat, 72, Islamic Society of Baltimore

No Senior Eats Alone Day is part of the BCDA’s 2019 Living Connected initiative, which has provided resources and activities to combat social isolation in older adults. Many life events that occur later in life—retirement, loss of a friend or spouse, moving, changes in health—happen as one ages. This can cause one’s social network to become very small, leading to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Further, research has proven that isolation has detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental health. The effects are wide-ranging. In fact, it is said that loneliness and social isolation has the same effect as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Each of us is aware of someone in our communities that may be feeling isolated and alone. On No Senior Eats Alone Day, everyone is asked to reach out to someone in the community that would benefit from feeling more connected and valued by inviting them to share a meal or to join a group of peers to break bread,” said BCDA Director Laura Riley. 

On September 12, 2019, Baltimore County’s 20 senior centers will host lunches where all older adults are welcome to join our Eating Together Program for a special meal. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit a center, meet the members and discover the diverse activities offered at the site. If you know a friend or family member that may be interested in experiencing a senior center, you may encourage them to call their local center to register at 410-887-3052 before September 3, 2019. Additionally, many centers are offering day-long opportunities to share a meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Partners Needed

Photo of Dorothy"Knowing a meal is available is such an asset."
- Dorothy, 80, Rosedale

Religious institutions, restaurants, community associations, housing buildings and individuals throughout the County can join this day to reach out to older adults and make them feel valued and appreciated. In fact, BCDA is looking for partners in the community to register and host events or participate in other ways. There are many ways to participate:

  • Host a meal for seniors at your church, synagogue or community organization.
  • Provide a discount or free dessert to anyone bringing a senior in to eat that day.
  • Ask your members to reach out to someone they think is isolated to go out for a meal or bring the meal to them to share.
  • Deliver a meal to a lonely neighbor and visit with them.
  • Assist older adults in getting to one of the County’s 20 senior centers for a meal.

Partners may register to have an event in support of No Senior Eats Alone Day. If you have questions about being a partner, contact BCDA’s Communication Office at 410-887-2002.

Learn More

Photo of Fred"Coming to the center for activities and meals
saved my life. I was very lonely after my wife passed."
- Fred, 84, Rosedale

No Senior Eats Alone Day is just one effort on behalf of BCDA to keep older adults connected. If you know of an older adult that would benefit from getting connected to the Department of Aging’s resources and programs, contact MAP or the Maryland Access Point of Baltimore County at 410-887-2594 or email aginginfo@baltimorecountymd.gov

The mission of the Baltimore County Department of Aging is to strengthen lives by providing services, programs and connections to resources. For more information on the various programs provided by BCDA, visit the Department of Aging website.

Watch a video to learn more about social isolation.


By Donna Bilz, Baltimore County Department of Aging

The benefits of exercise go beyond just physical wellbeing. Exercise helps support emotional and mental health, according to the National Institute on Aging. So next time you’re feeling down, anxious, or stressed,  get up and start moving!

Physical activity can help:

  • Reduce feelings of depression and stress, while improving your mood and overall emotional well-being.
  • Increase your energy level.
  • Improve sleep.
  • Empower you to feel more in control.

Exercise and physical activity could also improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

Exercise ideas to help you lift your mood

  • Dancing, walking, bicycling, or dancing. Endurance activities increase your breathing, get your heart pumping, and also boost chemicals in your body that may improve mood.
  • Yoga. A mind and body practice that typically combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation.
  • Tai Chi. A “moving meditation” that involves shifting the body slowly, gently and precisely, while breathing deeply.
  • Activities you enjoy. Whether it’s gardening, dancing, playing tennis, or kicking around a soccer ball with your grandchildren, choose an activity you want to do, not have to do.

70s Dance Party at Oregon Ridge May 22

Feel great -- get up and dance! The Baltimore County Department of Aging is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, so we’re throwing it back to the 70s.

Come celebrate with BCDA at the Concert in the Park at the Oregon Ridge Park Concert Pavilion on May 22, 2018, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., rain or shine.

Come dressed in your best 70’s gear. Bring a plain white t-shirt to take part in our free tie-dye station. Rock out to the headlining band the Grand Jury, back by popular demand with a tribute to the 70s. Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon with door prizes, trivia, raffles, classic cars from the 70s, and more.

Bring picnic food, lawn chairs, blankets, and your beverages of choice. Cruiser’s Pit Beef food truck will be on-site vending fresh pit beef, pit ham, burgers and beverages.

Tickets on Sale Now

Tickets are available at all Baltimore County Department of Aging Senior Centers for $4.00 prior to the event, $5.00 at the gate. Call your local senior center or Maryland Access Point of Baltimore County for details.

We can’t wait to see you there!

May is Older Americans’ Month. The Baltimore County Department of Aging (BCDA) offers everyone a chance to “Engage At Every Age,” this month and every month.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017