Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced (on April 26th) the resumption of limited, in-person services for all 50+ Centers at 50% capacity on Friday, April 30, 2021.
“We know that these centers are an invaluable resource for social engagement, health and wellness, and life planning,” said Ball. “99% of our super seniors, those ages 75 and older, and 90% of residents between the ages of 65 and 74 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which provides an additional safety measure to our 50+ centers. I want to personally thank our team at Office on Aging and Independence for their work during last year amid the pandemic to maintain these essential resources for our residents, and for their thoroughness in overseeing the safe reopening of these programs to our communities.”
- Maryland Access Point (MAP) information and assistance;
- State Health Insurance Program Counseling (SHIP);
- Exercise and nutrition consultations;
- Fitness equipment rooms;
- AARP tax assistance; and
- Grab & go meal distribution.
Social activities such as discussion groups, lifelong learning, art and DIY activities, billiards, pickleball, walking groups, and health and wellness offerings will have phased returns with limited capacity and new protocols for staff and participants to minimize the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
“The reopening of our 50+ Centers is due in part to the overwhelming number of our seniors who have been vaccinated and have adhered to best practices for staying safe including wearing a mask, social distancing and hand washing” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Department Health Officer. “It is equally important for the rest of our population to get their vaccines so we can get back to a degree of normalcy.”
Grab & Go meals will continue in lieu of the congregate lunch program and can be accessed by calling 410-313-3640. Virtual 50+ Center offerings will also remain available at www.howardcountymd.gov/aging.
All who enter must wear masks and follow proper hand hygiene. To maintain social distancing, seating capacity is limited and may be arranged.
“We realize the changes to the center may limit the number of participants in the center at one time, they are in place to provide a safer experience for everyone,” said Jenna Crawley, Office on Aging and Independence Administrator. “We are balancing the needs of our members with our capacity and resources and are committed to serve as many as possible,” Crawley added.
“This pandemic has hit all of us more than we expected,” said Reginald Avery, Howard County Commission on Aging Chair. “With the opening of all 6 centers, we are coming back with opportunities for seniors to connect.”
“It is great to be back at the Bain 50+ Center after 400 days,” said Athena Dalrymple, Bain 50+ Center Member. “I am glad that we are reopening and excited for the new activities.”
The Howard County Office on Aging and Independence provides health, wellness, recreation, and social services to older adults 50 and over and individuals living with disabilities. The 50+ centers physically closed March 16th, 2020. The Office on Aging and Independence staff pivoted to provide remote services including a robust virtual 50+ center with over 200 programs and activities a month, a virtual fitness pass, Grab & Go meal distribution as well as other services including information and assistance through the Maryland Access Point, telehealth care coordination and case management services, AARP tax assistance, and State Health Insurance counseling.
Additional details are available online at www.howardcountymd.gov/aging.