As I have mentioned before, I am a member of the Montgomery County Commission on Aging, and I co-chair the Commission’s Public Policy Committee. The Commission released its 2018 Annual Report earlier this spring. As the report summarizes, the Commission participated in a variety of activities during 2018, including studying the changing demographics of older adults in Montgomery County and holding a forum on diversity in the County’s older population.
The Commission held regular monthly meetings, where it heard presentations from County officials and others on a variety of subjects affecting older adults, including long-term care options and elder abuse. Because 2018 was an election year with significant turnover, the Commission also prepared a Briefing Book. The Briefing Book introduced the Commission to policymakers, as well as outlining a number of issues affecting older adults.
The Commission supported 10 bills during the 2018 Maryland General Assembly Session. Of those, five passed and became law:
• SB 4 established an oversight committee on quality of care in nursing homes;
• SB 386 set time frames for the Office of Home Care Quality to investigate serious nursing home and assisted living complaints;
• HB 556 allowed the Registers of Wills to waive probate fees for low-income heirs under certain circumstances; and
• HB 1465 protected homeowners from having their houses sold at tax sale if taxes owed are $750 or less, and to provide other protections including notification of legal help and tax credit programs.
At the County level, the Commission advocated for additional funding for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Public Guardianship Program, Fraud Investigation Program in the State’s Attorney’s Office, and additional affordable housing. In addition, the Commission worked with the Commission on Persons with Disabilities to advocate for appropriate use of money in the Transportation Services Improvement Fund.
The Montgomery County Commission on Aging was established in 1974 to advise County government on the needs, interests, and issues of older adult residents, and to advocate on their behalf. Call me if you want to find out more about the Commission and its work on behalf of older adults.