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Seniors, local organization in urgent need of more funding
By Skyler Sales,
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — The senior citizens of Washington County have felt almost forgotten over the last several years. Some have voiced the need for more services in order for them to live comfortably — and according to the Washington County Commission of Aging (WCCOA), the lack of services is just the beginning of the problem.
“We have 87 programs, mostly social service-oriented style programs, and services that serve seniors, caregivers, and those with disabilities, regardless of age,” Chief Executive Officer for WCCOA, Amy Olack said. “Post-pandemic, we found that the need is much greater and the demand is much higher than the ability to serve.”
Of those 87 programs, three of them — Meals on Wheels, Maryland Access Point and senior care — have more than 400 seniors waiting to be helped.
“In order to get into any program, you have to have a Maryland Access Point appointment and so our appointments are about six months away at this point, which is most unfortunate,” Olack explained.
Some seniors said they need more services and feel they aren’t being heard by the county, state or federal government.
“I just like to see the senior citizens be able to not be worried about their income and a place to go because it’s hard,” Washington County resident Lila Johnson said. “It’s hard when you see someone a certain age has to worry about where even to go the next day.”
The cry for help is not just from seniors, but also from the WCCOA, which says it requires about $1.8 million in funding to catch up with current needs.
“The needs in the senior community are growing exponentially,” Chief Development Officer of WCCOA, Tim Fisher said. “The funding for those seniors in that community has not grown exponentially and so for us, it comes down to when we’re talking about local government are we going to do more for seniors or are we going to do less?”
According to the WCCOA, of the four western Maryland counties, Washington County receives the least amount of senior funding.
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