02-24-2021 Primetime Living - Flipbook - Page 18
A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION OF BALTIMORE SUN MEDIA • WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2021
COMMUNITY LIVING (AGING IN PLACE)
An innovative way to
age in place
By Margit B. Weisgal, Contributing Writer
f there’s one preference, one dream, one desire most adults share as they grow
older, it’s to be able to stay in their homes as long as possible, to age in place.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as
“the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and
comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
audience is people
over 60 who cannot
afford a continuing
care retirement community and want to
stay in their homes.”
– Maria Darby, Chief
Operating Officer of Keswick
Thanks to Rona Kramer, Secretary
of the Maryland Department of Aging,
Maryland residents have access to a
unique, innovative, affordable program
that allows them to do just that. As
Kramer says, “We have a rapidly growing
demographic – Baby Boomers – and we
want to bring services to them to keep
them living independently at home and to
prevent spend down. I looked nationwide
and it just wasn’t being done.”
Kramer had very specific requirements to create the program she envisioned. “We wanted a model that was
sustainable, without long-term government funding, but was, rather, supported
by well-established nonprofits and low
membership fees. Living at home with
Community for Life is far less expensive
than assisted living – by thousands of
dollars a month. It was while she was on
a trip to Israel that she discovered just
what she was looking for.
“Israel doesn’t rely upon nursing homes or assisted living facilities,”
Kramer describes. “What they do have is
a program that starts with a ‘Community
Father.’ For a small fee, he acts as the
conduit, the focal point, to provide assistance: home maintenance, transportation, and someone to speak with when
there’s a problem. Suddenly, we had the
concept for what we were looking for.
That’s how Community for Life came into
To get started, the State of Maryland
provides seed money to non-profits willing to set up and organize local county-based Communities for Life (CFLs).
Funds go to the non-profit to help pay for
a van to provide transportation or to hire
their staff, until membership fees kick in
to assist with cost.
So, what, exactly is a CFL? Although
each one is a little different, it’s for adults
60 and up. There’s no income or health
qualification, and the CFL will provide
the following: a home safety assessment,
a fixed number of hours for minor home
maintenance by a trusted handyperson,
transportation to and from shopping,
errands, or doctors’ appointments, and a
trained coordinator, someone who stays
in touch and is available to provide support whenever necessary and connections to local activities. The last is also
a stopgap measure to prevent isolation,
a major issue among aging adults. The
coordinator, called a Service Navigator,
can help members when a home project
is too big for the handyperson. A list of
vetted contractors is provided which
also helps to prevent fraud, something
to which seniors often fall prey. Then the
CFL Provider is available to review proposal for the member.
One of the first non-profits to become
a CFL was Keswick Multi-Care Center.
Maria Darby, Chief Operating Officer of
Keswick, explains how it got involved.
“Our CEO wanted to expand Keswick to
serve older people in our neighborhood.
It became Keswick Community Health
through our Wise & Well Center for
Healthy Living programs and services.
Community life, continued on page 29