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MAP gives seniors and those with disabilities better access to services

January 15, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - As Washington County's population ages, County Commissioners President John F. Barr says it will become increasingly important for residents to have access to available services and programs.

Getting information about those resources just got a little bit easier.

Monday, state and local officials announced the beginning of a new initiative that will offer a "one-stop shop" for Washington County residents hoping to access available programs.

Maryland Access Point (MAP) provides information to link older residents and adults with disabilities from all income levels with local health and support services, said Susan MacDonald, executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging.

About 20 percent of the county's population is 60 or older.

While it's unfortunate, MacDonald said that one question often can result in phone calls to several agencies, and a lot of frustration.

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As a MAP site, Washington County's agencies - including the Commission on Aging, Department of Social Services, Health Department, Resources for Independence and others - will work together to give people the resources they need.

MAP began locally several months ago, but MacDonald said they waited to announce its official launch until Monday.

Maryland Secretary of Aging Gloria G. Lawlah said the goal of MAP is to satisfy, not frustrate, residents.

"We're hoping to roll this out throughout the state of Maryland," she said during Monday's announcement.

Washington County is one of only a few Maryland counties, including Howard and Dorchester counties, that have the program.

Maryland Secretary of Disabilities Catherine A. Raggio said that residents of all income levels can take advantage of easier access to information through MAP.

"Just because you can pay for services doesn't mean you're going to be able to find the services that you need," she said Monday.

The Washington County Commission on Aging is partnering with several area community agencies to provide programs and services that include aging in place; benefits counseling; care giving and in-home services; home modifications; housing· options; legal services; long-term care insurance information; prescription assistance and transportation.




What is Maryland Access Point?



A new initiative to provide information to link older citizens and adults with disabilities from all income levels with local health and support services.

Who does it serve?

· Those older than 50

· Those older than 18 with disabilities

· Family members and other caregivers

· Service providers and agency staff

Adults who wish to plan for their own potential long-term care needs

For more information

For details about Maryland Access Point, contact the Washington County Commission on Aging at 301-790-0275 or online at www.wccoaging.org.

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