A Message from OAI Administrator, Jenna Crawley

Greetings! I want to share the news that two Office on Aging and Independence programs have been recognized as National Association of Counties (NACO) Achievement Award winners: our Virtual 50+ Center and Grab & Go Meal Distribution! These awards recognize innovative and transformative programs that provide new services for county residents, improve existing programs, and enhance citizen participation. In 2022, Howard County received 43 awards!

Recognizing that COVID-19 stay at home orders and 50+ center closures significantly limited older adults’ social circles and supports, OAI staff established the Virtual 50+ Center in May 2020. Virtual programs provided opportunities to “stay connected while staying home” in the absence of in-person supports. Due to its popularity, OAI continues to offer virtual lifelong learning, education and exercise programs.  

The Grab & Go meal program was launched when 50+ center operations and congregate meals were suspended. OAI staff created an efficient distribution model to address food access issues for older adults, supported by community partners who assisted with meal deliveries. Over the past two years, the model expanded to include a Restaurant Initiative allowing for culturally responsive meal choices while also providing economic infusion to local restaurants. 

I am so proud of the work our team has accomplished over these last two years. To receive national recognition of our great programs is an honor for all of us.  
Coming in June to a 50+ Center Near You!

In June, the Office on Aging and Independence (OAI)'s 50+ Centers invite you celebrate Father's Day, the start of Summer and Juneteenth with us! Find a center near you, and get details about coming events in the June issue of the 50+ Connection and our quarterly 50+ Center newsletters. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

Summer sun and weeding the garden can be hard on your body, so practice self-care with Skin Cancer Detection Starts with You at the East Columbia 50+ Center on June 7 at 2:30 p.m., and get Physical Therapy Tips with Kerry Hite at the Ellicott City 50+ Center on Thursday, June 23 at 11 a.m. On Friday, June 17 at 11 a.m., enjoy a Father’s Day Fun Luncheon with music by Orlando Phillips at the Glenwood 50+ Center, or head to the North Laurel 50+ Center for a presentation and a celebratory lunch commemorating Juneteenth, the anniversary of African Americans’ emancipation. Relax and enjoy a musical performance by Rearview Mirror on Tuesday, June 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Elkridge 50+ Center and don't miss a Candlelight Concert at the Bain 50+ Center on June 29 at 11:30 a.m., featuring conductor and pianist Isaiah Shim. Click below to find more activities to start your summer off on a high note!

Our virtual programs and virtual fitness pass classes offer older adults options to stay connected and get fit in the comfort of their own homes. View the June Virtual Programs Guide to learn more. Beginning in July, the Virtual 50+ Center program offerings and links will be included in our 50+ center newsletters, so you can enjoy one-stop shopping for activities!
Time to Shred & Protect!

In June, OAI is sharing resources and information about National Safety Month, Protect Week (June 13 - 17) and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15). Protect Week helps identify financial scams that target the elderly and bring fraud into the spotlight. To kick off the week, the Howard County Office on Aging and Independence (OAI), Office of Consumer Protection and AARP Maryland will co-host a document shredding event and elder abuse prevention resource fair on Saturday, June 11 outside of OAI's offices in Columbia. Register online by June 9 to secure your shred time slot for up to two boxes of personal documents (no businesses).

Registration is not required to attend the resource fair. In addition to AARP, OAI and OCP, onsite participants will include Age-Friendly Howard County; the Howard County Police Department; Howard County Sheriff's Office; the Department of Social Services: CCCSMD; and others. Free refreshments will be provided for the first 150 attendees, and goody bags will be distributed to the first 300. A food truck will also be onsite with frozen treats available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held indoors. 

The Howard County Office on Aging and Independence educates older adults, caregivers and family members year round about how to recognize and report incidences of physical abuse, neglect, financial exploitation of older adults. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity for all of us to "Take a Stand Against Elder Abuse" in support of those who are most vulnerable. Visit our website or download the Elder Abuse Awareness Guide to learn more.
You're Invited to an Age-Friendly Lunch & Learn!

County Executive Calvin Ball invites residents to attend one of several upcoming Lunch & Learn events to share information about the Age-Friendly Howard County Action Plan. Join us to learn what's on the horizon and how you can help make Howard County a safer and healthier place to grow older. Meet members of the work groups who put the action plan together and discuss how we can work together to make Howard County a more livable and age-friendly community. Lunch is provided; registration is required. Registration for the following sessions opens May 31 at www.howardcountymd.gov/agefriendly. Choose one:

  • Monday, June 6, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Glenwood 50+ Center
  • Monday, June 13, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. – North Laurel 50+ Center
  • Wednesday, June 29, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. – East Columbia 50+ Center
  • Wednesday, July 6, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Ellicott City 50+ Center
  • Friday, July 15, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. – Elkridge 50+ Center
Senior Call Check In

One important key to Age Your Way is making sure you have safeguards in place. Maryland residents who are 65 and older are eligible to sign up for Senior Call Check. The Maryland Department of Aging offers this free, daily automated phone call. If you miss your call, then there is a system in place to ensure that an alternate person is contacted to check in on you. Each daily call shares a brief message to keep Senior Call Check participants aware of COVID-19 updates, health and nutrition tips, scams and fraud alerts, and so much more. Sign up today and invite your friends to sign up too!  
CarFit Photo
June is Safety Month
Since 1996, the National Safety Council has observed June as National Safety Month to increase awareness about preventing injuries and deaths at work, home, and on the roads. This month, OAI offers a series of programs to help older adults stay safe behind the wheel.

AARP's CarFit Program
Elkridge 50+ Center
Tuesday, June 7 • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Glenwood 50+ Center
Wed., June 15 • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sponsored by AARP, CarFit can help you find out how the fit of your vehicle affects your driving and how to adjust your vehicle to meet your changing needs as you age. A trained CarFit Technician will complete a 12-point checklist, and provide you with recommended adjustments and adaptations. FREE. Appointments required, call Elkridge (410-313-5192) or Glenwood (410-313-5440) to register.

AARP Smart Driver Program
Glenwood 50+ Center
Tuesday, June 7 • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Register (ActiveNet #A03745.701)
Designed for drivers age 50+, the AARP Smart Driver course can help refresh your driving skills. You may save on auto insurance, too (ask your insurer)!
Bring a bag lunch. $20 AARP members; $25 non-member (payable to AARP day of class).

Car Buying and Repair Tips
Elkridge 50+ Center
Thursday, June 9 • 11 a.m. to noon
Office of Consumer Protection (OCF) Administrator Tracy Rezvani shares tips you should know before stepping foot in a dealership – how to avoid buying a bad used car, the basics of auto repair, and how to avoid common scams related to the purchase and repair of cars. FREE. Call 410-313-5192 (voice/relay) to register.
Empowering Caregivers

The Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) virtual series (offered via Webex starting June 21) presents topics and self-care tools to help caregivers reduce personal stress; change negative self-talk; communicate more effectively in challenging situations; manage emotions; make tough caregiving decisions; and better understand dementia. Participation can improve caregivers' relaxation and exercise habits, as well as boost physical and mental well-being. Plus, caregivers can participate without leaving home! FREE; for more information or to register, contact Kathy Wehr, caregiver support program manager, at 410-313-5955 (voice/relay) or email kwehr@howardcountymd.gov. *Session Zero focuses on the Basics of Dementia
Need Help Managing Your Chronic Conditions?

Living Well workshops are designed for individuals living with, or individuals caring for someone with, one or more chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, or arthritis. Participants meet once a week for six weeks to discuss techniques to handle pain and fatigue; as well as learn about nutrition, appropriate exercise, communication skills, stress management, and setting goals. The small group setting helps adults become stronger and better educated to manage ongoing health conditions. There is no charge to attend.

Living Well programs are offered through a collaboration of the Howard County Health Department, Howard County Office on Aging and Independence, and Howard County General Hospital. The next session will be held at the Elkridge 50+ Center on Wednesdays, June 15 - July 20, from noon to 2:30 p.m. Register online or contact Akasha Dotson at adotson@howardcountymd.gov or 410-313-3507 (voice/relay).
Let's Do Lunch!

Reconnect with old friends or make new ones while enjoying a healthy meal at Howard County's 50+ Centers! Stop in to meet our nutrition specialists: pictured from left, Jin Kim (Bain and East Columbia); Daemir Dove (Ellicott City); and Cheryl Campbell (North Laurel and Elkridge). The trio are excited to share new healthy recipes as they welcome you back to lunch at centers. Learn more about them in the June issue of the 50+ Connection. Here's the lunch schedule:

  • Bain 50+ Center, Wednesdays (Korean meals available)
  • Elkridge 50+ Center, Tuesdays
  • Ellicott City 50+ Center, Tuesdays beginning June 7
  • North Laurel 50+ Center, Wednesdays and Fridays

Must be 60 or older to receive a meal; spouses of any age may also participate. Participants will have the opportunity to provide a confidential donation towards the cost of the meal.
HoCo Climate Survey
Take Howard County's Climate Change Survey

Howard County is working hard to reduce the impacts of climate change by reducing energy use, using renewable energy, and more. Even with these efforts, we are expecting more extreme heatwaves, cold waves, and extreme storms, and want to make sure county residents have what they need to handle these changes.

Your participation in the Climate Change Preparedness Survey will provide information we need to help you feel better prepared and safer as these weather extremes continue. Survey responses remain anonymous, and will inform the priorities in our upcoming Climate Action Plan and work plan for the next three to five years. Surveys are available in English, Korean, Hindi, and Spanish. To request this survey in another language or an alternate format, contact afarrell@howardcountymd.gov or (443) 890-0931. Please complete the survey by June 30, 2022. 
For more information about the Office on Aging & Independence 50+ Center programs, visit our website or follow us on social media, below. If you need further assistance, call 410-313-5400 (voice/relay) or visit www.howardcountymd.gov/50pluscenters.