Created in 1998, the Department of Aging protects the rights and quality of life of older persons in Maryland in accordance with the federal Older Americans Act, which originally was enacted in 1965.

[photo, 301 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland] To meet the needs of senior citizens, the Department administers programs throughout the State, primarily through local "area agencies" on aging. Required by 1973 amendments to the federal law, these area agencies are either local government agencies or nonprofit organizations. They are designated by each county and Baltimore City to administer State and federal funds for local senior citizen programs. These programs cover advocacy services, case management, chronic disease management, elder abuse prevention, health education, housing, information and referral, in-home services, and nutrition (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-201 through 10-214).

301 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland, October 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

The Department of Aging monitors a network of nineteen area agencies on aging that serve all Maryland counties and Baltimore City. To these agencies, the Department provides technical assistance, and grants of federal and State funds for local programs. Area agencies also receive local funds, private donations, and contributions from program participants. Currently, the Department is implementing the Senior Call-Check Service and Notification Program (Chapter 673, Acts of 2017).

Maryland's local agencies on aging were created in 1975 as required by federal guidelines. To administer programs and services tailored to the needs of its elderly citizens, each local governing body designates an agency on aging. The agency may be a unit of local government or a private, nonprofit corporation. The agencies either provide services directly to older persons or contract with public or private units to administer programs.

Local agencies on aging are affiliated with but not subordinate to the Department of Aging. They receive federal and State funds through the Department but also receive support from their own local government and private sources.


The Secretary of Aging is charged with administering those programs and services under the federal Older Americans Act of 1965 that are delegated to the State and not assigned by law to another State government unit. The Secretary of Aging also oversees the federal Commodity Supplemental Food Program (Chapter 110, Acts of 2017; Code Human Services Article, sec. 10-204).

Heading the Department of Aging, the Secretary of Aging is appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. The Secretary serves on the Governor's Executive Council. To evaluate services needed by elderly persons and set priorities for meeting these needs, the Secretary chairs the Interagency Committee on Aging Services, the Oversight Committee on Quality of Care in Nursing Homes and Assisted-Living Facilities, and serves as advocate for the elderly at all levels of government.

As a member, the Secretary serves on the Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Council; the Behavioral Health Advisory Council; the Interagency Disabilities Board; the State Advisory Council on Health and Wellness; the Maryland Commission on Health Equity; the Interagency Council on Homelessness; State Coordinating Committee for Human Services Transportation; the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs; the Interagency Committee on Specialized Transportation; the Maryland Commission on Suicide Prevention; the Maryland Veterans Trust; and the Governor's Workforce Development Board.

The Office of Secretary directly administers Communications, and three divisions: Finance, Multi-Sector Planning, and Special Initiatives. The Office is aided by the Commission on Aging, and the Financial Review Committee.


The Finance Division began as the Planning and Evaluation Division. It reorganized as the Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs Division in 1993 and resumed its original name in 1995. The Management Division merged with the Planning and Evaluation Division to form the Planning and Operations Division in 1997. In July 2006, it was renamed the Budget and Fiscal Services Division, and in July 2014, combined with Operations and restructured as the Operations and Fiscal Services Division. It was renamed the Finance Division by 2023.

For the Department of Aging, the Division provides fiscal services, grant management, general administration, and procurement and program evaluation. It conducts research and reviews plans of local agencies on aging.


In 2023, the Multi-Sector Planning Division was established.

The Division oversees Legislation and Federal Programs; Records Management; and Senior Information and Assistance

Since October 1, 2017, the Department of Aging has had a program for the continual, economical and efficient management of its records. The Department's Records Officer develops and oversees the program, and serves as liaison to the Records Management Division of the Department of General Services, and to the State Archives (Chapter 539, Acts of 2017; Code State Government Article, secs. 10-608 through 10-611).

Formerly under the Nutrition and Community Services Division, Senior Information and Assistance became part of the Client and Community Services Division in October 1998. It moved under the Multi-Sector Planning Division in 2023.

Senior Information and Assistance directs older persons and their families to services and benefits available through their local agency on aging or private agencies. In each county and in Baltimore City, these offices help the elderly get information about community services, health care, housing, income and financial aid, as well as transportation; employment and training; and legal services. The offices also refer senior citizens to these services.


In March 2023, the Special Initiatives DIvision was created.

The Division identifies opportunities to secure funding and develop partnerships that advance the Department's strategic plan, including Maryland Community for Life, Senior Call Check, Cognitive and Behavioral Health, and new projects.

[photo, 301 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland]


The Deputy Secretary oversees the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and three divisions: Client and Community Services; Continuing Care; and Long-Term Care Services and Supports.

301 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland, December 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


In 1998, the Client and Community Services Division formed within the Department of Aging from the consolidation of the Client Services and Long-Term Care Division with the Nutrition and Community Services Division. The Client Services and Long-Term Care Division organized in 1995 to direct programs previously administered by the Nutrition and Community Services Division and the former Housing and Continuing Care Division. The Nutrition and Community Services Division was renamed the Community Services and Nutrition Division in 1994 and resumed its original name in 1995.

The Client and Community Services Division is responsible for the local agencies on aging that serve Maryland's counties and Baltimore City. The Division also administers five programs: Eldercare Affairs; Nutrition and Health Promotion; Senior Care; Senior Centers; and Senior Information and Assistance.

Senior Advocacy Programs. Through a system of coordinated services, these programs protect vulnerable or at-risk older persons living at home or in institutions. Programs include Curb Abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, Legal Assistance, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Public Guardianship, Elder Abuse Prevention, and Senior Health-Insurance Assistance.

Senior-Center Capital Improvement Program. To local governments, this program makes grants that supplement the costs of new construction, conversions, renovations, acquisitions, and/or capital equipment to develop senior centers.

The Maryland Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program was initiated in 2021.

At no cost, Marylanders with any illness, injury, or disability, regardless of age or income level, are provided with durable medical equipment by the Department of Aging under this Program. Donated equipment is sanitized, repaired, and redistributed to Marylanders in need. Among the kinds of equipment needed are: wheelchairs, including power wheelchairs and power scooters; rollators and walkers; shower chairs and tub transfer benches; bedside commodes and toilet safety rails; all pediatric equipment; home hospital beds; and mechanical lifts.

Established in January 2008 as the Eldercare Affairs Unit, it later was renamed as Elder Rights.

Elder Rights oversees Guardianship, Elder Abuse Prevention, and Legal Services.

Originally, Housing Subsidy Programs started as Congregate Housing Services under the Housing Services Division. The Division transferred to Operations and Program Development in 2009, to Operations in 2012, and to Operations and Fiscal Services Division in July 2014. By 2023, it had been renamed Housing Subsidy Programs.

Housing Subsidy Programs oversees Congregate House Subsidy and Senior Assisted Living Subsidy.

[photo, Senior Citizens' Center, 19 Frederick St., Cumberland, Maryland] NUTRITION & HEALTH PROMOTION
Through wholesome meals, nutrition education, and social activities, Senior Nutrition Programs seek to improve the quality of life of older persons. Health Promotion Programs provide essential education and services to promote overall health, physical fitness, and mental ability.

Senior Citizens' Center, 19 Frederick St., Cumberland, Maryland, July 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Pascal Senior Activity Center, 125 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel County), Maryland] SENIOR CENTER PROGRAM
Local Senior Centers offer exercise programs, health screenings, and wellness seminars. Also offered are meal services, arts and crafts, continuing education, health promotion and disease prevention services, and transportation.

Pascal Senior Activity Center, 125 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel County), Maryland, October 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Aging and Disabilities Division, Cecil County Administration Building, 200  Chesapeake Blvd., Elkton, Maryland] SENIOR CARE PROGRAM
Under the Client and Community Services Division, the Senior Care Program enables seniors with medical disabilities to stay in their own homes. It helps arrange and fund services, such as home delivery of meals, personal care, assistance with purchasing medications, transportation, and adult day care.

Aging & Disabilities Division, Cecil County Administration Building, 200 Chesapeake Blvd., Elkton, Maryland, May 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Within the Department of Aging, the Continuing Care Division formed in August 1999. Formerly, its functions had been carried out by the Housing Services Division.

The Continuing Care Division regulates continuing-care retirement communities. These communities may not offer continuing care, enter into or renew continuing care agreements, begin construction for a new facility, begin construction of an expansion to or renovation of an existing facility, or collect deposits for continuing care in Maryland unless certified by the Division (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-407 through 10-416).

Continuing-care retirement communities are specific types of retirement housing which offer a combination of housing and services, including access to medical and nursing services or other health-related benefits. These are offered to individuals who have paid a substantial entrance fee and signed contracts covering a period of more than one year (usually for life). Health-related benefits may include full coverage of nursing care in an on-site nursing center at no additional fee or may be limited to priority admission to a nursing home with additional fee for services. The substantial entrance fee and contracts covering a period of more than one year are the features that distinguish these communities from others. Services are offered to individuals, age 60 or older, who are not related to the provider.

The Division also regulates continuing care at home, which includes health services and assistance with the maintenance of a person's dwelling. Services are offered for the life of an individual, or for a period of more than one year where a written agreement has been executed between an individual and the provider, and the transfer of assets and/or a substantial entrance fee is required (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-453 through 10-460).


The Long-Term Care Services and Supports Division started as the Housing and Continuing Care Division. When it was assigned functions of the former Long-Term Care Division in 1993, it was renamed the Housing and Long-Term Care Division. In 1995, it became the Housing Services Division, and in January 2011, reorganized under its present name.

Through the Division, a Medicaid waiver may allow community care for elderly persons who otherwise would require nursing homes. In addition, continuing-care retirement communities which provide housing and health-related services (for the payment of an entrance fee & a monthly service fee) are regulated by the Division.

Under the Long-Term Care Services and Supports Division is Maryland Access Point. This program helps individuals and their caregivers plan and make decisions concerning their long-term care, as well as find the services they need.


Required by the federal Older Americans Act (originally enacted in 1965), the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman was established by statute of the General Assembly in the Department of Aging in June 2010 (Chapter 155, Acts of 2010).

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The Office oversees the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, and serves as an advocate for senior citizens within that program.

The Program receives and resolves complaints made by or for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. To accomplish its goals, the Program works through nineteen local programs based in local area agencies on aging throughout Maryland (Code Human Services Article, secs. 10-901 through 10-911).

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